Indian, Vizagapatam

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 510

Based on a European prototype but constructed from indigenous timber and densely decorated with ivory inlays displaying European ornament, this casket is an excellent example of an Anglo-Indian export piece. Writing boxes, rifles and gun boxes with European marquetry decoration are likely to have been used by Europeans. This particular casket is decorated with the crest of the Hastings family, presumably of Warren Hastings (1732–1818). Hastings had a brilliant and finally tragic career in service of the British East India Company. Leaving England in 1750, he became the British resident in Murshidabad seven years later, returning to England in 1765. Hastings went back to India in 1769 and was appointed Governor General of Bengal in 1773. Hastings ultimately left India in 1785 to face a long trial for impeachment charges.

Casket, Ebony and engraved ivory, tortoiseshell; mirror glass; silver hardware; brass feet; iron lock, Indian, Vizagapatam

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