I am interested in determining the age of this sofa. I'm thinking 1930's but would be interested in hearing what the more knowledgeable (than me!) have to say. Thank you.
I would say more like 1830's....
American Empire style....but without looking at the construction details I don't know if it's really that old or a repro from a later period...
Were did you get it?
It belonged to my mother-in-law who loved finding and buying antiques, mostly at estate sales. I know she had it reupholstered probably 30+ years ago in the red velvet.
When you mention construction details - what should I be looking for?
If it's any help, the little carved pieces on the top are detachable - they have wooden pegs that fit into little holes.
It's also very uncomfortable!
I have one very similar....and I pretty well know where it was for the past 90 years.......and it was an antique before that. At one time it was stuffed with excelsior....that shreded wood stuff, and would sift a bit out when you sat on it. It was redone and restuffed with foam and cotton I think and it doesn't leave stuff on the floor.
Does is have a short seat? And a very straight back? Sort of made for a small woman in a corset? LOL!
I think it's original American empire.......treat it well!
I would have guessed 1850's (because of the addition of top carved pieces & the feet are a tad more elegant than some of the earlier empire) but I'm only guessing. It looks to be very well cared for & the veneer seems to be in excellent condition - both are rarities!
I have a house from this era & every so often, I get a wild hair to buy a period sofa but usually they are expensive, in bad condition, too far away to ship, not quite what I want, or all of the above. You have a treasure.
I'll give you 1850! LOL!....but that's still closer to 1830 than to 1930! LOL!
I wouldn't put a lot of money on my dating, either but definitey not 1930's!
One thing I've noticed about the true empire sofas is that the upholstered seat is a one piece, perfectly shaped, drop in but after 1870 or so, separate cushions were used even though the length of the sofa stayed about the same. Linda, do you know if this is indicative of the period or just something I've imagined by looking at too many ebay photos?
Nope...indicicative of the period.....and hard! firm upholstery....no cushy padding here!!
Thank you so much. Yes Linda, the seat is short (about 18 in.), the back very straight and definitely no padding. One thing I noticed that was rather odd : there is a piece of wood running the entire width of the back and in that wood are two rows of 10 holes set about 5 in. apart. They are uniform in size, about 1 in. in diameter. Any ideas on what they would be for?
Take a picture and post....please..
I've included 2 pictures - a close-up and a view of the entire piece.
The back is supposed to be covered to match the front but I would think the board with the holes is the foundation for the upholstered seat back although I have no idea how it's works. It looks like only 1 piece of twine is tacked & surely that's not holding the entire back pad in place!
Two things come to mind and both are only a guess....the holes could be where tufting is done on the back cushion or to relieve stress on the board to prevent warping.
It's where the tufting would have been done on the front side of the back. Allows the upholsterer to poke the needle through the hole to the front side, attack a covered button and back to the back side of the sofa....and it was meant to be covered with cloth.
Interesting....I just checked the back of my sofa...it's covered with black baize....but I can feel through it and it has also a board with holes just like yours....and before this present do, it had a button tufted back. My mother had it re-done in about 1979 or 80....and I remember her saying she didn't have it tufted as that would have cost a lot more.
I didn't find a lot of pictures of American Empire sofas with button tufting...but pretty well all I saw had been re-done.
But perhaps that's the way sofas were made then...in case you wanted to do button tufting.
Tufting on the back would have been the norm. If you ever recover it you should consider having it retufted so it's more appropriate to it's period :) It's lovely.