Live Showroom Auction: Wednesday, July, 17, 2024, 10AM ET
Public Exhibition: July 14, 15, 16, 11AM-4PM
Join us! Exhibition Reception & Outdoor Barbecue, Sunday, July 14, Noon to 4PM

Absentee Bid Form | Telephone Bid Form | Terms and Conditions (PDF)
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For decades, Material Culture has sourced and sold antique Anglo-Indian furniture in our retail store, owing to its great popularity, home utility, and bench-made quality—qualities sorely lacking in today’s contemporary, mass-manufactured, “disposable” furniture.

For the first time in our 30-year history, we are offering a container of this furniture at auction, diverging from our usual focus on selling items from estates and private individuals. This venture is an experiment to determine if the auction model is a viable method for marketing these items. We hope that both resellers and private individuals find this an effective way to shop.

Unlike contemporary alternatives made from engineered wood or plastic, this real wood furniture is longer-lasting, more sustainable, and arguably more beautiful. These pieces, such as cabinets, servers, and cupboards, do not need to be discarded at the first sign of damage. They can be easily repaired, sanded, repainted, or updated with new knobs and hardware. Like their traditional English and Irish models, these high-quality furniture pieces become heirloom items that adapt to each generation’s style, finding their place in contemporary interiors.

The adaptability of this furniture enhances its usefulness. Slim shelves become perfect spice or curio cabinets, while larger pieces fit seamlessly into dens, living rooms, or kitchens. Medicine cabinets can be faced with panel, glass, or mirror. The slim depth of this furniture allows it to fit more easily into rooms and hallways that would not accommodate bulkier forms, making it ideal for smaller urban apartments. Lastly, instead of ending up in the junk pile like much contemporary furniture, antique Anglo-Indian furniture can always be resold and find new homes for continued, reliable service.

For much of their history, most Indians did not use Western types of furniture in their homes, but rather low tables and cushions on the floor, for lounging, eating and sleeping, while Indian Royals also used ceremonial pieces like thrones. Starting in the 16th century, European conquests of various parts of India meant an influx over time of Portuguese, French, Dutch and English domestic habits, including furniture uses and styles. Desiring their traditional furnishings, Westerners asked native Indian craftsman to produce them with local materials. The result was numerous hybrid styles of furniture, used both domestically and for export back to Europe. Traditional Indian skills of intricate wood carving and inlay were often added to traditional Western forms; and indigenous woods like rosewood, padauk and teak replaced European oak, walnut and pine. The British Raj (1858-1947) had perhaps the longest lasting influence on Indian fusion furniture. Drawing heavily from Irish/English traditional country furniture, simple forms of paneled cupboards, cabinets, sideboards and tables were created that very closely resembled their models from the West. We have found this furniture category very popular, because it fits into people’s homes with a rustic charm. And a refurbished ‘shabby chic’ or cottage element is achieved from surviving remnants of original paint, and wooden panels removed, replaced with modern glass to modernize.

NOTE: There Are No Hidden or Confidential Reserves; All Acceptable Bidding Commences at the Online Start Price. We Sell Approximately 60-80 Lots Per Hour. Shown below are a small sampling of lots. Please go to one of the online portal links above to view the entire auction catalog.