The Japanese Collection

The Japanese Lacquer collection at Chiddingstone Castle is perhaps one of the finest in a private collection in Western Europe and is one of Denys Bower’s greatest achievements.

Denys grew up in a collector’s world and his father was a knowledgeable collector of ancient Chinese porcelain. It is therefore quite natural that his love of oriental art grew from there. Japanese art also provided a particularly rewarding field for collecting, as it was highly accessible during the beginning of the 20th Century.

As a result of Denys Bower’s lifelong interest in Japanese swords, Chiddingstone Castle has an exquisite collection, an important selection of which is on display. The collection demonstrates a wide variety of types of swords and sword fittings including highly decorative pieces from the Edo Period (1603-1868). There are also examples of sword fittings in the collection made specifically for the export market.

Information for researchers: Chiddingstone Castle is committed to providing access to its collections. Further information can be provided on request to