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Octagonal Tabouret with Bone or Ivory Inlay

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Unknown Artist

Octagonal Tabouret with Bone or Ivory Inlay

Wood, bone or ivory

24 in. x 24 in. (60.96 cm x 60.96 cm)
Bequest of M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College, 1894-1922

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: Deanery.405
Other Number(s): W.172 (Wyndham No.)
Classification: Furnishings and Furniture; Furniture; Table
Collection: Deanery Collection
Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

Small octagonal table (tabouret) with elaborate inlaid designs. The side panels consist of a smaller rectangular area on the upper third and a longer rectangular area with curvilinear arch cutout on the bottom section. The entire panel is outlined in an inlaid band of repeating diamonds. In between each panel is another inlaid band of alternating dark and light wood. The upper rectangle contains a rectangular band of the alternating dark and light wood and a circular vegetal design around a floral center. The spandrels of the arch in the lower section have a vegetal design.

The top of the table has several concentric rings of inlaid floral and vegetal designs. Starting from the outside: a thin band of alternating black and white inlay, a small band of white trefoils, a white line, a band of white flowers joined by curved lines, a second white line, a small band of white quatrefoils, a large band of interlocking floral and vegetal lines, a second small band of white quatrefoils, a third white band, a third band of white quatrefoils. The central medallion consists of several flowers on leafy stems arising from the central design of white diamonds.

The elaborate vegetal inlay and curvilinear arches can be attributed to the increased influence of Indian aesthetics at the time. American art inspired by Indian designs increased over the course of the late-18th and early 19th centuries. Since the early 1600s, one can trace the history of British trade with India. In 1757, however, the British East India Company effectively controlled India after the Battle of Plassey; after the Indian Rebellion in 1857, the British government began direct rule over India in 1858. The visibility of Indian art and design to American audiences increased alongside British control over the peninsula through the display and distribution of Indian works, such as in the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. The Deanery at Bryn Mawr College prominently featured Indian art as it was largely decorated by the American artist, Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932), who is best known for his role in the introduction of Indian art to America and Britain.

Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Octagonal Tabouret with Bone or Ivory Inlay |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=7/26/2021 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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