Ceylon or Batavia.
Nedun, & Ebony with Brass Fittings Portuguese or Dutch Colonial Ceylon or Batavia
This beautiful chest with a serpentine outline has a hinged top with an ebony or coromandel moulded edge and with brass boss ornamentation, enclosing an interior with twin lidded compartments, the shaped front with applied brass drop handles, pierced cartouche back plates and central escutcheon with further bosses, fitted with a single drawer below, within which there are two secret drawers, on a moulded base with bun feet, 108cm (3ft 6 1/2in) across.
The Shape of this chest relates to silver boxes made in Ceylon, and to a pair of ebony boxes sold at auction at Coulston House, Haddington East Lothian in May 1990 also from Ceylon. These had been acquired by James Andrew Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie KT, PC (22 April 1812 – 19 December 1860), styled Lord Ramsay until 1838 and known as The Earl of Dalhousie between 1838 and 1849, was a Scottish statesman, and a colonial administrator in British India. He served as Governor-General of India from 1848 to 1856.
The body of the chest is made of a very dark brown wood which is thought to be Nedum.
Nedun (Pericopsis mooniana) is found on the western coast of Ceylon, from the south-western province to the Sabaragamuwa Province, including the hill country. Chocolate brown in color with striking grain, this wood has a lustrous polish and color that deepens with age. Brohier says this wood was rarely used before the 17th century and was most commonly used during the 18th century for a variety of cabinetwork. It was favoured by the Dutch in the 18th century Dutch who called it Nadun. The trees were extensively felled and, according to Brohier, mature specimens were rare.