Rosewood Mitchell & Rammelsberg Etagere

by John Werry on May 1, 2008

mitchell rammelsberg etagere Rosewood Mitchell & Rammelsberg EtagereYou’d think I was on the Neal Auction payroll by the amount of furniture I’ve been profiling by them (I’m not), but as usual, their upcoming sale has a lot that Rare Victorian readers would be interested in owning, budget permitting.

To paraphrase Ving Rhames from the movie Pulp Fiction, I’m going to go medieval on you with this impressive Mitchell & Rammelsberg-attributed Etagere with matching battle axe carvings.

The etagere is a towering 104 1/2″ of heavily-grained Rosewood with extensive pierce-carved elements throughout.

There are a few condition issues which you can learn more about at the listing. Bidding starts at $3,000 with expected range to be $5,000 to $7,000. Bidding will end on May 3rd.

Also, I put together this “Greatest Hits” search for my favorite Victorian furniture items from the Neal Auction to make it easy for you to sift through it all. Check it out.  Unfortunately, there is an important Roux-attributed 9-piece parlor set that is being broken into 4 lots that may never live it’s life together again.  Oh well, them’s the breaks.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

woodwright May 2, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Is this Rosewood or is it grain painted to look like Rosewood? The listing title states: “139: Rosewood Grained Etagere Mitchell Rammelsberg”. The condition report @ the listing says “Graining intact”. It makes it sound like it is grain painted to look look Rosewood (as was sometimes done w/ lesser quality wood, furniture & trim to look like a better quality wood). This is obviously a special piece – nothing ordinary about it. If it is grain painted, (which is what I get from the description) I’m very surprised that a piece of this caliber would have been grain painted and not made of real Rosewood – both solid & veneered. I cant see any paint wear or see the wood/ grain well enough from the pics. to tell for sure. woodwright

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RareVictorian May 4, 2008 at 7:26 pm

$5,250 wasn’t bad for a piece like this.

Woodright, not sure on the graining. I see where you’re coming from.

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Downing May 5, 2008 at 9:18 am

Woodright: We purchase a “rosewood” etagere made by M-R recently.
We did not question whether it might have been grained. Thereafter,
the identical piece was sold by Courtney Auctions and it was described as having been grained to resemble rosewood. Without scratching the surface, it is nearly impossible to tell if it is grained. I have done graining and I can’t conceive of how they grained such an intricate piece.
Downing

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woodwright May 6, 2008 at 2:21 am

I used the “ask seller a question” tab on the ebay listing today to ask Neal Auctions whether this Etagere was actually made of Rosewood, or grainpainted to look like Rosewood. They replied quickly that it is grain painted. Which I believe, but am a little surprised to know that an important piece of this caliber and details was grain painted. The easiest way to tell if it is grainpainted is to look for paint loss anywhere – there is almost always some scratches, rubs or scuffs somewhere. The wood underneath will be of a different color – probably not the same color as the painted surface. Paint is also opaque and has a different look than a finished wood surface – very close study will usually reveal/ disclose a painted finish (some were excellent and difficult to tell – others not so great). There are many nooks and crannies on this with the carving, the fretsawing, the mouldings, inside corners, etc. Graining a flat surface or even something with outside corners is not so tough, but I can’t even imagine the skill & technique it would take to grain something like this and to do it well. There certainly were a lot of skilled artisans and talented crafts people who worked with their hands in the past. Very admirable. woodwright

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