Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Crosby Forbes Estate, 19th C. China Trade Lacquer Cabinet

Crosby Forbes Estate, 19th C. China Trade Lacquer Cabinet


Crosby Forbes Estate, 19th C. China Trade Lacquer Cabinet
Fine 19th C. Chinese Export Gilt Cabinet, Forbes Collection
A few weeks ago while attending an estate auction I had the opportunity to see an exceptionally fine 19th C. Chinese Black lacquer and Gilt Decorated two door cabinet circa 1850 to 1890.

The cabinet was from the estate of the late: Dr. H. A. Crosby Forbes of Cambridge Massachusetts.

Each door is decorated with finely applied gilt figural landscapes and a poem with signature at the top of each.

A very rare feature are the interior door paintings, executed in  poly-chrome decoration depicting figural paintings of scholars and children. An exceptional example and in outstanding condition.

The surfaces surrounding the panels are carved in raised gilt relief. The interior is painted it the original verde green paint.

Size: 80" tall x 35" wide and 19" deep


  • Dr. Forbes was the  Curator Emeritus of: Asian Export Art of the Peabody Essex Museum's China Trade Department 
  • As well as the head of the Captain Robert Bennet Forbes Museum in Milton, Massachusetts. 


I knew Crosby for 25 years, he was a wonderful and very kind man as well as a fountain of knowledge. Always willing to share and learn as all true lifelong students are his own curiosity was endless, as well as his utter enthusiasm. He had incredible taste and understanding of Asian export and Asian decorative art and a gentleman in the true sense.  He wrote the first major book on China Trade Silver, it remains the bible on the topic to this day. The Crosby Forbes Estate, 19th C. China Trade Lacquer Cabinet was one of his prized possessions

Its not at all surprising he had such a great object in his own home.

Chinese Gilt lacquer Chest
Detail, Doors China Trade Gilt Lacquer Cabinet
Crosby Forbes Estate Collection

19th C Chinese Poem and Signature .
Detail, Gilt lacquer 19th C. Chinese Furniture Poem

19th C. Gilt Decorated Chinese Export Poem
Gilt Decorated 19th C. Chinese Poem and Signature , Ex Forbes Collection

Detail China Trade Furniture Cabinet
Upper Panels 19th C. Chinese Lacquer Chest

Interior Chinese Export Forbes Estate Cabinet.
Interior with verdigris Green Painting, Original Surface.

Interior Scholar Door Panel Scholars, signed
Figural Landscape of Scholars and Children, Signed

Chinese Painted Landscape and Scholar
19th C. Chinese Decorated Figural Landscape with
Scholar and Children

19th C. Chinese Furniture Hardware
Fine 19th C. Chinese Reticulated Bronze or Brass Hardware