Incredible Herter Brothers Find
Imagine yourself perusing your local antique shops and finding this lady’s desk in the window, priced aggressively and no one but you noticed how special it was. BJ Laughlin of B and D Furniture with Generation Next Antiques-St. Louis, MO spotted it, knew what it was, and arranged to purchase it.
If you own the “Herter Brothers, Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age” book, flip to page 153 and you’ll find an identical desk, currently residing in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Curiously, the one above is not stamped “Herter Bro’s” as the one in the book is. I believe BJ is planning to put this piece up at auction at at Ivey-Selkirk in St. Louis.
Great find BJ. Hopefully there will be many more. Some more comments from BJ:
The museum curator in Houston, Kathrine Howe, has seen my piece as well. Upon her examination the only difference is their desk has a lighter finish and some birdseye maple while my desk is darker and has some burl walnut. She said that through her research of the Herter Brothers life and business that she was aware of a second desk. She said it was exciting to have this information for their archives.
While I was replacing the felt on the writing surface (which wasn’t original by the way….or else I would have left it), I discovered a signature which appears to be a German name. It looks like Joener Zef, but its hard to tell. I did take pictures of the signature. I also read that this was a feature the brothers liked to use when they commissioned certain furniture for someone. They would have their customer’s signature or name written somewhere on the piece, never their own name though.