Neal Auction to Sell Another 1857 House of Representatives Chair
If you followed the drama of Kathie’s chair identification here on Rare Victorian (Part I, II, III, and related posts IV, and V), you might be interested to know that Neal Auction is selling another of these original 1857 House of Representatives chairs. Half of the chairs were manufactured by Hammitt Desk Co. of Philadelphia and half by Bembe and Kimbel of New York. The order was split since it was anticipated that Bembe & Kimbel was not likely to produce the full order of 262 in time for Montgomery Meigs who supervised the construction of the wings and dome of the Capitol from 1853 to 1859.
As you recall from the earlier posts on these chairs, no one that I am aware of has photos or has seen one of the Hammitt chairs. With a dozen or so of the above $15,000-20,000 chairs having popped up over the last few years, none have been marked Hammitt. As we learned with Kathie’s chair, the stencils by Bembe & Kimbel can fade over the last 150 years and simply the absence of a stencil cannot be used to identify a Hammitt chair.
You might be interested in seeing this carte de visite, a type of 19th century photograph in the dimensions of a card (more information on the cdv format here). It depicts the House in 1865 and you can see the desks that were part of the 1857 order of from Doe Hazelton Company, but where are these chairs? Those in the picture appear to be different than the original 1857 chairs like the one above.
Neal Auction is expecting a range of $12,000 to $18,000 and I look forward to the sale to see how it goes. More information at the listing.