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 Furniture from British India and Ceylon 
Amin Jaffir

Book Reference: ISBN-10: 1851773185; Hardcover: 384 pages Publisher: V & A Publications; 01 edition (28 Feb. 2001)

This is an essential reference for any one interested in the art craft of India and Ceylon. All the documented pieces were with pedigree of origin! 

Although  many of the shapes are from English designers such as Chippendale, Sheraton, and Hepplewhite. The marriage of Indian artistic creative skilled art resulted in Art at its highest.

These pieces will never be made again. With prohibitions many of the materials are no longer allowed to be used.      


Furniture from British India and Ceylon is divided into two sections. The introductory chapters provide contextual background and discuss subjects such as the British response to things Indian, the domestic interior and factors which shaped its appearance, and the sources of furniture. Amin Jaffer provides a reconstruction of the complex furniture trade between East and West, offering new insights into the relationship between European, Chinese and Indian craftsmen which shed light on the difficulty of correctly attributing colonial furniture. The second section is an extensive catalogue of two hundred pieces from the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum. Each piece of furniture is illustrated, often with more than one view, and contextual illustrations, including many unusual and evocative images of domestic interiors and craftsmen at work, are provided throughout the book. The scope of the material covered and the accompanying illustrations, many of which are published for the first time, make this volume a definitive reference work for collectors, dealers and scholars interested in furniture and the material culture of British India.


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Available copies are now rare.


Below are some boxes I have documented on our site. It is becoming increasingly hard to find examples which have survived with their integrity  

A sandalwood  box of basket form veneered with porcupine quills framed with incised and lac filled ivory having a horn handle and standing on turned horn feet. Anglo Indian Vizagapatam circa 1850.  753SB: An Anglo Indian Vizagapatam radiating faded black buffalo  horn of dramatic curved shape Circa 1835 737SB: Anglo-Indian, Vizagapatam, box in the form of a basket, the wooden frame covered in porcupine quills, framed in ivory which is incised and decorated in black lacquer, with a horn handle. It stands on turned horn feet. Circa 1850.     743SB: Anglo-Indian (Vizagapatam) box in wood covered in horn, of sarcophagus form, with a segmented radiating  top culminating in a turned and carved floral finial. An Indian interpretation of English Regency aesthetic. This is a small box which shows absolute mastery of design. Circa 1840.     SB536: A sandalwood basket veneered in horn and ivory. Although such baskets were a popular Vizagapatam design, this one is very unusual in that it combines both solid ivory panels incised and lac filled in traditional plant motifs and fretted ivory work. Furthermore, the central cartouches are engraved with representations of Indian deities and not floral designs which was the normal decoration on such baskets. It stands on lion paw feet. The handle is decorated with scrolling flowers in characteristic fashion. Circa 1870.    SB421: Anglo Indian basket form box veneered with ebony and inlaid with Sadeli mosaic having an ebony handle and standing on turned ebony feet the inside lined with sandalwood. circa 1840.   TC135: An important and monumental Anglo Indian Vizagapatam black buffalo horn tea chest the horn fluted and framed by engraved horn panels,  standing on turned and carved horn feet  the inside contrasting having twin lift-out  sandalwood  canisters  with incised and lac filled hinged ivory lids, flanking a cut crystal bowl. Circa 1835.   885JBAI: Antique rare first period Anglo Indian box veneered all over with <I>Sadeli</I>mosaic Circa 1800 width=  



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