Chinoiserie

Room 52d, The George Levy Gallery

Plan a visit

Chinoiserie, from 'chinois' the French for Chinese, was a style inspired by art and design from China, Japan and other Asian countries in the 18th century. At its height in Britain from 1750 to 1765, this fanciful style relied more on the designer's and craftsman's imagination than on accurately portraying oriental motifs and ornament.

Exploring Chinoiserie

Photo of Mirror, designed by Thomas Johnson, 1750 – 60, London. Museum no. W.23-1949. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Mirror, designed by Thomas Johnson, 1750 – 60, London. Museum no. W.23-1949. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Plate, made by Thomas Cantle, about 1754, probably Bristol, England. Museum no. C.78-1965. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Plate, made by Thomas Cantle, about 1754, probably Bristol, England. Museum no. C.78-1965. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of 'A New Book of Chinese Ornaments Invented & Engraved by J. Pillement 1755', Jean Baptiste Pillement, 1755, London. Museum no. 28639D. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
'A New Book of Chinese Ornaments Invented & Engraved by J. Pillement 1755', Jean Baptiste Pillement, 1755, London. Museum no. 28639D. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Japanned cabinet, designed by John Linnell, made by William Linnell, 1753, London. Museum no. W.55:1 to 24-1952. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Japanned cabinet, designed by John Linnell, made by William Linnell, 1753, London. Museum no. W.55:1 to 24-1952. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of The Badminton Bed, designed by John Linnell, made by William Linnell, about 1754, London. Museum no. W.143:1 to 26-1921. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Badminton Bed, designed by John Linnell, made by William Linnell, about 1754, London. Museum no. W.143:1 to 26-1921. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Vase and cover, made by Richard Chaffers Factory, about 1758 – 62, Liverpool, England. Museum no. C.8&A-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Vase and cover, made by Richard Chaffers Factory, about 1758 – 62, Liverpool, England. Museum no. C.8&A-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Wallpaper, unknown maker, 1720 – 50, Guangzhou, China. Museum no. E.412-1924. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Wallpaper, unknown maker, 1720 – 50, Guangzhou, China. Museum no. E.412-1924. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Armchair with japanned decoration, designed by John Linnell, made by William Linnell, 1753, England. Museum no. W.33-1990. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Armchair with japanned decoration, designed by John Linnell, made by William Linnell, 1753, England. Museum no. W.33-1990. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Design for an armchair for the 4th Duke of Beaufort, John Linnell, about 1752 – 54, Britain. Museum no. E.71-1929. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Design for an armchair for the 4th Duke of Beaufort, John Linnell, about 1752 – 54, Britain. Museum no. E.71-1929. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Sugar bowl, designed by John Linnell, made by Arthur Annesley, 1758 – 59, London. Museum no. M.26&A-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Sugar bowl, designed by John Linnell, made by Arthur Annesley, 1758 – 59, London. Museum no. M.26&A-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of 'Touch', group from 'The Five Senses', made by Derby Porcelain Factory, about 1752 – 55, Derby, England. Museum no. 414:140-1885. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
'Touch', group from 'The Five Senses', made by Derby Porcelain Factory, about 1752 – 55, Derby, England. Museum no. 414:140-1885. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Chinese musicians, made by the Chelsea factory, about 1755, London. Museum no. C.40-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Chinese musicians, made by the Chelsea factory, about 1755, London. Museum no. C.40-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Vase and cover in Japanese (Kakeimon) style, made by the Bow Factory, about 1755, London. Museum no. C.333&A-1926. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Vase and cover in Japanese (Kakeimon) style, made by the Bow Factory, about 1755, London. Museum no. C.333&A-1926. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Learn more about Chinoiserie