Philadelphia Museum of Art - Collections Object : Armchair


Artist/maker unknown, Indian, for export to the English market

Made in India, Asia
Probably made in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India, Asia

c. 1800

Engraved and stained ivory; gilded wood and brass; cane seat

39 × 21 3/4 × 22 1/2 inches (99.1 × 55.2 × 57.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection in memory of Frances P. McIlhenny, 1986

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Soon after India became a British colony in the mid-eighteenth century, Indian craftsmen began making furniture to contemporary British designs using local materials and decorative motifs. This armchair, made of hardwood veneered with engraved ivory, has turned front legs, scrolling armrests, saber-shaped rear legs, and a cane seat in the style of the late eighteenth-century English furniture designer Thomas Sheraton. The typically Indian decoration includes the floral engraving, the brass finials along the top of the backrest, and the brass bells hanging from the arm- and backrests. Although such furniture was first commissioned by the British living in India, by the early nineteenth century much of the work that was produced was being bought by wealthy Indians. Vishakhapatnam, a city on the eastern coast of India with a long tradition of ivory work, became the center of the manufacture of ivory-veneered Anglo-Indian furniture. Julia H. M. Smith, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 60.