• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7439

    Important English Furniture

    22 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 720

    TWO INDIAN ENGRAVED-IVORY SMALL BUREAU-CABINETS

    LATE 18TH CENTURY, VIZAGAPATAM

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    TWO INDIAN ENGRAVED-IVORY SMALL BUREAU-CABINETS
    LATE 18TH CENTURY, VIZAGAPATAM
    Each decorated overall with birds, architectural scenes and foliate borders, with a triangular open pediment above a long frieze drawer above four short drawers flanked by doors enclosing pigeon-holes and three further drawers, the hinged fall-front enclosing a fitted interior with drawers and pigeon-holes, above a long drawer with compartments and a slide, on shaped bracket feet, with sandalwood-lined drawers, one cabinet with a pale green silk velvet writing-surface, a green-painted interior and a pale green silk velvet-covered later stand, the other cabinet with drawers numbered in ink, an unmarked shipping label to the reverse, the reverse also inscribed in chalk 'DAVID AND JILL GRIMOND' and in pencil 'PODER(?) JW'
    One cabinet: 36½ in. (93 cm.) high; 24½ in. (62 cm.) wide; 11¼ in. (28.5 cm.) wide
    The other cabinet: 36½ in. (93 cm.) high; 24 in. (61 cm.) wide; 11½ in. (29 cm.) deep
    The stand: 23¾ in. (60.5 cm.) high; 25¼ in. (64 cm.) wide; 12¾ in. (32 cm.) deep (2)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    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 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. The fantastical beast heads on the feet are similar to those seen on the mid-18th century ivory-veneered chairs that were acquired by Queen Charlotte when sold in 1781 at auction (by James Christie) by the late Alexander Wynch. A set of six chairs with fantastical beast heads is in the Gerstenfeld Collection (see E. Lennox-Boyd, ed., The Gerstenfeld Collection, London, 1998, p. 223, no. 63). See also the following lot in this sale.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    David & Jill Grimond.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
    (LOTS 719-720)