The decorative features of this incense shelf are common to a group of export pieces produced from the late 17th to the mid 18th Centuries, including the openwork and lattice used in the body and the design of a pavilion in a landscape.
On the top panel are depicted a shrine on a waterfront and a bridge enclosed by a magnificent stone wall, with figures walking in the shrine compound, one seated on a bench and another carrying brushwood bundles on his shoulder.
There would originally have been a tray beneath this panel and smaller receptacles contained within the lattice enclosed area, 20.5cm by 20cm.
The 1835 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Japan Closet, Japan in the Glass case opposite the door(s), sic, B. G An Armoire with two drawers’.
The 1867 Burghley Inventory records: ‘Cabinets, No 88 Japan Closet, A black and gold japan armoire with 2 drawers’.