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Galle District Calamander Workbox

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A wonderful workbox made of calamander with a scallop-edged outline, the inside of the lid is inlaid with ivory to a formal floral design centred perhaps by lotus leaves.

 

Within the main body of the box are two lift-out trays of covered compartments; the covers veneered with engraved ivory, blond tortoiseshell, and a variety of specimen woods from Ceylon including ebony, satinwood, palmwood, etc. 

 

w:16 in x d:11 in x h:5.75in    

 

Interestingly, the scallop-edged shape of this box is derived from the bible boxes made under Dutch patronage during the 18th century, especially in Matara, a fort town in the Galle District.

 

Writing around 1830, a Lieutenant de Butts described these beautiful boxes as '.......generally made of Calamander wood...their interior.........divided into numerous and ornamental compartments, each of which is of a wood different from that in any other. Thus each box affords in itself speimens of the most admired and valued kinds of wood in the forests of Ceylon'. 

 

Examples are to be found in the V&A, Nos. IS 81-1948 and IM 2-1936.

 

 

Item Code: 4426

£ 2950

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