Allen and Brother Winged Griffin Desk

by John Werry on September 24, 2008

This desk is being attributed to the shop of Allen and Brother of Philadelphia and being dated to around 1875.  I happen to have seen this desk in person – it sat in Adamstown, PA for a number of months and I drooled over the carved griffins on the base, but I couldn’t part with the cash that was being asked for it.

I’m not completely sold on this being by Allen and Brother as it doesn’t fully resemble items that I’ve seen by them before and I think the style of the carved griffins is the reason why it was attributed to them.  The pulls especially don’t say Allen to me but they could have been replaced and I am no expert who knows their full repertoire, anyway.

We’ve seen so many lion-headed griffins from Horner, Mitchell, and Karpen, etc., that we don’t recognize a true griffin when we see one, as is present on this desk.  As a result, the seller identified these figures as sphinxes, which usually have the head of a human, which these do not.  Griffins, going back to antiquity, have the head of a bird; most often an Eagle.

Bidding on the desk will start at $2,000 and the expected range will be $4,000 to $6,000.  More images at the listing.

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