English Queen Anne period Japanned bureau

A rare English Queen Anne period Japanned bureau.

Height: 42″
Width: 41″
Depth: 21″
Ca.: 1710

This item is now sold


A rare English Queen Anne period Japanned bureau decorated overall with typical Chinoiseries of figures, pavilions, rockwork, gardens, animals, birds and insects.

The stepped, shaped interior is fitted with an arrangement of fitted drawers.  They show traces of red with a ‘well’ beneath a concealed slide.

The fully detachable writing section sits within a bold waist moulding. The base of this English Queen Anne period Japanned bureau contains two short and two long drawers.

It is raised on an unusual arrangement of three bun feet to the front. The escutcheons and locks largely original, but handles later. The cast carrying handles are possibly original.

The detachable writing section contained within a waist moulding enables us to date this bureau to the Queen Anne period ca. 1710. Before this date bureaux would most likely have been raised on a separate stand while, after this date as fashions changed, the bureau section would have become integral with its base with an applied moulding which, within a few years, would disappear entirely along with the ‘well’.

This antique ‘Japanned’ bureau demonstrates a typically domestic interpretation of the ‘India Taste’ so fashionable at that time, and reveals a charming approach to the subject by those in England who had heard tantalising tales of amazing sights and exotic wares on offer in the East.

Lacquer wares were imported to the West through companies such as the East India Company in England, the Compagnie des Indes in France, and the VOC in Holland. These wares are generally referred to as ‘export lacquer’ coming from China, India and Japan, and are readily distinguishable from domestic japanning and lacquering techniques. Due to cost complete items of lacquered furniture were rarely imported. Lacquered panels were however imported, ‘flat packed’ onto the sailing ships to be assembled on arrival in Europe.

Other fine writing desks can be found here.