The V&A has an important and substantial collection of lacquer comprising Asian, Islamic and European japanned wares (objects made to imitate East Asian lacquer). Its collection of Japanese lacquer is particularly impressive, and it also has very fine holdings of Chinese and Burmese lacquer.
Korean Red Lacquer Chest
This Korean red lacquer chest inlaid with mother-of-pearl decoration was purchased by a curator from the Ceramics Department who was sent to China and Korea to buy acquisitions for the Museum. Such long distance travel on behalf of the Museum was very unusual at this point in time.
The Mazarin Chest
The Mazarin Chest, renowned as one of the finest pieces of Japanese export lacquer to have survived from the second quarter of the seventeenth century, is a star item in the V&A's internationally acclaimed collection of Japanese art. It is made of black-lacquered wood lavishly decorated with landscape scenes incorporating subject matter from the Tale of Genji and the Tale of the Soga Brothers.
The Dr Susan Weber Gallery tells the story of furniture design and production spanning the past 600 years and displays more than 200 outstanding pieces, including chairs, tables, bureaux, stools, chests, cabinets and wardrobes. Designers such as Thomas Chippendale, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eileen Gray, Charles and Ray Eames, Tom Dixon and Ron Arad sit alongside lesser-known names all selected for their superior techniques.