I purchased a chair a year or so ago at a local auction to go along with my Horner hall chairs. I had previously seen this chair attributed to R.J. Horner and, considering the griffin carvings, I never thought twice about that attribution (like I now instinctively do with everything). It turns out that it was made by the Robert Michell Furniture Co. around 1904 as it is in their catalog that I recently acquired (image above). It is their model #66-1334a, “Roman Arm Chair”, solid mahogany, $74. It was also available as #66-1334 in quartered Oak, golden or “Antwerp” finish, $64 (I wonder what Antwerp implies color-wise). The upholstered seat was covered in leather. Mine is below.
The griffin arms and the finials on the chair are distinctively carved and you will see these elements independent of one another on other pieces and these can help distinguish Robert Mitchell pieces. There is a possibility that R.J. Horner made these chairs for Robert Mitchell and I leave that possibility out there, but barring any new evidence beyond this catalog, I will heretofore assume they were produced by Mitchell.
By the way, Robert Mitchell is one and the same as the Mitchell from Mitchell & Rammelsberg. The company was renamed Robert Mitchell Co. in 1881. Robert Mitchell biography.
The longer I research furniture, the more I see how dramatically lopsided attributions are made to the incorrect side. There is a pandemic in my mind to the point where attributions are getting worthless. Take a look at the following image from the same Robert Mitchell catalog. For those of you who follow R.J. Horner furniture, how many times have we seen this Mitchell table labeled Horner?
In one of my next few posts, I will show you how to identify an authentic R.J. Horner hall chair.
If you are interested in looking to buy Robert Mitchell or R.J. Horner furniture, there is frequently a decent choice of inventory here on here on Ebay. (though attributions may be suspicious, so look carefully)