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.
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.