English Chinoiserie Four-Panel Folding Screen with Tropical Birds in Trees, 18th c
Sculpture, Pigments and gold leaf on leather panels
69.25 x 17.50 in
Price on Request
The English folding screen from the eighteenth century is an example of chinoiserie, which is the imitation or evocation of Chinese motifs and techniques in Western art, furniture, and architecture, especially in the eighteenth century. It depicts an all-over pattern of leaves and branches populated with tropical birds on a gold leaf ground. According to Dawn Jacobson, "chinoiserie is an oddity. It is a wholly European style whose inspiration is entirely oriental. True chinoiseries are not pallid or incompetent imitations of Chinese objects. They are the tangible and solid realizations in the West of a land of the imagination: an exotic, remote country, fabled for its riches, that through the centuries remained cloud-wrapped, obstinately refusing to allow more than a handful of foreigners beyond it gates." Artists and craftsman produced alternatives to actual Chinese objects, which were exceedingly rare and expensive, to meet the demand for Eastern imports. In the eighteenth century, the taste for chinoiseries with their decorative patterning became ubiquitous and affected every area of the decorative arts.