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    Sale 2037

    Important European Furniture, Ceramics, and Carpets

    21 November 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 93

    A NORTH ITALIAN ORMOLU-MOUNTED MOTHER-OF-PEARL, STAINED HORN AND COMPOSITION-INLAID COMMODE

    POSSIBLY VENETIAN, CIRCA 1760

    Price Realised  

    A NORTH ITALIAN ORMOLU-MOUNTED MOTHER-OF-PEARL, STAINED HORN AND COMPOSITION-INLAID COMMODE
    POSSIBLY VENETIAN, CIRCA 1760
    The shaped red-veined marble top above a bombé case of three drawers, possibly originally conceived without mounts
    34½ in. (87.5 cm.) high, 47½ in. (120.5 cm.) wide, 21½ in. (54.5 cm.) deep


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    The extraordinary veneer on this commode, composed of fragments of exotic mother-of-pearl and horn, is apparently unprecedented, but it is illustrative of the West's fascination with the lacquered and inlaid pieces that traveled from the East through Venice in the eighteenth century. The appetite for exotic Eastern objects might have inspired this Italian example, and the decoration -- mother-of-pearl -- indicates it might be produced in a coastal center such as Venice.

    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF EDULJI AND BACHOO DINSHAW
    (LOT 93)

    Edulji Dinshaw (1916-1970), a Parsi from Mumbai, settled in New York with his sister, Bachoo, shortly before World War II. In a townhouse at 1080 Fifth Avenue, Edulji Dinshaw acted as his own interior decorator to create an opulent 18th century European interior filled with museum quality furniture, porcelain and decorative objects of significant historical importance and impeccable provenance. Two of his most notable acquisitions were the celebrated mother-of-pearl, polished steel and gilded bronze cylinder desk and matching table that had been made by Riesener for Marie Antoinette at Fontainebleu in 1786.

    Dinshaw was at the end of a generation of collectors in New York City that was active between 1890 to about 1940. Figures such as Henry Clay Frick, John Pierpont Morgan, and Mrs. Hamilton Rice worked with equally legendary interior decorators and dealers such as Elsie de Wolfe and Duveen & Company to created legendary collections on a scale rarely seen today.

    Dinshaw's life outside of collecting was equally sophisticated and luxurious. With a nod to their exotic origins, the Dinshaw's Bentley had an interior entirely upholstered in leopard and Edulji Dinshaw wore silk slippers embroidered with emeralds. On special occasions, his small dog was seen wearing a collar of diamonds and emeralds.