Apollo Magazine (UK)
Portuguese, European and Colonial Art
For over 30 years São Roque has held an undisputed reputation in the world of Art and Antiques for the rarity and exclusivity of its artworks, in an unmatched symbiosis of quality and guaranteed authenticity.
A reference for both private and institutional collectors as well as for international Museums, São Roque’s team of specialists ensure that it maintains its preeminent position in an ever-growing and globalized Art and Antiques market.
Indo-Portuguese Gujarat Writing Chest
Mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell and mastic, 16th century 11.4 × 24.5 × 17.8 cm
An extremely rare teak portable writing chest, coated in pearl oyster and Turbo marmoratus mother-of-pearl tesserae, fixed by brass pins, and inlaid tortoiseshell and red mastic elements. Its wrought iron fittings following clear European 15th and 16th century models.
A particularly important detail of this chest are the rich, well-preserved, inner surfaces painted decoration, representing respectively a prince on horseback with two attendants, a courtly scene with a couple in conversation and a hunt.
Ordered by Portuguese clients, these early mother-of-pearl items arrived in Lisbon destined to the royal and aristocratic collections, being recorded in contemporary inventories, the first of which being the 1522 wardrobe inventory of king Manuel I of Portugal.
Cabinet-on-Stand with Insignia of the Order of Saint Augustine
Teak, ebony, ivory and gilt copper, Goa 17th century
Unique, mid 17th century Indo-Portuguese cabinet on stand, ornamented in ebony and ivory inlaid motifs, sophisticated gilt copper hardware, and heraldic crowned double-headed eagles associated to the Augustinian Order.
The dense foliage scrolled decorative composition of both the cabinet and its stand, is completed with depictions of lions and vultures which, in addition to the eagles, are beasts associated to an ideal of protection, assuming here an unquestionable shielding role within a wealthy religious home, a detail that imbues the present cabinet with exceptionally important characteristics.
Double-headed eagles, became the emblem of the Order of Saint Augustine as conceded by King Phillip I (?) (r. 1556–1598). Even though the full Augustinian heraldic appears incomplete, it is likely that this piece’s commission was related to this Religious Order. Effectively, on one of the surviving sacristy chests from the Goan
Convent of Saint Augustine, also in our collection and of strong similarities to the present cabinet, the iconography is equally lacking the exact same elements.
Although ebony and ivory inlaid teak furniture is relatively common in the 17th c. Goan production, the present cabinet is unique on account of its complex symbolic iconography.