Rare Victorian - Mark Twain’s Hawaiian Furniture – F. N. Otremba
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Mark Twain’s Hawaiian Furniture – F. N. Otremba

mark twain koa chair Mark Twains Hawaiian Furniture   F. N. Otremba

mark twain koa chair 223x300 Mark Twains Hawaiian Furniture   F. N. Otremba

Continuing on with the topic of Hawaiian carved furniture comes two pieces made by F. N. Otremba.

Otremba was commissioned by the Hawaii Promotion Committee to carve a mantel for Mark Twain’s new home, “Stormfield” in 1908.  The job cost $300 and at the time was described as “one of the handsomest pieces of furniture ever made in the Islands”.  It was installed in the author’s billiard room on his 73rd birthday.  However, the home and mantel were later destroyed by fire.

A chair was also carved by Otremba for Twain but he had a choice between the mantel and the chair and selected the mantel.  The chair, pictured to the right, stayed in Hawaii, apparently with the Otremba family.

Research and image courtesy of the Daughters of Hawaii and from their book, Hawaiian Furniture And Hawaii’s Cabinetmakers.

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3 Comments
  • zeke - October 29, 2008

    John,

    America pretty much followed UK and European design trends in the 19th century, albeit, creating a lot of furniture that was uniquely our own. What influences would you say Hawaii followed in furniture design? I’m very curious because geographically they were pretty far removed from both USA and UK/Europe. Both the chair and cabinet are beautiful and are unmistakingly Victorian.

  • RareVictorian - October 30, 2008

    Zeke,

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they got their hands on the trade publications of the time – American Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer, etc., for inspiration. Furniture imported from the mainland might have also provided live inspiration.

    John

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