Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Home Beautiful: The Hamilton Palace Screen, 1670-1700

Japanese Eight-Panel Screen, 1670-1700
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

NOTE: I don't know what's up with the font on this post.  If I make it smaller, it's microscopic, if I leave it "normal," it's like a child's picture book.  I give up.  You'll notice some of the posts lately are having font weirdness.  I'll have to work on it.  In the meantime...

I call dibs on this in case the V&A ever wants to unload it. This six-paneled screen is adorned with a landscape design featuring buildings, figures, trees, birds and monkeys. The figures depicted are: men fishing at a river; a man walking with a stick; a man carrying a bag on a stick and women in brightly colored clothing sitting by a river. The scene comes alive with gold houses on hills, trees with shining monkeys nestled in the branches, a wise owl in a tree, birds in flight, and flowers with their glistening petals inlaid with gleaming shell. The images all glimmer in gold, silver and red on a dark lacquer ground in the fashionable technique of japanning. Each panel is attached to the next with metal foil and stud hinges.

This decorative screen, used for privacy or to divide a portion of a room (or simply to look pretty) was made in Japan between 1670 and 1700. It is believed that the screen may have come from the collection of Hamilton Palace. This important collection included many pieces previously owned by William Beckford (1760-1844) including the Van Diemen box and the Mazarin Chest.

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