Chinoiserie, the eternal infuence of the exotic.

May 24, 2017

Chinoiserie, the eternal infuence of the exotic.

Over the centuries there is no style that has been so used and reinvented in so many different forms and mediums from wallpaper, ceramics and lighting to furniture.

The use of Chinoiserie decoration stretches back to the late 17th century, the influence of Chinese patterns on ceramics was great in the production of European and British pottery, particulary delftware. Everyone knows the familiar 'willow' pattern china, which after long use has become the most British of designs.

This example above is Worcester from the late 18th century.

During the reign of William & Mary the decoration of furniture, boxes and clocks using scenes of figures, pagodas and landscapes became popular.  The background being lacquered in red, black, or dark blue.  The figures were enhanced. by using gesso before painting the figure over the raised form.  

This fashion was continued in the18th century in the decoration of 'Tavern' clocks for public places and the importing of expensive Chinese wallpaper.  The design books of Chippendale feature many designs with Chinese influence. 

Remarkably the fashion for decorating furniture and objects in this way was revived in the early 20th century, 'Bergere' suites produced in the 1920's decorated in the style now being highly prized if found in good condition.

The bureau cabinet featured is an early 20th century example of the style, the mirror doors and shaped cornice based on William & Mary period piece.