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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Set of Four Indo-Portuguese Side Chairs"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
With carved rope twist top rail edge, shaped and moulded uprights and curved ‘escutcheon’ drop in seat rails, on cabriole legs joined by turned x-stretchers and claw and ball feet front and rear.
The chairs have been identified as being made of an Indian rosewood – and the species is either a timber species native to low elevation tropical monsoon forests of eastern India, Dalbergia latifolia, known as ‘East Indian rosewood’ or Dalbergia sissoo (the primary rosewood species of northern India, known as ‘Indian Rosewood’).
At this time Goa was the largest territory in what became known as the State of Portuguese India, but these chairs reflect the fashion for English furniture forms that was popular in southern India in the mid eighteenth Century. It is also known that Chinese craftsmen were working in Goa at that time. There is a very closely related pair of corner chairs at the V&A in London. (see Amin Jaffer, 'Luxury Goods From India: the art of the Indian Cabinet-Maker', London: V&A, 2002, illustrated on pp. 78-79). Interestingly a small group of chairs, all thought to be made by a Chinese chair maker in Goa, all share the same form of cariole leg and claw and ball foot, and the same distinctive turned x-frame stretchers. The stretchers, however, do not appear to have been used by the Chinese chair makers of the same period in Canton.
Amin Jaffer also illustrates a Company painting from the 18th Century depicting an English official in discussion with a nawab and his sons, while seated on cabriole legged chairs with the same distinctive low cross-stretchers.
Thomas Coulborn & Sons
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