Bureau-cabinet

Indian (Vizagapatam)
1740-50


Object Place: India

Dimensions

Overall: 243.8 x 113 x 67.3 cm (96 x 44 1/2 x 26 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

1981.499

Medium or Technique

Teak with ebony and ivory

On View

Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)

Collections

Asia, Europe

Classifications

Furniture

Teakwood and ebony with ivory inlays. Double-domed upper part fitted with two doors opening to reveal an arrangement of drawers, shelves, pigeonholes, a slant front opening to form a writing surface and more drawers and compartments surrounding a central


Vizagapatam, a port on the Coromandel Coast of eastern India, emerged as a center for cabinet making at the end of the 17th century. Its craftsmen married the Indian technique of ivory inlay to European forms to produce furniture of exceptional luxury for an English clientele. This bureau-cabinet, based on early 18th-century English prototypes, is decorated with floral motifs drawn from traditional Indian ornament. Anglo-Indian furniture such as this piece appeared exotic both to the Indian craftsmen who produced it and to the English clients who commissioned it.

Provenance

1916, possibly sold by Federico Victoria de Lecea to Charles Deering (b. 1852 - d. 1927), New York [see note 1]; by descent from Charles Deering to his daughter, Barbara Deering Danielson (Mrs. Richard Ely Danielson), Manchester, MA; 1965, gift of Barbara Deering Danielson to her son, James Deering Danielson, Coral Gables, FL; 1981, gift of James Deering Danielson. (Accession date: December 9, 1991)

NOTES:
[1] Possibly the bureau-cabinet described in a October 24, 1916, Bill of Sale, issued from Federico Victoria de Lecea to Charles Deering. However, according to a letter from James Deering Danielson to the MFA, July 31, 1981, in MFA curatorial file, his grandfather, Charles Deering, owned at least three similar bureau-cabinets. James Deering Danielson believed that another piece - and not the one he gave to the MFA - was the one discussed in the 1916 Bill of Sale.

Credit Line

Gift of James Deering Danielson