Help dating furniture

2ajsmamaNovember 13, 2008

Anybody ever seen anything like these? Has been refinished (though still has some old wallpaper stuck on the inside), hardware is not original (used to have pulls on drawers, not knobs - sorry forgot to take pic of drawers inside armoire but they are more Mission style square backplate bail type upll). The heavy carving combined with the "sculpted" lines of the feet and around the beveled mirrors really is throwing me. Marble tops, skeleton keys (I'm missing 1), and 3 handcut dovetails per drawer (even the deeper drawers inside the armoire).

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I think it's Arts and Crafts style, made by R J Horner. I've linked to a specialty board, which might be worth joining.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stickley Era, the Arts & Crafts Movement

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 9:49PM
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All of your furniture is quarter-sawed oak which reveals the swirly pattern. I doubt if the carving was hand done. There should be some type of marking on the inside or outside of a drawer, on the undeside of the carcass or on the back. If there was a paper label, it may have been lost in the refinishing process. If you still have the pulls, I would certainly reinstall them.

I personally am not a fan of mission style, but this is beautiful furniture. I would place manufacture in the 20s.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 9:47AM
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A mix of styles likely to target a wider audience. Mission or Craftsman style (misnomers for Arts & Crafts period) bedroom furniture is the most difficult to find. When people were going Arts & Crafts in other rooms, the bedroom was often the last to be refurnished, and many people also liked the bedroom to remain less stoic. Your set also has strong Art Deco influence (around the mirror & the feet). Manufacture in the '20s or '30s is accurate. Do you know when it was refinished, and if it had a golden oak finish prior? Most Arts & Crafts period furniture that got refinished, originally dark through a fuming process, got updated during the, yes, Golden Oak period.

Here is a link that might be useful: examples of Arts and Crafts furniture

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 6:18AM
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I saw the Deco/20's influence in the feet and around the mirrors, but the carving is out of place - more Victorian. No marks, no labels. Hand-cut dovetails, solid drawer bottoms and back panels (each section of the wardrobe is T&G fitted together, thick back panels planed down along the edges, couldn't even get a nail through to tack up cedar inside!). I've had it 18 years. I guess it could be original finish and the drips I saw on inside of dresser could be original? Can't see that it was stripped anywhere, even where the panels have shrunk and have some separation there is no different color (just edge of stain and natural wood) or any residue. Maybe somebody just replaced the hardware long ago? You would think they would have taken the wallpaper (that was covering a gap between the carcass and the mirror on the dresser) off if they had refinished it (even if they decided it was too much work to strip the wallpaper off the inside of the wardrobe). No golden color - and the feet and molding around the mirrors looks ebonized.

Someone on A&C/Stickley forum said it looked earlier - perhaps 1880s.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 7:02PM
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Yes, with the hand cut dovetails and original dark finish it could be much earlier. The deco feet and mirror piece could well have been a later addition; however the backplate behind the mirror looks very architectural/deco too - another addition perhaps? Art Deco was a popular design 1925 - 1939. Can't see the pulls on the wardrobe so well, but they could be substitutions (especially if they are bakelite produced extensively in the '30s and '40s) and replaced around the same time.
It's a lovely set, but a little busy. If you can see evidence that the deco parts were added, removing them would greatly improve its appeal.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 10:25AM
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I think its' fabulous....obviously not a "Grand Rapids Special" but rather the product of a cabinetmaker's hand.
There was lots and lots of "stuff" made, furniture, clothing, music, sculpture paintings that did not follow the strict style lines of the day. I think your bedroom furniture is an example of that.
Purely as a guess I would say 1880's and likely not made in the US. Possibly France or Belgium as a place of origin or perhaps the cabinet maker had European roots recent enough to have slopped over into his creations.
From what you know of it, would that be possible? Where did you buy it?
I also think it's original finish and the wallpaper was added and the knobs were changed to "modernize" it sometime about 1920.
I have mahagony chest made by my great great great grandfather before the Civil War. It has old Chippendale style brasses, but I can see that at one time it had Empire style wooden pulls. If my mother were alive, she would be 96 and all he life she remembered that chest as having those Chippendale pulls. Likely my mother's mother's mother in law thought the Chuippendale style was "more grand"....and from what I have heard of Lydia Prescott, that seems likely.
So realize that sometimes the brasses were changed on a piece which gave it a whole different feel, and we don't know what was there originally.
Beautiful set! Lucky teenager!
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Well, some wallpaper was stuck on the back of the mirror to cover a gap between the mirror and the dresser. The mirror could have been added, but I don't think the feet were, and the mirror on the wardrobe door is the same, don't think that was changed out. Not sure why anyone wallpapered the shelf (above the drawers) in the wardrobe, and they put contact paper on the shelves behind the right hand door. I tried getting it off when we first bought it 18 years ago, but short of flooding the shelves with mineral spirits and scraping, the residue isn't coming off. I just wrapped heavy plastic around them so my linens don't stick. But I really can't see any sign of refinishing, just "new" hardware. Not bakelite - looks dull pewter-type metal. Chunky and I hate it - would love to figure out what was original so maybe I could find reproduction, but I just can't think of what would look good. Not quite A&C, definitely not Chippendale, don't think Eastlake style brasses would work - any suggestions?

Funny you should mention Belgium, when we bought it my uncle's friend who lived quite a while in Germany (moved back about 10 years ago) said he thought it was 1920's Belgian, but he wasn't an expert (land surveyor) so I took that with a grain of salt. BTW, my dd is turning 5 next week - long ways from a teenager! I have tried to tell her she needs to take good care of her "princess" furniture so she has it when she's a grown up. Told her it's as old as my great-uncle (he's 95). Not sure it's made an impression. Think it's better off in the (unconditioned) attic til she's older?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 8:45PM
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Nope....let her use it....remind her how lovely it is often and she will take care of it. And some day she will tell her daughter "This was my bedroom set when I was a little girl."
As for the contact paper.....try a hair dryer to heat the stick-um and make it easier to remove.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:54PM
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Don't put it in a hot attic! That would do more damage than most children.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 12:23AM
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