Rare Victorian - Great Story Behind Amazing 900 Pound European Sideboard

Great Story Behind Amazing 900 Pound European Sideboard

European Sideboard Great Story Behind Amazing 900 Pound European Sideboard

European Sideboard 4 1024x769 Great Story Behind Amazing 900 Pound European SideboardA recent blog visitor, Melody, shared some photos with me of her family’s monumental sideboard.  If anyone has any information on whether they could confirm the origin of Capri and the type of wood, she would be grateful.  I thought that you would enjoy the story that she shared with me:

We have a bill of lading from 1897 where it landed in NYC. The background is intriguing: a wealthy coal baron from Charleston, WV and his wife went on a cruise in the Mediterranean. They stopped at Capri; saw the piece in a monastery or some other establishment, a church maybe, run by Monks who according to the story, had carved the piece. The husband had to have it, bought it and had it shipped to NYC; then to his home in Charleston. He caught his wife w/another man; killed the man; hired an attorney in Charleston/Nitro area to represent him; the trial was costly, so he pledged the credenza as payment for legal fees. My great uncle’s father was friends w/the attorney; when he was moving, my great uncle bought the piece for use in the hotel in Nitro, WV. When that hotel was to be torn down, my uncle offered the piece for sale; my grandmother bought it, and we’ve had it ever since. We think the wood is lemonwood w/handcarvings of cherubs. There are three secret compartments: one in the angel’s ear to open a drawer; two on either end. There may be mahogany on the piece as some of the wood has a distinct black cherry look. It’s in mint condition and weighs more than 900 pounds.  The story behind it is that there were only five made

More photos follow (click to enlarge to full size).

European Sideboard 1024x769 Great Story Behind Amazing 900 Pound European SideboardEuropean-Sideboard-2


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  • John Hutchinson - September 11, 2009

    Awesome story, and even more awesome piece!
    I have been to Capri, and I don’t think there is a church big enough on that island for such a piece! Needless to say, from the look of the wood, and color, in the photo my gut reaction is ‘Noce,’ Italian Walnut, which tends to have a warm orange, brown color over the years.
    The carvings are fantastic, but they are not very eccliasiastical (sp.). There may be fruit wood highlights or details; but just like the island, there is no lemon tree that big! More often than not, Italians use Pear and Olive wood for inlay, accents, etc. et al. Lemon wood is very stringy, nice technical term there, and if you have ever seen lemon trees, even the big ones, they don’t grow very straight.
    Thanks for sharing.
    John, RVR

  • English Classics - September 15, 2009

    The wood looks like walnut to me–judging by the grain–although the focus and motion blur make it difficult to be sure. Did Melody share with you the function of the small barrel tucked under the woman’s hair (who, by the way, appears to have quite a runny nose)?

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