Panel from the Lacquer Room in the Hôtel Du Châtelet

Lacquer: China, mid-eighteenth century
Mathurin Cherpitel (1736-1809), architect
Paris, c. 1771
Carcase of oak; Chinese lacquer panel with red ground and black and gold decoration; amaranth frame; painting in imitation of tulipwood
Long-term loan from the Ministère du Travail, 1910
Inv. MIN TRAVAIL ss no. (1-to-9)

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This Chinese lacquer panel, one in a series of nine, came from the Lacquer Room in the Hôtel Du Châtelet in Paris, built by Mathurin Cherpitel in 1770-1771 for Comte Florent Du Châtelet. The count’s mother, Emilie Du Châtelet – an intellectual, a friend of Voltaire and a translator of Isaac Newton – had an unbridled passion for Chinoiserie; according to Cardinal de Bernis, she lived among an “army of magots.”

The strict tulipwood and rosewood frame of this work reflects a shift toward neoclassicism at a time when the fashion for Chinoiserie was on the wane.