A PAIR OF SRI LANKAN EBONY AND CANE EASY CHAIRS
Sri Lanka, Galle District, mid 19th century
On four wheels, the seat and back declining for maximum comfort.
H. 97 x W. 69 x D. 87 cm
H. 104 x W. 60 x D. 82 cm
In the 19th century, after the English had taken over Sri Lanka from the Dutch, ebony furniture from the Galle District became very popular with the British officials, planters and high-status Sri Lankans.
In his account of Sri Lanka, published in 1850, H.C. Sirr noted how in Colombo there was available “the most exquisitely carved ebony furniture conceivable” and in a letter of 1852 Lady Dallhouse expressed her delight about locally made ebony furniture stating that craftsmen “carve very pretty things here” (Amin Jaffer, Furniture from British India and Ceylon, V&A Publications 2001). This form of deep caned armchair was possibly inspired by designs of Thomas King’s Modern Style of Cabinet Work Exemplified, of 1829.