An impressive North Indian 19th century silver sheet-covered wood tester bed
Lot 73*
An impressive North Indian 19th century silver sheet-covered wood tester bed
Sold for £51,650 (US$ 65,836) inc. premium

Lot Details
An impressive North Indian 19th century silver sheet-covered wood tester bed An impressive North Indian 19th century silver sheet-covered wood tester bed An impressive North Indian 19th century silver sheet-covered wood tester bed
An impressive North Indian 19th century silver sheet-covered wood tester bed
the pierced trellis and flowerhead headboards surmounted by affronted peacocks flanking a bud and berried finials, with spiral reeded bedposts, on four baluster reeded legs, sold together with a photograph of Lady Glenconner reclining on the bed, £15,000-20,000 143cm wide x 240cm deep x 201cm high, (56in wide x 94in deep x 79in high)

Footnotes

  • Beds in the Western sense did not exist in India before the arrival of the Europeans. The majority of people used little more than a cotton mat or carpet, or four-legged structure known as a charpoy, which was widely used across the social classes of Indian society.

    The tradition of silver-sheet covered wood furniture was known throughout India for at least five hundred years, as attested by contemporary accounts by European visitors to Indian palaces in that period (Amin Jaffer, Furniture from British India and Ceylon, London, 2001, pp. 224-26), appearing initially on throne chairs, or musnud. It appears, however, as far as one can judge from surviving examples, that the art became particularly popular in the Rajput courts under the East India Company and then British influence, often copying Western forms with various degrees of accuracy, and by the mid to late 19th Century had become standard issue in the royal courts of Rajasthan.

    The form of the present lot, a four-poster bed, is based on the late Regency style, although the decoration is purely Indian, with its repeat design of rosettes within a trellis, a decorative scheme frequently found on Mughal architectural panels and peacocks. Throughout India, peacocks were used as a symbol of royalty, although the depiction of paired birds flanking a bud was probably inspired by European heraldry, thus emphasising the authority of the owner.

    In some courts, silver and gold were used only for the seat of the ruler, but in others they were used on a variety of furnishings and objects for the royal family and high-ranking guests. As a guest of the Maharajah of Patiala in the 1930s, Rosita Forbes marvelled at being given a room with 'a bed plated with gold' (quoted in Jaffer, op. cit. 2001, p. 226). This style was extended to include other elaborate objects, such as the parcel-gilt silver chariot and horses made for the Maharajah of Bikaner, and sold at Christie's (Arts of India, London, 27th September 2001, lot 73); and a howdah made for the Maharajah of Jodpur (Anna Jackson and Amin Jaffer, eds., Maharajah. The Splendour of India's Royal Courts, London, 2009, pp. 60-1, no. 44).
Activities
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Lot symbols
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