A Rare And Unusual Japanned Chinoiserie Papier Mache Tray Table
A Rare And Unusual Japanned Chinoiserie Papier Mache Tray Table
A Rare And Unusual Japanned Chinoiserie Papier Mache Tray Table

A Rare And Unusual Japanned Chinoiserie Papier Mache Tray Table

c. 1812 England

Offered by Clinton Howell Antiques

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A rare and unusual japanned chinoiserie papier mache tray table by Henry Clay. Base is 20th century. Bottom of the tray is impressed with the mark: ‘CLAY, KING ST, COVTGARDEN

Henry Clay took out a patent on ‘new and improved Paper-ware’ in 1772. His process involved gluing sheets of paper together, oiling and varnishing it and then stove hardening the sheets. The panels that were created were strong enough to be used for carriages, sedan chairs, and furniture. Smaller furniture was a popular use for the material and business grew rapidly from the sale of items such as teatrays (sic), waiters, and caddies.

In 1785 Clay moved the headquarters of his business to London from Birmingham and began operating out of 18 King Street. In 1781 several pieces were ordered for royal residences and 1792 Clay claimed the title of ‘Japanner to his Majesty’. By 1803 his letterhead read, ‘Japanner in ordinary to His Majesty and to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’. Though Clay died in 1812 the business continued at King Street until 1822. Other commissions of note include: 1778 Horace Walpole purchased several items, 1787-88 Clay supplied waiters, tea boards, etc to Carlton House, in 1793 Queen Charlotte received a sedan chair and console tables. Clay’s goods can be found in inventories of great estates such as Osterly Park, Kedleston, and Longford Castle.
Dimensions
Height 21.50 cm (8.46 inches)
Width 26.00 cm (10.24 inches)
Depth 18.50 cm (7.28 inches)
Medium
papier mache
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Clinton Howell Antiques
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