Napoleon III Painted Rectangular Tin Tray


Toleware is a painted and varnished tin household item made to imitate the imported Chinese lacquer items that were popular in Europe in the 18th century.

  • Decarated with flowers, leaves, and arabesques a polychrome and gold paint
  • Black background
  • Rounded corners
  • The painting process was developed in the 18th century by Thomas Allgood in Pontypool in Wales, an important coal mining location. He turned his attention to the possibility of producing lacquer from the by-products of coal.  The paint was created with asphalt, a by-product of coal, mixed with shellac, and the mixture was applied to domestic objects made of the iron plate. Different layers were distributed, each of which was brought to a high temperature so that the finished objects were extremely resistant and never rust. This process was known as Japanning because it resembled the lacquer on Chinese trays, soon spread throughout Europe, especially in France, where the decorations were more elaborate and precious.


49 x 66 x 2 cm

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