Another Early John Henry Belter Chair?
Charles, AKA “Peakangus” in the forum, sent me these photos of a Rococo chair that he owns that is possibly a Belter piece. A few characteristics that when combined point to it being by JH Belter:
- Hollow brass casters
- Laminated construction
- Rosewood composition
- Pierced-carved back
- Spiral terminated feet in a style seen on Belter pieces
- Applied crest
Any of these elements alone wouldn’t be enough to point to Belter, but together they add up to a reasonable attribution. There are a few detractors, however:
- I’m not used to seeing shell carving on Belter pieces as is present on the skirt and crest but I found a shell carving on one Belter worktable on page 83 of the Belter book.
- With some cursory research I have not seen a Belter piece with “sprockets” on the legs as this one has but I have seen pieces by Prudent Mallard which have.
- The applied crest, which Belter executed on some of his early pieces, bothers me in that it doesn’t look like ones that he made.
I attribute this chair to likely be by John Henry Belter, but with a few reservations. Although some of the elements don’t look like Belter’s work, I have not researched it completely. One can never be certain that we’ve run across the full spectrum of a cabinetmaker’s work in the past and that we aren’t seeing something new to us.