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    Sale 7439

    Important English Furniture

    22 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 721

    AN INDIAN ENGRAVED-IVORY SMALL BUREAU-CABINET

    LATE 18TH CENTURY, VIZAGAPATAM

    Price Realised  

    AN INDIAN ENGRAVED-IVORY SMALL BUREAU-CABINET
    LATE 18TH CENTURY, VIZAGAPATAM
    The rectangular moulded cornice above a frieze drawer and a pair of doors enclosing a pair of pigeon-holes and four drawers around four central drawers, the flap enclosing a fitted interior of pigeon-holes and drawers and a pair of drawers fronted by half-columns, above a deep drawer with divisions and a sliding cover, on bracket feet, the drawers lined in sandalwood
    31½ in. (80 cm.) high; 25 in. (63.5 cm.) wide; 11¼ in. (28.5 cm.) deep


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    These engraved ivory bureau-cabinets, serving as portable desk jewel-cases and dressing-boxes, are each designed as a miniature 'desk and bookcase'. Engraved tablets, wreathed by floral 'chintz' fashioned borders, portray magnificent villa landscapes that would harmonise with the Georgian reception dressing apartments that were hung with landscape prints. English Roman-style architecture from Colen Campbell's much reprinted Vitruvius Britannicus (published in several volumes from 1715) featured alongside views from the Haarlem publication, Her Zegepralent Kennemerlant, 1729, on a cabinet from the collection of a Governor of the Dutch Cape Colony (A. Jaffer Luxury Goods from India, 2002, p. 80); while scenes from R. and J. Dodsley's, London and Its Environs Described, 1761, appear on another related cabinet at Arundel Castle, Sussex, which is engraved with an image of Old Montagu House by J. Green after watercolours by Samuel Wale (c.1721-86) (Ibid, pp. 71-72, no. 29).
    Two related cabinets, from the estate of Alexander Wynch, a former East India Company Governor of Fort St. George, were acquired in the 1770s by King George III (A. Jaffer, Furniture from British India and Ceylon, London, 2001, p. 202). A cabinet on loan to the Victoria & Albert Museum features feet engraved with similar fantastical lions to the present lot (ibid., pp. 80-81, no. 33). A related bureau-cabinet with tiger-decorated feet was sold by Robert H. Metzger, Sotheby's, New York, 27 October 1995, lot 184. The closest comparable to the present lot, however, is a near pair of engraved ivory small bureau-cabinets, almost certainly supplied to General Sir John Dalling, 1st Bt. (c. 1731-1798) whilst Commander-in-Chief in Madras circa 1786 and by family descent, sold anonymously, Christie's, London 'Arts of India', London, 23 September 2005, lot 121 (£78,000). The latter cabinets had been raised on black and gilt stands made for them in the early 19th century. See also the previous lot in this sale.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN