A DUTCH COLONIAL SILVER-MOUNTED IVORY-INLAID EBONY AND EBONISED DOCUMENT BOX
A DUTCH COLONIAL SILVER-MOUNTED IVORY-INLAID EBONY AND EBONISED DOCUMENT BOX
A DUTCH COLONIAL SILVER-MOUNTED IVORY-INLAID EBONY AND EBONISED DOCUMENT BOX
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A DUTCH COLONIAL SILVER-MOUNTED IVORY-INLAID EBONY AND EBONISED DOCUMENT BOX
4 More
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more THE ESTATE OF ALBERT AND LEONIE VAN DAALEN, SWITZERLAND (LOTS 129 & 134-139)
A DUTCH COLONIAL SILVER-MOUNTED IVORY-INLAID EBONY AND EBONISED DOCUMENT BOX

VIZAGAPATAM, CIRCA 1730

Details
A DUTCH COLONIAL SILVER-MOUNTED IVORY-INLAID EBONY AND EBONISED DOCUMENT BOX
VIZAGAPATAM, CIRCA 1730
Of rectangular form, overall inlaid with foliate and floral sprays, the hinged lid decorated with a large radiating floral bouquet issuing from a stylised vase and centred with the coat-of-arms of Sichterman and opening to reveal a fitted interior with silver hinges, sand caster, and ink well, two hinged side compartments and three shallow drawers, on bun feet
5 ½ in. (14 cm.) high; 24 7/8 in. (63.5 cm.) wide; 17 in. (43 cm.) deep
Provenance
Almost certainly commissioned for Jan-Albert Sichterman (1692-1764) (according to the coat-of-arms), and thence by descent.
Special notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.
These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Lot Essay


This exquisite and finely inlaid box, decorated with floral motifs and vines emanating from urns, is a superb example of the finest inlaid furniture conceived on India’s Coromandel Coast in the early 18th Century. The lid is centred by the coat-of-arms of Jan-Albert Sichterman (1692-1764), a high V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company) official, whose distinguished career and fabled art collection are discussed in W. Kuhne-van Diggelen, Jan Albert Sichterman VOC dienaar en ‘koning’ van Groningen, Groningen, 1995. Amin Jaffer lists five of these extremely finely-inlaid Vizagapatam caskets, the present example the largest and most intricately-inlaid. A related casket, in ebony and with a slightly domed lid, is in the Victoria & Albert Museum (acquired by the South Kensington Museum in 1854); a second related casket, in hardwood with a flat lid and inlaid with the coat-of-arms of V.O.C. official Carl Gustaaf Falck (d. 1785) is at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; a third related casket, with arms of the Alberda van Menkema family, is at the Menkemaborg, Groningen; the fourth related example, at Kasteel Renswoude, in ebony and in size and decoration most closely related to the Sichterman casket, was in the collection of Jacob Mossel, Governor at Negapatnam in 1738 and from 1750 Governor-General in Batavia (A. Jaffer, A. Jaffer, Furniture from British India and Ceylon, London, 2001, p. 181).

These precious inlaid caskets, and some related items of furniture, were highly esteemed for their delicate inlays of costly materials, including ebony, ivory and silver. Most of the pieces were invariably reserved for the most prominent V.O.C. officials such as Mossel, Falck and Sichterman. Some entered museum collections; others remained in distinguished Dutch families such as the barons Taets van Amerongen, descendants of Mossel, or the Sichterman casket, for that matter, which also descended in that family until today (R. Baarsen in ‘Wonen in Arcadie’, exh. cat., Zwolle, 1998, p. 159, no. 148). Jan Albert Sichterman’s art collections were formed during his years, from 1734, as Director of Bengal, and, from 1740, as Councillor Extraordinary of India. Whilst he was looking after the Company’s interests on the one hand, he also established a private trading enterprise, with several other European managers in Bengal. The extraordinary wealth he amassed is largely connected to this activity. In 1744, he was transferred to Batavia but soon returned, with fifteen ships, to the Netherlands, arriving in Zeeland in 1745. During the following years, Sichterman managed his properties and estates and extended his art collection, which included books, prints and natural specimens, but also Old Master pictures by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Rubens, Ruysdael and Ostade, as well as Japanese lacquer, porcelain and crystal. The landmark collection sale in 1764 consisted of three sessions, and was one of the greatest to be held in the second half of the 18th century. This precious casket was clearly so cherished that it was retained as a family treasure by the family (W. Kuhne-van Diggelen, op. cit., pp 54 and 121).
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