The Bury Hill Cabinets Two George III coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels
Lot 110
The Bury Hill Cabinets Two George III coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels
£60,000 - 80,000
US$ 93,000 - 120,000

Lot Details
The Bury Hill Cabinets Two George III coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill Cabinets Two George III coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels The Bury Hill CabinetsTwo George II coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels
The Bury Hill Cabinets
Two George III coromandel lacquer cabinets, incorporating 17th century panels
The panels depicting a palace setting, musicians on horseback, courtiers, guards, a statue of a Dog of Fo, ladies on balcony, dragons, peacocks, herons, ducks, a cockatoo, exotic birds, Peonies, Chrysanthemums, foliage, landscape setting, the upper parts with rectangular top above a pair of panel doors enclosing marbled paper interiors with four adjustable shelves, the lower parts each with two short drawers, on bracket feet, the decoration restored and refreshed in areas one cabinet 117cm wide, 63cm deep, 467cm high (46" wide, 24.5" deep, 184" high), the other cabinet 121cm wide, 63cm deep, 185cm high (47.5" wide, 24.5" deep, 72.5" high) .

Footnotes

  • Provenance: Robert Barclay (1751-1830) of Bury Hill, Dorking, Surrey and The Elms, Clapham Northside, London, and thence by descent to his son:
    Charles Barclay of Bury Hill, Surrey (1780-1855) and by descent to his daughter:
    Caroline Hoare (nee Barclay, d.1878) who bequeathed one cabinet to each of her daughters:
    Anna Maria MacInnes (nee Hoare) and Juliana Margaret Hoare M.B.E (d.1936). Juliana's cabinet was then in turn bequeathed to Anna Maria. Anna Maria then sold one cabinet in 1945 to her nephew Oliver Vaughn Gurney Hoare (1882-1957) and the remaining cabinet at a later date:
    Oliver Vaughan Gurney Hoare (b.1862), 16 Charing Cross, London and then sold or gifted to his brother:
    Samuel John Gurney Hoare, 1st and Last Viscount Templewood (1880-1959) of Templewood, Northrepps, Norfolk.

    The exchange of the cabinets between Anna Maria MacInnes and her nephew Oliver Vaughan Gurney Hoare is discussed in series of undated letters (to be sold with the cabinets) between the two in one of which MacInnes writes:

    'I wonder if you know the history of the cabinets. They belonged to Bury Hill. I am almost sure to our great Grandfather. One was given to our Mother and one to Aunt Juliana. When Aunt Juliana died she left hers to us so that they might come together again.'
    Anna Maria would have been familiar as her parents lived at Bury Hill with her grandfather Charles Barclay when she was a young girl.


    A related pair of press cupboards from Dogmersfield Park, Winchfield, Hants, are illustrated in M. Harris, Old English Furniture, London 1935, p.69. The Moss Harris cupboards are described as being:'constructed of oak and encased with old Chinese incised lacquer panels decorated brilliantly in polychrome. Fitted with two long drawers below and two drawers above enclosing sliding trays....The whole of the English work is contemporary and dates from circa 1750 - the Chinese lacquer from somewhat earlier. The single illustrated cabinet in Harris includes two panels which appear again, cut to differing size, on the Bury Hill Cabinets.

    Large amounts of Coromandel incised lacquer was imported from the East during the 17th century. Originally known as 'Bantam' work, the term 'Coromandel' was more commonly adopted in the 19th century after the 'Coromandel' coast of India through which the panels were imported to Europe. The first instance of it being referred to as 'Coromandel' seems to date from 1782 when it appears described as such in a Parisian auction catalogue (see C. Gronkowski, Le gout chinois en France: les paravents en laque de Coromandel, Renaissance de l'art francais no.5, 1919, p.491). This form of lacquer originates from Wenzhou (Zhejiang Province) in South China where it was referred to as 'Kuan cai' This lacquer was frequently used in interior decoration and in 1692, Gerrit Jensen was paid £141 for decorating the Japan Closet at Chatsworth, Derbyshire which Celia Fiennes described as 'wainscoted with hollow burnt Japan (incised lacquer) intersected by mirror glass at each corner'. Jensen's bill also includes an item:'for frameing, moulding and cutting the Japan for the closet, and joining in into panels and finishing it', F.Thompson, A History of Chatsworth, London 1949. Although the Japan Closet at Chatsworth was dismantled circa 1700, there remains at Chatsworth three chests which are thought to have been made up of fragments of the closet. Coromandel lacquer remained at the forefront of fashion for only a short time and by 1688, while the fashion for the Orient remained strong, John Stalker and George Parker wrote rather sweepingly in their 'Treatise on Japanning' that coromandel lacquer was 'now obsolete and out of fashion, out of use and neglected', although this would actually pre-date the introduction of the Japan Closet at Chatsworth and reflects that it remained popular with certain individuals. The fashion continued in some form in the early 18th century and Moss Harris, ibid., p69 records the import of such panels which 'were described in old bills of lading as 'Japan' or 'Lacquer boards', quoting articles from the Daily Journal, of April 1728, where it was recorded: To be disposed of '24 Right India Boards, ninefoot long, fit for hangings' and of September 4, 1731, 'A Drawing Room lined with pannels of India Japan Boards'.

    The panels arrived in Europe either in the form of single panels or as screens which were then cut to manufacture smaller items or to line walls. In China, twelve fold screens were a luxury item often produced as birthday gifts for high ranking officials and the imported panels remained within the reach of only the very rich. Furniture assembled from lacquer panels or screens, particularly smaller items, can result in a strange flow of subject matter. This was famously described by Stalker and Parker in their 1688 Treatise:

    'that in these things so torn and hacked to joint a new fancie, you may observe the finest hodgpog and medly of Men and Trees turned topsie-turvie and instead of marching by land you will find them taking journey through the Air, as if they have found out Doctor Wilkinson's (sic) way of travelling to the Moon... in a word they have so mixed and blended elements together... that if it were like anything, beside ruin and deformity, it must represent to you the Earth, when Noah's Flood was overwhelming it'

    The use of Coromandel lacquer in England to make up pieces of furniture remains relatively rare particularly in the mid 18th century. Outside England the panels were in demand in Europe with the French marchand-merciers encouraging it's re-use during the 18th century. A group of English commodes re-using earlier coromandel lacquer panels include a pair supplied to the 1st Marquess of Hertford for Ragley Hall, Warwickshire and sold Christie's, London 4th July 1996, lot 300 and one mounted with coromandel panels formerly in the collection of Sir Anthony Compton-Thornhill, Bart which was sold Sotheby's New York, 23 January 1993, lot 255. The Castle Howard coromandel commode attributed to Pierre Langlois (1738-1805) is offered here as lot 145.

    Bury Hill is located to the west side of the Surrey town of Dorking and was created by Edward Walter who built up an estate of some 1600 acres. The Bury Hill Estate was bequeathed to Walter's son-in-law Viscount Grimston. In 1815 it was purchased by Robert Barclay (1751-1830), the wealthy Southwark Brewer and remained with the Barclay family for one hundred and fifty years. Barclay was a keen botanist and developed the gardens and landscaping at Bury Hill. The house was converted into apartments in 1949 and it was during the conversion that a fire destroyed the central part of the mansion.

    Robert Barclay, a scion of the Quaker Barclays banking family, was the director of the Anchor Brewery known as 'Barclay, Perkins and Co' in Park St, Southwark. The brewery was a huge operation and by 1850 was described as being the largest of its kind in the world. The brewery had originally been that of 'Mr Thrale', who was a close friend of the Lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson, and whose executors sold the brewery to David Barclay Junior (1729-1809) who placed Robert Barclay, his nephew from America, at the helm. Robert Barclay had been involved with the tobacco trade in America and was a member of the East India Interest Group in the 1780's. David Barclay had traded extensively with British Colonial America and had supplied the British Military in North America and worked with Benjamin Franklin to resolve the impasse that existed after the Boston Tea Part. The Anchor brewery was managed by successive generations of the Barclay family until it was merged with the Courage Brewery in 1955.
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