AN EXTREMELY RARE, POSSIBLY UNIQUE, SRI LANKAN EBONY CHILD'S ARMCHAIR
Probably Sri Lanka, late 17th/early 18th century
Overall densely carved with scrolling flower motif, on four connected turned legs and bun feet, with cane seating.
H. 55 x W. 40.5 x D. 40.5 cm
Seat height 27.5 cm
Similar carvings were made in the Molucca’s as well, where ebony was abundant in the 17th century, by slaves from Bali and also in Batavia by Tamil woodworkers. But because this chair turned up in England it is perhaps more likely to have come from Sri Lanka than from Indonesia. Jan Veenendaal (Wonen op de Kaap en in Batavia, 1602-1795, page 32, ed. Titus Eliëns) argued that the inspiration of the carved flower decoration on this type of ebony furniture is from Dutch flower prints for instance in Den Blomhof by Crispijn de Passe de Jonge (first edition 1614), and from Dutch lobe decorated silver by the van Vianen brothers that became very popular in Holland around 1660. No other chair of this type of such small dimensions is known to us. The carving is of such high quality that it must have been made for a child of very wealthy parents.