J. H. Belter or Meeks Rococo Sofa at James D. Julia

by John Werry on August 19, 2008

The sofa depicted above is coming up during James D. Julia’s “Spectacular Maine Auction” on August 26th.  I’ll be profiling more of the delectable Victorian pieces in future posts as we near the sale, but let’s talk about the sofa above for the moment.

Priscilla Myer’s 1980 book, “Victorian Details” dedicates two pages to theories on the maker of the above sofa.  The sofa photo is unfortunately intentionally split at the spine of the center of the book and some details, like the crest, are missing.  However the rest of it is there and it is undoubtedly the same sofa design.

Myers examines two theories on the couch above – could it either be the logical progression for Belter to a more elaborate design later on, the “Birds” pattern, or could it be a transitional pattern for the Meeks’ to the Hawkins pattern?  Here are examples of each: the Birds, another Birds, and Hawkins.  Also, here is a table that Stevens Auction described as the Meeks Bird pattern, though I doubt they intended to draw a relationship to the aforementioned sofas.

James D. Julia is attributing it to Belter and Grand View also had one and attributed it strongly to Belter, so it looks like any mystery that existed in 1980 is no longer present.  I, for one, also have my money on Belter but some better provenance on one of these sofas would be nice to have so that we can lock it in.

Stay tuned for further discussion on the “Bird Pattern” furniture and how it seems that no one is sure even today who made that furniture.

In the meantime here are a few more items from the upcoming Julia sale.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Charles August 20, 2008 at 1:40 pm

John, I am going to have to go with you on the Belter bias on this one. I own several pieces of Meeks Hawkins and Stanton Hall parlor pieces and the overall composition of this sofa is so different in style and execution that I can’t see the typical Meeks influence here. Charles.


Kali June 5, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I love love love this sofa. I’m going to buy this or have one just like it. It is simply astounding.


carmen muir June 8, 2012 at 4:06 am

i would like to get some info on the prices for these sofas pleases can someone email me so i can get an idea of what the price is and if it includes tax and delivery charges. thank you


Hal Manning June 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm

We believe we have a Belter couch and chair. They are in great condition and we would like to sale them would you be interested.


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