Rare Victorian - Creepy Zoomorphic Furniture Carvings

Creepy Zoomorphic Furniture Carvings

Hooved Foot Furniture Creepy Zoomorphic Furniture Carvings

Hooved Foot Furniture1 Creepy Zoomorphic Furniture Carvings

I’m a big fan of the incorporation of animal imagery into furniture made in the 19th century. When done well, it can elevate the level of style for a piece above those without these elements.  It also requires a good bit of carving skills and finesse to pull it off.  I have an ebonized pedestal with realistic paw feet that I never tire of admiring and I lust after Quervelle pieces, partially due to his well-executed signature feet.

However, every once in a while I run across a piece where the zoomorphic elements creep me out and the pedestal above is one of those examples.  It is well-carved and the realism is what I think gives me the heebie-jeebies (technical decorative arts term).  I really don’t want to see too much bone and ligament detail, thank you.

The full pedestal is seen below and also incorporates additional animal imagery in the form of three eagle heads on the base.

Gustave Herter Attributed Pedestal Creepy Zoomorphic Furniture Carvings

The seller is attributing the piece to Gustave Herter, probably largely based on the incorporation of these two elements.  The bidding does not have it up to Gustave Herter levels, so I don’t feel others are agreeing on the cabinetmaker attribution, however, it is a high quality piece and deserves a look.  More at the listing.

When looking at the eagle heads, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Gonzo of the Muppet Show due to the carved beaks on the table being a little bit beyond what the proportion should be.


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  • R. Joseph Wiessinger - October 31, 2009

    I have a very similar stand in Rosewood only mine has dogs heads at the top of the legs and is carved and gilded in a much more artistic and elegant way than the aforementioned stand. Wish I had a way to send a picture to you so you could compare the two for details, etc.

  • English Classics - November 3, 2009

    I think what makes it creepy is that it looks like it’s about to get up and saunter off. Remember the Beetlejuice movie? If it ever goes missing and someone says, “Well it didn’t just get up and walk away,” they might be mistaken.

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