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Anglo-Indian Desk & Furniture

Anglo-Indians are people with mixed British and Indian ancestry or people of British descent born or living in the Indian subcontinent or Burma.   British people residing in India used the term Eurasians for people of mixed European and Indian descent. The Oxford Dictionary defines Anglo-Indian as one "of mixed British and Indian parentage, of Indian descent but born or living in Britain, or of British descent or birth but living or having lived long in India".  

The Anglo-Indian community in its modern sense is a distinct, small minority community originating in India.  It consists of people from mixed British and Indian ancestry whose native language is English.  Interestingly, an Anglo-Indian's British ancestry was usually bequeathed paternally. 

In an article written by Sallie Brady for Art & Antiques, she shares "of all the colonial furniture made in India, it is the dramatic 18th- and 19th-century ivory pieces produced in the Anglo-Indian workshops of Vizagapatam that are most famous. (In fact, the coastal city gave its name to some of them.) These dazzlers were constructed according to traditional English Chippendale and Sheraton furniture patterns and were frequently hewn of solid ivory and decorated with paint or gilt. A fine example of the form, an 1830 paw-footed armchair, sold at Sotheby’s New York this past April for ,000 against a ,000–30,000 estimate. Other Anglo-Indian pieces were built from basic woods such as sandalwood, then veneered with ivory that might be engraved, inlaid, pierced or ornamented with penwork (a technique in which ink is applied to the ivory’s surface to mimic inlay). Breathtaking examples can be found in George III and Queen Charlotte’s collection in the Royal Collection of Britain; the Victoria & Albert Museum; Kedleston Hall, the ancestral home of Lord Curzon, the viceroy of India; and in the showrooms of English furniture dealers, who only wish they had more of them."

“They are starting to become one of the most difficult areas to acquire,” says Giles Hutchinson Smith, chief executive of Mallett, noting that more owners are holding onto their pieces. “There’s an extraordinary passion for collecting them.” Hutchinson Smith cites the 1750 Vizagapatam engraved ivory inlay padouk wood writing desk and dressing table that set a record for the Anglo-Indian category, fetching 8,000 against a 0,000–700,000 estimate, as part of the 2005 Lily and Edmond J. Safrasale at Sotheby’s New York. Lily Safra “bought it from us the year before and the increase in value was three times,” says Hutchinson Smith, adding that the Safra provenance explained the object’s performance at auction.

“The prices of exotic or important pieces have doubled in the last 15 years,” says Fred Imberman, copresident of Kentshire Galleries, the Manhattan-based dealer of English furniture that features Anglo-Indian pieces in its showrooms. Imberman notes the value of important penworked ivory pieces, such as the pair of 18th-century Vizagapatam chairs based on a Chippendale model that he’s selling for 5,000. “The prices tend to be strong because the materials tend to be strong—and sexy.”  Read the entire article here.

Anglo-Indian Links to Explore

One of A Kind Antiques

Price My Item

The Raj Company

The Past Perfect Collection

Anglo Indian Home Design Photos

Well Collected: Anglo-Indian Furnishings

How To Restore Anglo Indian Rosewood Furniture

 

 
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