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Fine Art Sale Lot 1027


COLONIAL FURNITURE. A DOCUMENTARY JAMAICAN MAHOGANY FREE STANDING WRITING CABINET, DATED 1828 in two sections, the upper part fitted with maple veneered pigeon holes and two drawers with cedar linings enclosed by a pair of finely figured doors above a deeper, centrally divided drawer with brass lock and folding military style handles, the lower part with nine drawers and a central recess with the original very faded maroon velvet lining enclosed by a plain glazed door, 118cm h; 40.5 x 81cm, the underside of one of the drawers labelled This Case was made by John Soulette of King Stt, Kingston, Jamaica a brown man, and native of that island. Jamaica 22d March 1828 There are several references to a John Soulette in various colonial and other records. Of these it is likely that the maker of this cabinet signed a receipt dated 28 April 1838 to goods supplied to Samuel Moulton-Barrett in Eton College Library (the Brownings' Correspondence, online edition). The marriage of another John Soulette, (born c1817) in or before January 1844 is recorded in the register of the Roman Catholic Church in Kingston, as is the birth of a daughter, Henrietta Margaurite in 1842. He, or perhaps his son, was a well known watchmaker and jeweller, with a shop on Amen Corner, Kingston by the late 19th century. Given the very high quality of this unusual double sided cabinet, Soulette was clearly an exceptionally skilled cabinet maker. The leading Jamaican cabinet makers in the 19th century, Ralph Turnbull & Sons of Kingston was established sometime between 1815-19 by Ralph Turnbull (d 1788) who arrived from Scotland. By 1823 Turnbull's two brothers Cuthert and Thomas had established independent workshops. That Soulette was in someway connected with at least one or more of the Turnbulls is probable. A Jamaican specimen wood box, also made and labelled by John Soulette was sold Sworders, Stansted Mountfitchet, 15 October 2013, lot 37.

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