AN ANGLO-INDIAN ENGRAVED IVORY AND INDIAN ROSEWOOD TALL CHEST-OF-DRAWERS
AN ANGLO-INDIAN ENGRAVED IVORY AND INDIAN ROSEWOOD TALL CHEST-OF-DRAWERS
AN ANGLO-INDIAN ENGRAVED IVORY AND INDIAN ROSEWOOD TALL CHEST-OF-DRAWERS
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AN ANGLO-INDIAN ENGRAVED IVORY AND INDIAN ROSEWOOD TALL CHEST-OF-DRAWERS
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Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more PROPERTY OF A LADY
AN ANGLO-INDIAN ENGRAVED IVORY AND INDIAN ROSEWOOD TALL CHEST-OF-DRAWERS

VIZAGAPATAM, MID-18TH CENTURY, THE VENEERED TOP AND SIDES ENGLISH, LATE 18TH CENTURY

Details
AN ANGLO-INDIAN ENGRAVED IVORY AND INDIAN ROSEWOOD TALL CHEST-OF-DRAWERS
VIZAGAPATAM, MID-18TH CENTURY, THE VENEERED TOP AND SIDES ENGLISH, LATE 18TH CENTURY
The rectangular top above two short and four long drawers, the front of each drawer inlaid with rich borders of flowerheads and scrolling foliage between bands of ivory engraved with conforming decoration, on bracket feet further veneered in ivory, the 18th century locks and silver handles added in England, the handles mark of John Winter, Sheffield, hardwood lined drawers, Indian character marks to the interior of some drawers and the carcass, 19th century castors, the top and sides banded in holly, probably replacing ivory banding
58 ½ in. (148.5 cm.) high; 49 ½ in. (125.5 cm.) wide; 25 in. (63.5 cm.) deep
Provenance
Acquired by Sir Herbert Read (1893-1968) for Stonegrave House, North Yorkshire, circa 1947 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.
Specified lots are being stored at Crozier Park Royal (details below) or will be removed from Christie’s, 8 King Street, London, SW1Y 6QT by 5.00pm on the day of the sale. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. If the lot has been transferred to Crozier Park Royal, it will be available for collection from 12.00pm on the second business day following the sale. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Crozier Park Royal. All collections from Crozier Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s, 8 King Street, it will be available for collection on any working day (not weekends) from 9.00am to 5.00pm

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Lot Essay

Sir Herbert Edward Read (1893-1968)
Sir Herbert Edward Read was one of the most significant writers and thinkers to have emerged from Yorkshire in the 20th century, and was the leading spokesman for the arts of his generation. A youthful war hero during the First World War, he was awarded the Military Cross (1917) and DSO (1918) but his wartime experience left him a convinced pacifist. In the early 20th-century, Read met the key figures in London’s literary and artistic modern movement including the Sitwells, Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis and Ford Madox Ford. His poetry was widely admired and published in a series of anthologies. In the 1920s, he contributed to T.S. Elliot’s journal The Criterion, and in 1922 became curator of ceramics and glass in the V. Later he became literary adviser to publishers Heinemann and Routledge and Kegan Paul and editor of the Burlington Magazine. During the 1930s, he was an important interpreter of continental art, in contact with the German theorists, and had an acute awareness of expressive central European and Scandinavian modernism. He was also a tireless supporter of advanced British work in the inter-war period, and friend to Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson. His sensitive features were captured by many artists including Jacob Kramer (Portrait of Herbert Read, 1914), Kurt Schwitters (Collage Incorporating Photograph of Herbert Read, 1944), Barbara Hepworth (The Poet Reading to his Children, 1948) and Karel Appel (Portrait of Herbert Read, 1962). Recent publications on Read include the exhibition catalogues A Tribute to Herbert Read 1893-1968,1975, City of Bradford Metropolitan Council Art Galleries and Museums and Ed. B. Read, D. Thistlewood, Herbert Read: A British Vision of World Art, 1993-1994, Leeds City Art Galleries.

Vizagapatam furniture
This chest-of-drawers, of the mid-1750s, successfully combines a Western furniture form with South Indian ornamentation. It is made of Indian rosewood, inlaid with ivory marquetry that has been intricately engraved in a painterly fashion with a resin or ‘lac’ to represent foliage and flowers. This technique is named after the East-Indian port of Vizagapatam, on the Coromandel Coast, from where the craft originates. Vizagapatam furniture was enthusiastically collected by the ‘nabobs’, conspicuously wealthy Europeans and employees of the East India Company (EIC), who made their fortune on the Indian subcontinent. The cabinet trade at Vizagapatam was well established at the end of the 17th century when local craft skills, using ivory, were married to western furniture forms. There was also a flourishing textile trade; producing the colourful cloth known as ‘chints’ (chintz), so porpular in the west, and consequently the port was a regular destination for EIC ships, although the transportation of furniture fell under the remit of private, rather than EIC, trade. The delicate and elaborate inlay of this chest-of-drawers represents the exotic indigenous flowers and foliage borders that often surround a central panel depicting a flowering tree motif found in chintz textiles. Furthermore, the small plant-like tendrils that form a ground for the large friezes are also characteristic of chintz fabrics.
While a number of dressing-bureau tables applied with Vizagapatam ornamentation exist, all of which were formerly in the respective collections of EIC men, for example, one acquired by Richard Benyon, Governor of Fort St. George from 1734-44, now at Englefield House, Berkshire, another purchased by Robert Clive, ‘Clive of India’, Commander-in-Chief of British India in the 1740s, now in the collection of The National Trust at Powis Castle, Powy, and a further example supplied to Sir Thomas Rumbold, 1st Bt (1736-91), Governor of Madras from 1777-80, on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum since 2012, chest-of-drawers of the model offered here are rare (A. Jaffer, Furniture from British India and Ceylon, London, 2001, p. 187, fig. 85, p. 172, fig. 73).
By family tradition, this chest-of-drawers did not enter the Read collection prior to the late 1940s. However, the silver drawer pulls on this chest can be attributed to John Winter following research published by James Lomax, British Silver at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, Leeds, 1992, p. 131, no. 134. Lomax suggests that the silver mounts on a tea caddy in the collection at Temple Newsam and three further examples struck with the maker's mark 'IW' - as found on the drawer pulls of the chest offered here - can be attributed to John Winter of Sheffield (see Sotheby's, London, 20 October 1977, lot 159, Christie's, New York, 20 May 1987, lot 228 and another illustrated in R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, Woodbridge, 1954, p. 340, fig. 4).

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