Rare Victorian - New York Cabinetmakers Get Married
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New York Cabinetmakers Get Married

Meeks Brooks New York Cabinetmakers Get Married

Meeks Brooks New York Cabinetmakers Get Married

Neal Auction has another of their great sales coming up in September and I’ll try to cover more of the items as it comes nearer, but I was tipped off to an anomaly in one of their featured lots, the etagere above.

The bottom of the etagere greatly resembles the “Fountain Elms” etagere which MWPI attributes to a quality New York maker in their Masterpieces of American Furniture book on pages 21 and 81.  These particular etagere bases are often attributed to J & JW Meeks but I have not found a signed example to reference and confirm this.  Like this base here and this similar one here, the above etagere base was probably purchased as a console sans the top.

The top however, greatly resembles the signed works of another New York cabinetmaker, Thomas Brooks.  Signed/stenciled examples can easily be found on the web that share many similarities to this one, such as here, and here.  There is another “Brooks” etagere for sale here, though unsigned.

Ignoring the makers for the moment, one can look at the multitude of examples I have set forth above and see that the above piece is a marriage of two high-end etageres.  Grab a copy of the “Masterpieces” book and you’ll see what the top to this base would have originally looked like.

21ABT24259L. SL160  New York Cabinetmakers Get Married

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3 Comments
  • james conrad - August 22, 2009

    Interesting post, theres nothing wrong with married furniture if done well. As a matter of fact, it often offers a very good buy as well.

  • zeke - August 27, 2009

    I took your advice and grabbed the book and I’m so happy i did. I got a mint copy for $50 and it is worth every penny. It’s a fantastic study of rare Victorian furniture and loaded with great, well researched info. I suggest anyone here with an interest in high end 19th century American furniture get a copy before the price of it goes up too high, it’s a wonderful book with extremely high quality printing.

  • mario - September 8, 2009

    I have not examined this piece personally, but I have no reason to believe this piece is a marriage. There are a number of variations of this etagere. The one you reference at the MWPI is one such variation. It has a different superstructure. There are other examples with superstructures which differ from the MWPI etagere. Please see my posting on the Kirkwood Mansion Auction regarding a related thickly-laminated etagere with the brand of Thomas Brooks.

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