John Jelliff Carved Bust Arms Analysis

by John Werry on July 3, 2007

072371 1 Lind 713919 John Jelliff Carved Bust Arms AnalysisThere 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.

Jelliffarmfront 791673 John Jelliff Carved Bust Arms AnalysisYou can see another pair of similar arms, this time with the incising retaining some of the original gold. Antiquarian Traders is attributing these chairs to Jelliff as well.

LVQ20276770 705606 John Jelliff Carved Bust Arms Analysis
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.

Jelliffchairwheel 762950 John Jelliff Carved Bust Arms AnalysisHere’s a chair that Michadi Antiques is selling at their store as part of a parlor set that has the incised form of the carved bust and is attributed to Jelliff.

picture3 798812 John Jelliff Carved Bust Arms AnalysisOne 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.

072371 1 lg 712441 John Jelliff Carved Bust Arms Analysis

 John Jelliff Carved Bust Arms Analysis

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

buzz Pfeiffer December 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm

i believe i have a jeffiff victorian couch and chair set. the female figurine on my couch is thre dimensional. how ever both chairs have a small gold colored metallic emblem on the back, of a women in a bonnet. the couch as you look at it has three larger gold colored medallions on the far left is a woman, in the middle man, and on the far right another man does anyone know if this is a jeffiff piece or not. and can anyone tell me the significance of the medallions. is this a tribute to harvest, or could this be a british set and it is a tribute to victoia, albert, and edward. from a military perspective the arrangement of the female on the far right and then the two male figures on the left of her would seem to indicate the succession of power from a military perspective. thank you

Buzz Pfeiffer

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