Lot 1
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Attributed to Ahmedabad Wood Carving Company

Rosewood with brass hardware
52.75 x 26.25 x 28.75 in (134.3 x 66.6 x 73 cm)

In the old pieces of furniture almost as in the old paintings, dwells the charm of the past, of the faded which becomes stronger in a man when he reaches an advanced age.

Gujarat has been one of the richest centres of wood carving, both in terms of craftsmanship and scale of production, since the 15th century. From temples to residences, Gujarat's architectural facades show a liberal use of woodwork with intricately carved details. "The cantilevered balconies of palaces in Palanpur and Bhuj have been beautifully carved while the majestic doors of traditional houses or havelis are artistic masterpieces with images of the goddess Lakshmi or the elephant deity Ganesh carved in the central portion of the archway." (craftandartisans.com, online) Over time, foreign influences had an impact on the aesthetics and craftsmanship of this tradition. During the 16th and 17th centuries, architectural woodwork began exhibiting a fusion of indigenous and Mughal styles. An example of this is the Chintamani Parshwanath Temple in Surat, built under the regime of Aurangzeb. It demonstrates some of the best handcrafted woodwork in the country.

There was a considerable woodworking tradition in furniture as well, which continues today. The region of Bhavnagar is famous for its large bridal chests called pataras, while elaborate cupboards and wooden swings or jhulas are typical of Rajkot. Various experiments can be seen in the furniture of Sankheda, where wood carvers use colour to create tin foil style designs. Surat is famous for the wood inlay work and use of ivory, plastic, horn, bone and metal in the carved surfaces of its furniture and architectural elements.

It was Lockwood de Forest, an American interior and furniture designer, and painter, who took the woodwork tradition of Gujarat to international markets. In the early 1880s, de Forest had just founded the decorating firm Tiffany & de Forest with the painter and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. The pair very quickly expressed an interest in foreign decor, as de Forest was particularly taken by Indian design after visiting the British Indian Pavilion in the 1878 Parisian Universal Exhibition. Following this discovery, de Forest set out on an extended honeymoon with his bride Meta Kemble between 1881 and 1882 and began collecting pieces of traditional Indian jewellery, textiles and furniture during his travels. Impressed by the ornate wood carvings adorning the houses of Ahmedabad, he set up shop there with Muggunbhai Hutheesing, a Jain merchant and banker. Together, they started the Ahmedabad Wood Carving Company and employed master craftsmen to create decorative furniture in the local woodworking tradition, which was then exported to the United States and sold at de Forest's New York showrooms. De Forest's intricate designs caught the attention of many wealthy clients including the industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the railroad heiress Mary Elizabeth Garrett and the silver king, James Clair Flood. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in de Forest's designs. The Copper-Hewitt Museum in New York has a permanent collection of some of his works in their restored Teak Room and in 2014, the Olana State Historic Site (once Frederic Edwin Church's home) curated "All the Raj", an exhibition featuring some of de Forest's carvings and paintings.

Other similar works in: this auction  |  entire site

  Lot 1 of 59  

8-9 AUGUST 2018

Rs 5,30,000 - 6,30,000
$7,795 - 9,265



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