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.