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British Colonial Inlaid and Carved Davenport Desk

Late 19th century

A spectacular British colonial white cedar inlaid and carved Davenport with an inclined hinged desk top, made of rosewood. Lifting the desk top reveals an interior with a large storage compartment for paper and other writing implements and four pigeonholes. It has four drawers to the right and a single cupboard to the left. The left side and right front of the top section has an additional pull out shelve. The front of the desk stands on thick, highly carved supports depicting a yali-the mythical animal, carvings of which are quite common in South Indian temples. This one is lion headed and has a winged horse’s body and is sitting on a carved scroll base. Yalis are denoting strength and are guardians of treasures. The whole piece sits on a shaped and elaborately carved base.

A truly impressive masterwork of carving and inlay. Find out more about Inlay Furniture from colonial era India.

The desk owes its name to a captain Davenport, who was the first to commission this particular design from Gillows of London near the end of the 18th century. It is in good condition and has been lovingly restored and finished to its former glory using a traditional form of French polishing and waxing.

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Southern India
British colonial India
H: 115 cm W: 70 cm D: 53 cm
H: 45” W: 27 ½” D: 21”

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