This chair sold yesterday and I kinda wish I had bid on it. Those of you who have been in the Victorian Furniture world for longer than I may have run across this form before, but I have not. I believe that the seller correctly attributed this to John Henry Belter (they actually didn’t use the word attribute at all). In fact, I’m sure this is a Belter chair.
Here are the proof points:
- This chair sports an applied crest, which is a trait of Belter’s early work, on a laminated Rococo chair
- This chair has hollow brass casters which Belter used
- The chair has carved flower knees and skirt stylistically similar to his early work
- The bottom of the leg just above the caster has a scroll pattern identical to the chair on page 6 of the Belter book by Schwartz/Stanek/True
- The overall form of the chair is comparable to the chair on page 6 minus the pierce-carved element
- The rear legs are identical in form to the applied-crest chair on page 16
Applied crest furniture was constructed by Belter in the 1840s and early 1850s and would likely have been executed by Belter’s own hand or at least under very close supervision. It would have been a nice conversation piece for the $375 that it sold for plus the cost of restoration.