An Anglo-Indian octagonal travel table/end table/taboret with intricate brass inlay. The octagonal top is inlaid at the center with a large lotus rosette of undulating vines, leaves, and flowers encircled by vines, leaves and flowers The inlay is edged with a double border design of repeating brass quatrefoils wood bands, with winding vines and repeating quatrefoils. The overhang top is edged in brass. The sides of the base are inlaid with running borders of brass quatrefoils. The top panels with inlaid brass and arcaded design panels decorated with foliate & vine inlay. The table is made of teak and possibly shisham (sheesham) wood with a folding base which is now fixed for greater stability.1 India, circa 1880. 2
height: 20 inches (51 cm.), diameter: 21 inches (53 cm.)
Further readings and sources:
- Small blocks are attached to each flat edge that can be removed to return the table to its original condition. ↩
- Octagonal tables of this form were made in several places in late nineteenth-century British India, principally in response to the growing fashion in Europe for ‘Moorish’ and ‘Arab’ furnishings and decorative accessories. The design of this table is Middle Eastern and was copied in India after originals imported from Cairo. Tables of this kind were used widely in the Ottoman Empire and North Africa, principally as centre tables for ground-level communal eating. Octagonal tables of this type seem to first surface in the West only in the second half of the nineteenth century. The interest in eastern design in that period was the result of a variety of factors including the gradual opening up of the East, and in particular the Arab world; the admiration of the quality and design of eastern manufactures at the various international exhibitions; and the general nineteenth-century taste for exotica. The period was one of unparalleled awareness of the East, both at first hand through travel and at second hand through publications, paintings and imported objects.
Excerpted from Furniture from British India and Ceylon: A Catalogue of the Collections in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum. Amin Jaffer, V&A Publications, 2001. Print. p. 288. ↩