Skip to main content

Desk: M.3-2016

An image of Desk

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 3

Maker(s)

Maker: Unknown

Entities

Categories

Description

Anglo-Indian desk of rosewood inlaid with ivory, with silver handles

Notes

History note: Sir Thomas Rumbold, 1st baronet (1736-91), Governor of Madras from 1777-80. On loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum since 2012.

Legal notes

Accepted by H.M. Government in lieu of inheritance tax, from the estate of Elizabeth Anne Chubb, Lady Hayter

Measurements and weight

Depth: 62 cm
Height: 76 cm
Width: 113 cm

Relative size of this object

1.1 m76 cm62 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Place(s) associated

  • Visakhapatnam ⪼ Visakhapatnam ⪼ India

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Allocated (2016) by H.M. Government

Dating

Mid 18th Century
Circa 1750 CE - 1760 CE

Note

Although the identities of the Indian craftsmen who made this desk are unknown, we know that it was once owned by the notoriously corrupt British politician and colonial administrator Sir Thomas Rumbold, 1st baronet (1736–91), who was a Director of the East India Company and Governor of Madras (1777–80) before being accused of huge fraud. In the 18th century, these inlaid pieces of furniture from Visakhapatnam were sought after by discerning collectors: Viscount Fitzwilliam (the Museum’s founder) owned a Visakhapatnam bookcase, now in the Peabody Museum, Salem (USA).

From around 1683, Visakhapatnam, a port on India’s east coast, became a centre for the manufacture of 'Anglo-Indian' furniture and textiles made for export to Europe. It is likely that British colonial forces sent British designers to India to teach Indian craftsmen how to apply their traditional ivory-working skills to the production of high-quality furniture of traditional European form. Here, a kneehole desk, a form developed in England in the early 18th century, is decorated with complex ivory inlay, the floral patterns based on Indian plants. They are similar to those found on ‘chintz’ fabrics exported to Europe at the same time.

School or Style

Anglo-Indian

Components of the work

Handles composed of silver
Inlay composed of ivory
Ivory

Materials used in production

Rosewood

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.3-2016
Primary reference Number: 208433
Old loan number: AAL.1-2012
Entry form number: 1061
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Thursday 17 March 2016 Updated: Friday 23 September 2022 Last processed: Friday 23 September 2022

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Desk" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/208433 Accessed: 2022-09-29 06:01:38

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/208433 |title=Desk |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-09-29 06:01:38|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/api/v1/objects/object-208433

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src="https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/imagestore/aa/aa32/large_M_3_2016_1_201207_mdb56_dc2.jpg"
        alt="Desk"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Desk</figcaption>
    </figure>
</div>
    

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like

Writing desk

Accession Number: M.20-1970

Writing desk

Accession Number: M.3-1993

Kneehole desk

Accession Number: M.12-1961

Desk seal

Accession Number: M.99 & A-1930

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...