The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand


Friday 18 December 2015, by Barbara Cogollos

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Pedestal table decorated with circular plate with arabesques stylized leaves and floral stems. This plate rests on a central pedestal ending on a tripod base concave form. This small table is inlaid with lush vegetation made of ivory on a wooden cladding and blackened Sesham (Indian wood).

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(Diamètre) : 68 cm – (Hauteur) : 75cm

The technique of marquetry by inlay existed since ancient Egypt, it becomes fashionable in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Already in the seventeenth century, André-Charles Boulle perfects and introduced a new specialty: the inlay of tortoiseshell. This practice extends to later to encrust other noble materials such as horn, mother of pearl and ivory.

In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I of England created the East India Company. This company aims to dominate trade flows with Asia and allow the expansion of the British colonial empire. England rules the the East Indies until the late nineteenth century. The country is inspired by the creations of its colonies and a new artistic style appears.

This table demonstrates that inspiration, in fact, it is very representative of the Islamic Indian art of the late nineteenth century by the use of Sesham, inlaying ivory and rich floral volute.

The technique of marquetry inlaid with ivory is fashionable in England in the late nineteenth century. English cabinetmaker Stephen WEEB created an inlaid rosewood with ivory feeder whose intertwined patterns reminiscent of the little table that is presented to us.

At that time, the cabinet makers use a wide variety of high quality essences that they bring from different colonies, as here the Sesham .. This hard wood, gold color, present at the base, can also be color of dark brown, as shown on the board. It is used as veneer wood for marquetry by inlay.

This round table combines English elegance to the colonial exoticism. It is very representative of the Anglo-Indian style as evidenced by: shape, marquetry by inlay technique, the essence of wood, ivory and arabesque decorations.

The work of inlaid ivory marquetry is renowned and coveted. On 21 April 2005, the auction house Christie’s sold a rosewood cabinet inlaid with ivory. This Indian marquetry, George II style, dating from the late eighteenth century, was estimated between 40 000 and 60 000.

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