Birdseye Maple Dresser Identification

by John Werry on January 17, 2009

Here’s a little “in-the-field” reporting as I spend some time away from home this weekend on the Chesapeake Bay visiting some friends and shopping with my wife.  Fortunately for me, there is a selection of girlie shops with three antique shops nearby.  I can bait my wife into town with the former and end up in the latter. 

I’ve been drooling over this dresser for at least two years as it sits there in a clothing and shabby chic furniture shop with little attention paid to it’s masterful execution. No one has bought it all this time and I’ve hesitated on buying it myself on two counts: 1) it’s a dresser, all by it’s lonesome (who buys a dresser with no mates), and 2) the price is higher than I want to pay.

It’s a massive Birdseye Maple dresser with incredibly precise carving, original brown marble and inlay that rivals the best of the New York greats.  I even took out the Herter book out once to see if the inlay patterns were present in the appendix reference section, but it was not.

I’ve attached some horrible camera phone images below for your perusal, and if anyone has any opinions on it’s origin, I’d love to hear it.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

james conrad January 18, 2009 at 8:10 am

MMMMM, purty. Not a clue where it was made however, looks to be very high quality, are the dovetails hand cut or machine?


RareVictorian January 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm

I’m thinking it’s indeed New York, but can’t confirm yet. It’s been at least a year since I looked at the dovetails but I seem to recall hand-done, not machine and not scallop/dowel.


texmac January 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Gorgeous. Do you think the mirror is original, too?


RareVictorian January 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I believe that it is not. No bevel and looks too clear.


misslilybart January 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

“Girlie shops”?


zeke January 18, 2009 at 7:48 pm

*who buys a dresser with no mates* Well I do John, mixing and matching Victorian bedroom furniture or any rooms furniture can make for an interesting and eclectic look. Finding walnut stuff that goes together is a different story from finding Maple which is much rarer. That piece is beautiful and i think if not New York probably Philadelphia. Pabst used a lot of maple for example. If I had the room for it and the price was not too bad I’d jump on it. Just because that particular inlay is not in the Herter book doesn’t mean its not Herter.

Problem with this piece is it offers very little storage for items found in girlie shops.


RareVictorian January 18, 2009 at 8:39 pm

girlie shops -defined- stores that sell nothing other than overly dramatized women’s clothing that are best worn to class reunions.

This particular girlie store had designer handbags whose sole purpose in life was to transport one’s BYOB wine bottle.


RareVictorian January 18, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Zeke, All of my collection is a smorgasbord, so probably an exaggeration for me to comment that I wouldn’t buy a dresser without mates. However, I buy a lot of “anchor furniture” like the main bedstead or sofa and fill in behind it with likely unmatched furniture, but it would be a first for me to start with the dresser as the foundational piece. Victorian Maple is especially tough, in my mind, to create a mishmash bedroom out of.


misslilybart January 18, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Re “girlie shops, ” thanks for the edification. It sounds horrific, even giving it the benefit of the doubt!


james conrad January 19, 2009 at 4:38 am

lol, well, at least we know what it takes to get John into the girlie shops, furniture.


RareVictorian January 19, 2009 at 8:53 am

This dresser is in one of those shops and acts as a display for purses, etc. As such, no one notices the dresser itself…

The lowest they’ll go on it, last time I asked, was $3,200.


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