A pair of early 19th century Japanese export black lacquered chests on stands
Lot 11
A pair of early 19th century Japanese export black lacquered chests on stands
Sold for £7,800 (US$ 13,110) inc. premium
Lot Details
A pair of early 19th century Japanese export black lacquered chests on stands
Heightened with gilt chinoiseries, the rectangular loose lids with gilt brass etched clasped corners, decorated with colourful trees and pagodas, with similarly decorated sides, the stands with gilt and black lacquered trailing leaves and flowerheads on square tapering legs, both with paper depository label for A.H.LAYARD ESQ, 1.6.46, each, 90cm wide, 49cm deep, 74cm high (35" wide, 19" deep, 29" high). (2)


  • Provenance: Sir Austen Henry Layard, (1817-1894), the British traveller, archeologist, cuneiformist, art historian, draughtsman, collector, author, politician and diplomat, best known as the excavator of Nimrud and by descent to:
    Edith Vivien Layard (1888-1970) and thence by descent to the vendor.

    Born in Paris, France, to a family of Huguenot descent. Layard's childhood in Italy inspired a taste for the fine arts and travel. In 1839 he intended to make an overland journey across Asia. After travelling for some months, he returned in 1842 to Constantinople, where he made the acquaintance of Sir Stratford Canning, the British Ambassador, who employed him in various unofficial diplomatic missions in European Turkey. In 1845, Layard made explorations among the ruins of Assyria. Layard discovered the Cyrus cylinder, Terracotta, Babylonian, ca. 539-530 BC. From Babylon, southern Iraq. Layard remained in the neighbourhood of Mosul, carrying on excavations at Kuyunjik and Nimrud, until 1847. Returning to England in 1848, he published Nineveh and its Remains: with an Account of a Visit to tile Chaldaean Christians of Kurdistan, and the Yezidis, or Devil-worshippers; and an Inquiry into the Manners and Arts of the Ancient Assyrians (2 vols., 1848–1849).To illustrate the antiquities described in this work he published a large folio volume of Illustrations of the Monuments of Nineveh (1849).

    After a few months in England, Layard returned to Constantinople as attaché to the British embassy, and, in August 1849, started on a second expedition, to the ruins of Babylon and the mounds of southern Mesopotamia. He is credited with discovering the Library of Ashurbanipal. His record of this expedition, Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon was published in 1853. During these expeditions Layard despatched to England the splendid specimens which now form the greater part of the collection of Assyrian antiquities in the British Museum. In 1866 he was appointed a trustee of the British Museum.

    Layard also pursued a political career. Having being elected as a Liberal member for Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire in 1852, he was for a few weeks Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. In 1855 he refused from Lord Palmerston an office not connected with foreign affairs, and was elected lord rector of Aberdeen University. He was elected for Southwark in 1860, and from 1861 to 1866 was Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs in the successive administrations of Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell. After the Liberals returned to office in 1868 under William Ewart Gladstone, Layard was made First Commissioner of Works and sworn of the Privy Council.

    In 1877 he was appointed by Lord Beaconsfield Ambassador at Constantinople, where he remained until Gladstone's return to power in 1880, when he finally retired from public life. In 1878, on the occasion of the Berlin Congress, he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. Layard retired to Venice, where he collected pictures of the Venetian school and wrote on Italian art. In 1887 he published, from notes taken at the time, a record of his first journey to the East, entitled Early Adventures in Persia, Susiana and Babylonia.