John Jelliff Carved Bust Arms Analysis
There is a sidechair for sale on Ebay that is not attributed to any particular maker, but by zooming in on the arms one can see a carved Jenny Lind bust that normally would point to the chair being made by John Jelliff. With a starting price of $70 and expected range of $150-$300, this could be a cheap way to get a possible Jelliff piece.
I see plenty of furniture with this identical carved bust on the arms – specifically noting the flat, incised blouse profile vs. a true 3-dimensional carving as is done with the head portion. I have a “Jelliff” parlor set sitting in my garage with this identical bust design. However, take a look at this chair arm below from an attributed Jellif piece and note the 3-dimensional blouse carvings.
Either one or the other isn’t a Jelliff, or Jelliff had multiple profile designs for his carved Jenny Lind bust arms. This conundrum reminds me of the Schrenkeisen article I’ve mentioned in past.
There are other ways to try to further hone in on whether a piece is by Jelliff. One element pointed out to me by Michael Michadi is that Jelliff may have used rather unique casters as seen below. Note the beading around the edge in brass. The chair I purchased and profiled here also has this beading.
One day I will run into some more definitive information on the variation in these Jelliff carvings. If anyone out there has this information, please comment on this blog entry below and share with us. After all, why would he bother with two designs?. It is not as if one is markedly superior to the other.
Regardless, I believe the chair profiled at the top will be a good purchase if the price stays in the expected bid range. The fact that the auction house is not attributing it to Jelliff will help keep the price at a “Renaissance Revival chair” level vs. a Jelliff level. Of course there will be those that notice it, and of course, now you know… Here’s the chair in it’s full form and a bonus picture that I requested from the auctioneer of the chair’s casters.