A 17th century Mughal ivory inlaid rosewood table cabinet – £28,000 at Chorley’s.

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Featuring an array of 22 drawers, each profusely inlaid with foliage and birds, it was further inlaid to the sides and the fall front with figures below stylised trees.

There is a comparable example of this cabinet in the Victoria and Albert Museum that is attributed to Gujarat or Sindh and dated c.1625-50.

Floral studies had become increasingly popular in Indian art, encouraged by the botanical interests of Jahangir, the fourth Mughal emperor, and the arrival in the subcontinent of European engravings of flowers and florilegia.

This cabinet, with typical shrinkage splits and some minor losses, was bought by the London trade via well above the guide of £4000-6000 on January 25.

German version


A 16th century Augsburg marquetry table cabinet – £6200 at Chorley's.

It was one of several early table cabinets in the sale held at Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire.

During the late 16th century the south German city of Augsburg was a centre for the making of luxury marquetry cabinets intended for the storage of small, ‘kunstkammer’ objects from seashells to medals.

Most were decorated to top, front, back, sides and interior surfaces with intricate sycamore and fruitwood marquetry scenes and ornamentation drawn from contemporary German prints. The example here of 14 drawers framing a pair of architectural cupboard doors was profusely inlaid with densely scrolling foliage, monkeys, parrots, snails, squirrels, rabbits and grotesque masks.

It had some sun bleaching, splits and losses commensurate with age but was, said the cataloguer, ‘overall a lovely cabinet’. It sold at £6200 (estimate £3000-5000).