This wonderful setting was first owned by William Maynard Early 1878 - 1937. Born in New Zealand and later settling in Australia, he was a successful entrepreneur and merchant who travelled widely. His exploits included being one of the first to traverse Europe on a motorbike. He did this with his brothers on motorbikes donated by Triumph and he paid his way selling stories of their travels. Mr Early was also a supporter and patron of the arts in Australia and New Zealand.
The furniture was acquired on a business trip to China in the early 1900s and remained in the family until now. They are made from rosewood with dali marble panels. Incredibly they have the original cushions and silk covers. Pieces with such unquestioned provenance and in such good condition are extremely rare.
The style of the furniture is known as export Chinese furniture. This is furniture made in China for the overseas market and was popular from the 18th century up until the early 20th century. The crest rail has lions facing the globe. The lions have a European head and body with a slightly oriental tail. The floral back and sides show Chinese influence. The front apron has a motif wishing happiness.
The covers are delicately hand embroidered silk with peacock and peonies above bulbuls and orchids.