The trading activities of the English East India Company in the far east stimulated great interest in lacquered furniture from China and Japan. A technique of artwork called Chinoiserie was developed by English craftspeople to bring the exotic sophistication of the Far East into British homes.
In 18th Century London the fashionable set embraced a new art form that represented a romantic interpretation of the orient through a European perspective. The finest cabinet makers of the day fell under the spell of this art form that became popularly known as Chinoiserie. Ownership of fine clocks and furniture decorated in Chinoiserie added glamour to the home, inferring worldliness and sophistication. Comitti Chinoiserie clock cabinets are produced from solid cherry and then lacquered in either black, green, red or blue. Five layers are applied with light sanding between the coats. The surface is then pulled over and burnished to achieve a ‘piano’ finish. Each artwork has a unique combination of ancient oriental motifs such as dragons, pagodas, birds and Mandarins, used by the artist to depict traditional oriental scenes with courtiers at play in mythical lands. The detail is marked out and then gesso applied and shaped by hand to create the three dimensional relief. These areas are then sized, gold leaf is applied and then the artwork created on the gold leaf using colours from the artist pallet. Gold powders are used to create the shading and ground work, and gold paint for the line-work. Finally the artwork is sealed using gold size and polished by hand. Inspired by the Orient but with a very British heritage.
View Comitti’s Chinoiserie artwork