A very rare and possibly unique late 19th century Anglo Indian ivory inlaid and carved davenport, the pierced scrolled three-quarter gallery above a hinged slope lined with grey velvet, enclosing a fitted interior above two shelves and three small drawers on one side, with columns framing the front panel, on a plinth mounted on globes, on conforming bun feet, the fitted ivory and sandalwood interior with dedication plate 'Prepared at the Vizagapatam for the Madras Presidency by Yendapilly Versalingum and his workshop'.
This beautiful India-flowered, pearl-wreathed and richly carved desk-topped nest-of-drawers, designed in the early 19th century British antique/Grecian fashion, was made by Yendapilly Veerasalingam, a workshop owner who signature is found on several other pieces. It relates to the Davenport bureau-chest illustrated in Queen Charlotte's drawing-room at Frogmore, Windsor; and a form of furniture described as being 'a very useful article for industrious young ladies' (W.H. Pyne, Royal Residences, 3 vols, 1817-1820; and John Claudius Loudon, Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture, 1839). A related lace-decorated Davenport, executed by Royal [ivory] workmen in the palace of the Maharaja of Vizianagram was shown by Rajah G.N. Gajapati, Rao Vizagapatam at the Exhibition of Native Fine and Industrial Art, held at Simla in 1881 (A. Jaffer, Furniture from British India and Ceylon, London, 2001, fig. 98, p.216). This latter 'Exhibition' piece was sold by the R.E. Summerfeld Charitable Trust, Christie's, London, 19 April 1990, lot 74. The Summerfeld desk retained a card inscribed ....executed by Royal workmen in the Rajah's palace, Name of Chief Artesan L. Venkatadas; Exhibitor the Rajah G. N. Gajapati Ras (?) Vizagapatam.
The incised decoration on the top of the davenport relates directly to that on the top of a Palanquin made circa 1863-8 for the Rajah of Bobbili and given by his widow to the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) on his tour of India in 1875-6.
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