British Colonial Georgian period, Chippendale form Anglo-Indian Rosewood Secretary. The piece has excellent patina with a hand-rubbed shellac finish. The top with a separate, molded cornice has two shelves over two drawers enclosed by refined, carved doors. The lower section consists of a carved drop front revealing a desk with pagoda-form cubby holes over two drawers with compartments over another set of two drawers, all with fine sunburst carving above a two-door cabinet and raised on a separate molded base. Sides of the piece are also fully carved. Refined cabinet door carving and skirt indicate possibly Goan origin.
This is a truly magnificent example of Anglo-Indian workmanship, form, proportion, and quality. A one-of-a-kind piece of particular beauty.
On Anglo-Indian Furniture:
The British East India Co. explored the world, and had created industries in many ports by the 1700's. European cabinetmakers were working in India as early as the mid-18th century. Most British colonial furniture was made for British army officers and Government employees while they were stationed in India in the 18th-19th centuries. The market was spurred by the prohibitive costs of shipping furniture and the long wait for goods from England. In time, as the British population increased, European craftsmen trained native artisans to carve Western styles. The finest of these pieces were brought back to England.
There was also profitable trade in selling Indian-made Anglo-styled pieces to the English market. Samples of popular British chair styles, like Chippendale and Queen Anne, were sent to workmen in India to copy, and British tradesmen were sent to train Indian workers. The resulting furniture was a blend of cultures: British shapes and Indian woods like padauk, teak, ebony, and rosewood. Eventually, Indian craftsmen became more expressive and innovative, adding their own motifs.
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