Origin: Anglo-Indian, (Bombay area) Period: Mid-Nineteenth Century & Later Adapted Provenance: Devizes Castle, Wiltshire, England Date: c.1850-65 and later adapted Height: 30.75 inches Width: 66 inches Depth: 23 inches
The profusely carved and ebonised pedestal breakfront sideboard, having a foliate floral carved frieze with three drawers and sides featuring sunburst patterns the concealed interior fitted with six drawers and three shelves survives from the mid nineteenth century and Devizes Castle, Wiltshire, England.
The overall patination and colour to the hardwood (which we believe to be rosewood or it could be another hardwood such as Indian Gumar or Aini, or a combination of the two) is appealing and the ornamentation is softly worn, commensurate with its age and use. The ebonised finish has heavy wear, particularly to the top, which makes her very decorative and evocative of life sitting in an English castle and though she could be re-ebonised we don’t feel this would enhance her overall aesthetic so we have left her as is. There would have probably been a pierced gallery back, which is now absent. The sideboard benefits from newly made bun feet which you cannot see but lift the piece just marginally from the floor.
This piece displays a level of craftsmanship and skill that is of a high level, the whole carved profusely The main motif, the solid carved sunburst pattern panel designs to the pedestals are in the Regency taste, from the Bombay area, with the gadrooned carved edges. Note: See "Furniture from British India And Ceylon" by Amir Jaffer, V. & A. Publications 2001, page 338 for a similar example. This piece has later been adapted, probably in around 1900 to include the drawers.
Grade I listed Devizes castle was a medieval fortification in the town of Devizes, Wiltshire, England, on a site now occupied by a Victorian-era castle. The first motte and bailey castle on this site was built in 1080 by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury. This castle burnt down in 1113 and was rebuilt in stone by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, by 1120. He occupied it under Henry I and later under Stephen. Roger sided with Stephen and the castle was taken and retaken. It then remained the property of the Crown and it was used as a prison by Henry II and Henry III. It went on to become the property of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII. The present castellated Victorian era 'castle', which is Neo Norman/Gothic architecture in style, was built by the Leach family in the 19th century. It was begun in 1842 to a boldly asymmetrical design by Henry Goodridge, an architect from Bath. It was extended northwards in the 1860s and succeeding decades. The north tower incorporates the remains of a 17th-century brick windmill.
This would make for an ideal hall or serving table. From colonial Bombay to an Englishman’s castle... wherever next?