For years I had walked past this building but only recently I noticed the carved sign on the pediment that reads ‘Japanners’.

We often refer to it as chinoiserie (French for Chinese-esque) in the most general sense but in the 18th century the word japanning would have been firmly in the vocabulary of furniture makers: the art of creating furniture to appear as though it were from the orient, using lacquers.

Chippendale's 'japanned' furniture created for Harewood House

It caught my eye.

English ‘Japanese’ and ‘Chinese’ cabinets will no longer be simply lacquered cabinets to me when I see them, but ‘japanned’ cabinets.

I wish I owned one.

4 thoughts on “Japanning

  1. As I am researching an ancestor who was a japanner in Birmingham, this came up on google – and I wonder if you can tell me where this building is that you show in photo above, of Harding & Sons

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