Bob Courtney Auctions has a sale coming up on on Saturday, November the 8th that will include the six brethren to the above four John Henry Belter side chairs. The complete set is being categorized as following Belter’s “Henry Clay” pattern.
The issue that I have with this set (not even having looked at condition yet) is that it appears to be an incongruous marriage with an un-Henry Clay suite. Aside from the fabric variations and the inexplicably large number of ten pieces (nine of which are chairs), some of the side chairs have a distinctly different design than those above.
I did some initial digging before vacation to try to unravel the pattern of the chairs that I don’t see as pure Henry Clay but ran out of time, so maybe someone with deeper Belter knowledge can enlighten us. The chairs in question are below. A glance at THE Henry Clay reference set that started the pattern is all you need in order to see the variation in the seat back.
What we may have is a few chairs that don’t fit a particular pattern but are an ancestor of, descendant of, or variation on the Henry Clay pattern (with some Rosalie). Some more digging would tell me for sure and if they are not meant to be together, this is an example of a large set that I wouldn’t get agida over if someone decided to split it up post-sale. I would bet good money that it will be split by it’s next owner. Courtney should or might have even thought of doing so.
Anyway, there is more to see in this sale and while it is still pending you can see a selection of items from it below including a signed Karpen Art Nouveau set from 1906-1911 (thanks, Emily Rose, for that info), some “RJ Horner” chairs that are more likely also Karpen (see here to compare), a great Belter window seat, a questionable Roux attribution (did Roux ever really do Atlas figures? not that I’ve seen), a Meeks sofa, an Aesthetic cabinet that they attribute to Herter Brothers, as well as a “Hunzinger” hall tree that mysteriously looks like a Merklen knockoff (I don’t think it is actually made by either), and more. Something for everyone …
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