Burgomaster chairs are amongst the best known and highly prized seat furniture to have been made during the V.O.C. period. Dutchmen moving from Colombo (Sri Lanka) to Batavia often took these chairs along with them. When the English took over the governance of Sri Lanka during the French occupation of the Netherlands, most of the Dutch Burghers remained. During this "Interregnum" the Dutch sold many of these chairs to Englishmen. This is why many of these chairs became part of the inventory of wealthy English households, notably of those in Grimsthorpe, Lincolnshire (an example is shown in the Entrance Hall in C. Latham, In English Homes, vol. I, London, 1909, p. 59), Kingston Lacy, Dorset (illustrated op.cit, p. 341), and Lyme Park, Cheshire (P. Macquoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, vol. I, London, 1924, p. 229, fig. 75).
This example was part of the Maxwell family collection at Pollok House, Glasgow, a property owned by the family for over 700 years. It was on public display from 1966 when Anne Maxwell MacDonald presented the house to the City of Glasgow. The house is now managed by the National trust for Scotland.
A virtually identical chair is illustrated in J. Veenendaal, Furniture from Indonesia Sri Lanka and India, Delft, 1985, pl. 128. For comparative literature see A. Jaffer, Furniture from British India and Ceylon, London, 2001, pp. 195-197. J. Terwen-de Loos, Het Nederlandse koloniale barokmeubel, Franeker, 1985, pp. 61-65.
J. Veenendaal, Furniture from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India, Delft, 1985, pp. 109-111.