All Furniture Was Not Made In America
Sometimes I think that there is a rush to judge too quickly that antiques that we run across have been made in America. This bookcase is certainly a very nice one, but I think the tile inserts led the seller to believe it must have been made by a prominent American maker. The reality is that during that time, most of the skilled craftsman that were in America were of German or French, or at least European, descent. The reason we have all these great pieces is that these European craftsman came to the U.S. and brought their extensive training with them. Many of the names whose furniture we value most are 1st generation immigrants. But not all of them came to America! Some stayed behind and they still made furniture over there!
All you need to do is look at the book by John Andrews, “Victorian and Edwardian Furniture“, and you’ll get a taste for what European (primarily English) Victorian furniture looks like. Guess what, it looks a lot like ours. You’ll see there a lot of French-inspired designs that look like pieces that we would jump to attribute to Roux, Marcotte, etc. There are pieces in there that mirror pieces that I have recently seen attributed to Kimbel & Cabus and Herter Brothers. In the case of the bookcase above, they are attributing it to Pottier & Stymus. I haven’t done enough digging to say that they are correct or not, but a quick glance had me reaching for the Andrews book on a hunch that more research is necessary. If you’re interested in researching Victorian furniture and their attributions, I feel it very necessary that you remember to also look abroad when identifying furniture.
More detail and images on this bookcase that is selling are here.