The figure is of a Chinese boy whose head and hands are made of ivory; his robe is exquisitely decorated to represent a rich brocade. The box contains a tray which is decorated with autumn plants beside a stream; these include chrysanthemums, the heads of which are formed from imitation coral. The decoration of the drum itself, the imitation wood grain and the silver rivets for the leather fasteners, is the same as that found on drum-shaped boxes in Queen Marie Antoinette’s collection, height 8.2cm, diameter 8.1cm.
The 1835 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Japan Closet, Japan in the Glass case opposite the door(s), sic, A round box with chinese figure on the cover & a tray inside’.
The 1867 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Cabinets, No 88 Japan Closet, A black and gold box with tray and cover, with Chinese figure’.