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Mallett PLC

Indian Ivory Howdah
Indian, probably Murshidabad
circa 1820, The finials of later date
Height: 87 in /221 cm
Length: 86½ in /220 cm
Width: 45 in /114 cm

A magnificent and very rare early 19th century carved ivory howdah, the graduated double domes crowned with later turned giltwood finials above a divided interior and with a side door furnished with a gilded handle.

The latticed domes are supported by gadrooned arches with carved lotus leaves and pierced friezes of lotus flowers. Each arch is supported by reeded columns with lotus leaf capitals and feet. The base is surmounted by a frieze of lotus palmettes beneath which are bevelled mirror panels with cut star motifs bordered by pierced lotus palmettes. The lower edge is a frieze of further lotus palmettes.

The domed front canopy is supported on tall, turned and reeded columns headed by exotic birds holding lotus flowers in their beaks. The turned feet are mounted behind carved lotus scrolls and the whole is raised on a red, green and white painted wooden frame with forged steel harness rings. The interior is upholstered in yellow silk with bolsters and cushions.

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