An exceptionnel 18th century chinese lacquer screen with the coat of arms of the Tower family
2m38 high - 6 leaves of 0.50m - Arms of the Tower Family

Our screen perfectly reflects the reign of Kien-Long both by its quality than by its subject. It features six panels with black lacquer background and a very rich gold lacquer painted decor. On the front side, the decor represents a palace scenery, maybe the Summer Palace, in the heart of a pleasant garden, brought to life by many characters. We can observe a group of musicians gathered around a woman dancer, offering a performance to the dignitaries near the entrance of the central pavilion. Or a couple comfortably settled on a boat, protected by a canopy and cruising on a small lake. Or some children looking at chickens under the amused watch of their mothers or nurses. Notice also guards patrolling between the flags; strollers wandering in the park; servants bringing meals. We can even catch a sight to a few busy persons inside the pavilions. With enough insight we can count as many as one hundred characters. The central decor is surrounded by a rich border decorated with panels representing landscapes, objects and animals. On a black and gold lacquer background, the back side of the screen represents a less elaborated but equally interesting decor of pagodas and small pavilions animated with characters in a garden. The border shows the same objects, landscapes and animals in panels as the ones on the first side. What makes this screen unique, in addition to its superb quality and its exceptional design is that one of its central panel represents an European blazon. This blazon, representing a winged griffin above a tower bearing the motto ‘Love and Dread’, belongs to the Tower family from Essex, owner of Weald Hall. This screen was acquired by John Tower (1778-1839), Admiral of the Royal Navy. It was common that great European families ordered objects, porcelain and furniture from the various companies present in India and China, and to have them customized to the families coat of arms. Our screen was certainly a part of a large order placed by the Tower family with the British East India Company (EIC).   China – 18th Century Dimension of one panel: height 19 1/2 x width 7 3/4

Latest acquisitions