George Henkels Bedroom Suite Analysis
This bed from the Neal Auction February 2008 sale is part of a 3-piece bedroom suite that I recently ran into in the hands of a dealer. I believe they are one and the same set and probably one and the same as the one “Hardwood” pointed out was in a December 2008 Alderfer sale.
A tip-off from Zeke reminded me that George Henkels has a documented design from Sloan’s 1861, “Homestead Architecture” that bears some resemblance to this set. The bed above and the Sloan set are absolutely not the same design, however it is possible that Henkels had other designs in his offerings, so I wanted to compare construction details to see if the above set was also made by Henkels.
First off, they are both Birdseye Maple with ebonized Rosewood trim. I wonder how common that combination was … or not. I’m told that the crest on the bed is faux Rosewood grained since “you couldn’t find Rosewood that thick” at the time.
To compare the two, I have isolated the corner of the footboard:
The bed on the right is a photo of the Asa Packer mansion instance of the Sloan book’s Henkels set. The one on the left is a black and white version of the bed at the top. Notice the similarities in the top scroll, the boxed corner, and the rounded feet (there’s probably a technical term for that style of foot). The scrolls on the left bed have more depth and are carved more precisely than the flat scrolls on the right. The foot is a separate piece and applied on the left while it is not so on the right. However, the three themes are similar and present together on both beds.
I actually think the bed at the top and left are better designed & constructed than the known Henkels set. There isn’t enough “proof” to say the bedroom suite that I came across is made by Henkels, but I think there is room for more research in that direction. I’d love to see and touch the Packer Mansion suite in person to compare more of the construction.