Around the middle of the 16th century, Chinese and Japanese lacquer work was brought to Europe by the Portuguese and Spanish as well as the English and Dutch trading companies. The lacquered objects soon became sought-after luxury items and provided the decisive impetus for the foundation of European lacquer art. Since high humidity causes East Asian raw lacquer to cure, the Europeans were not able to import the material by ship. Thus, they soon developed their own formulas for making lacquer on the basis of oils, resins and binders.

Subjects from the East Asian world dominated until the end of the 17th century; images of exotic plants and animals as well as courtly scenes or scenes from day-to-day life were especially characteristic for pieces of furniture, boxes and jewel cases. In the 18th century, the pictorial world broke away from its strict orientation towards East Asian patterns, and artists began to invent their own subjects instead of copying existing ones. In addition, typically European subjects, such as themes from mythology and gallantry, were now displayed. 

Impressions from the collection