Proof That Credenza Depot Stores Existed
I’m retiring from trying to figure out what cabinet maker made a particular credenza as it is just a mind-bending exercise to do. Cabinet makers didn’t need to make furniture from scratch; they could import components from Europe or purchase them locally and integrate these elements into their pieces. The inlay panels were purchased, the hardware purchased, bronze or Wedgewood plaques were purchased. Now I’m observing that the central decorative panel and decorative trim across these two pieces from different makers seems to be common as well. I’m wondering if the cabinet makers from the 19th century made any aspect of these cabinets themselves.
I’m now sure that there was a Credenza Depot store in New York in the 19th century where you could buy 90% of your cabinet already pre-made in pieces and you just needed to nail it together. I’m starting to think that the Herter Brothers were the only makers of these cabinet forms that didn’t shop there.
I can see it now, William Stymus sends Auguste Pottier to Credenza Depot on a bronze plaque run and Auguste is shuffling his cart through the aisles and runs into Thomas Godey. Thomas is in town from Baltimore visiting his Aunt in New York and thought he’d stop by and get some carved pilasters while he’s there. They exchange pleasantries and notice that they both have the same inlay panels in their shopping carts…. Later, Godey runs into Roux at the register who is getting a price check on the carved deer heads from the endcap….
but I digress…
The second cabinet has an affixed Thomas Godey label solidly linking the maker with the cabinet. The first credenza is a dead ringer for a Pottier & Stymus cabinet in the Herter Brothers book on page 69 except for colors. The documentation linking P&S as the maker is very strong. In the words of the book, “The Pottier & Stymus piece is significant especially because it is one of the few by this firm that is securely documented.”
Obviously there is much that is different between the P&S and Godey cabinets and I’m not presenting them as a match. However, this is the first time that I’ve noticed the identical central panel trim across two well-documented pieces from two makers who aren’t even in the same city. Take the plaques out and you have a 95% match on that panel. I didn’t even mention the pilasters on these two cabinets yet. The same. All four on each. So add that to the list of stock items available at Credenza Depot.
The top cabinet will be sold by Fontaine’s on Saturday and I think they nailed the P&S attribution correctly. You can see more pics and detail here.
If you want to further confuse yourself like I am, you can read this earlier post.