Traditionally found throughout Asia, lacquer is a resin made from the toxic sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluumtree, a relative of Poison Ivy. First used in China in the Zhou dynasty in the 11th century BC before being improved by the Hang dynasty in 206 BC, it was Japan who took it to impressive heights, creating exquisite works displaying great delicacy and subtlety. The Koreans also played a big part, producing a national style, characterised by a dark background and inlaid mother of pearl.
Charles began appreciating lacquer while living in Myanmar where it was used in everyday life and also by the monks in their daily feeding bowls called Hsun-ok. It was the beautiful distinctive Burmese orange-coloured lacquer of these bowls that Charles fell in love with. Today, for Charles’ new collection Tales of Design, the painted and lacquer finishes still feature the layers of lacquer but now use natural water-based paints to achieve the same look. The result is stunning.