Rare Victorian - Wareroom Pieces of Prudent Mallard Sell at New Orleans Auction Galleries

Wareroom Pieces of Prudent Mallard Sell at New Orleans Auction Galleries

Prudent Mallard Half Tester Wareroom Pieces of Prudent Mallard Sell at New Orleans Auction Galleries

NEW ORLEANS – October 10 and 11 found New Orleans Auction Galleries, Inc. in full fall swing offering more than 1,200 important lots including some fabulous Victorian items. Of most interest was an elegant mid-19th century American Rococo Revival rosewood half-tester bed attributed to the New Orleans warerooms of Prudent Mallard.

Prudent Mallard Half Tester Wareroom Pieces of Prudent Mallard Sell at New Orleans Auction Galleries

What grabbed many a collector’s eye was the fact it appeared to be related to a similar bed at Lansdowne, Natchez, Mississippi; a bed considered the icon of New Orleans half-tester beds. According to New Orleans Auction Galleries both the example offered by NOAG and the Lansdowne bed share “a similar tester, head posts and headboard with floral basket crest. The crest carving on the present bed is considerably larger and more fully developed than the Lansdowne bed. This bed also employs a scarcer, sophisticated wrap footboard. The wrap-around footboard reflects the emerging national stylistic trends, yet ingeniously retains the telescoping mosquito netting posts employed on the more traditional footposts.”

The bed sold at this New Orleans Auctions Galleries event had a tester with an arched serpentine front and serpentine side, and its carved crest depicted a floral basket which was flanked by pierced scroll and foliate carving. The tester was supported by cluster-columned head posts with concave panels between the rounded columns. Its headboard was a single shaped panel sporting a similar floral and urn-carved crest. The rails had pierced brackets and applied carving depicting a cabochon, while the wrap footboard sported fluted vasiform posts with telescoping poles to support a mosquito net. If this wasn’t enough, the corners were carved with a crisp ribbon and floral design.

Measuring a massive 133¼” high, 94” long and 75½” wide, this impressive piece of furniture sold for $45,600. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.

Another, less elaborate tester bed sold this day. An American Rococo Revival mahogany tester bed from the third quarter of the 19th century, also attributed to the New Orleans warerooms of Prudent Mallard made $13,200. With this bed, the tester frame had projecting rounded corners with stepped moldings over beading which was supported by turned posts with a paneled headboard. The headboard crest consisted of a carved shell and cabochon cartouche over a floral garland which was then flanked by scroll molding. The rails of the bed had foliate-carved brackets. Wearing fine figured crotch mahogany veneers throughout, the bed measured 110½” high, and was 93½” long and 73¾” wide.

Fine Victorian carved furniture seemed to be the items of choice at this New Orleans Auction Galleries sale. An American Rococo Revival rosewood center table attributed to Alexander Roux, New York realized a solid $16,800. Having a tortoise-form top with a gadrooned edge, the top wore a highly carved conforming apron decorated with flowers, ribbons, foliage and scrolls. The base consisted of foliate-carved and beaded cabriole legs which were joined by serpentine stretchers supporting a large foliate and shell-carved cartouche. The table measured 30” high, 57½” wide and 37” deep.

Rococo Serpentine Turtle Table Rosewood Wareroom Pieces of Prudent Mallard Sell at New Orleans Auction Galleries

Another American Rococo Revival rosewood table, this one having an inset marble top of tortoise form in a gadrooned frame over a conforming scalloped apron  with vertically grained figured rosewood veneer centered by a carved cabochon over a foliate and floral swag made $8,400. Adding to the tables appeal, each leg in the form of a C-scroll was joined to a cabriole leg with foliate and floral carving. The serpentine stretcher supported a foliate-carved finial with a delicate carved tip. The table was 32½” high, 58″ wide and 42” deep.

Two armoires sold well at this October event. An elegant American Rococo Revival rosewood armoire again attributed to Prudent Mallard came in at $13,200. It is interesting to note that this armoire has the same floral-basket crest design exhibited on the afore-mentioned half-tester bed in this sale, and the similar half-tester bed at Lansdowne, Natchez, Mississippi.

Having a bonnet top with a floral urn-carved crest flanked by open carving, the piece’s molded cornice was trimmed with a beaded molding with similar molding, but on a smaller scale decorating the frieze and framing of the single mirrored door. Having canted corners with foliate-carved brackets, the lower section also sported a single drawer. This armoire stood 115” high, was 56½” wide and 25” deep.

Another American Rococo Revival rosewood armoire, mid-19th century, attributed to Prudent Mallard sold sans the ornate crest. This example which made $10,200 sported a bonnet top with a molded cornice trimmed with beaded molding while the frieze was adorned with ribbon moldings. Larger-scaled ribbon molding framed the single mirrored door and it too had canted corners with foliate and floral-carved brackets with the lower section having a single full-width drawer over ribbon moldings. Standing 104¼” high, 57½” wide and 25” deep, it is interesting to note the case does not appear to ever have been fitted for a crest. However, it seems Mallard armoires could be fitted with a crest or were sold without crests depending on the desire of the client.

Attributed to J. and J.W. Meeks, New York, an American Rococo Revival laminated rosewood sofa also sold this day bringing $7,800. The laminated back was surmounted by a deeply carved floral crest flanked by open foliate and scroll carvings and a gadrooned top rail. The back was joined to closed arms and it sported a serpentine seat rail which was raised on cabriole legs. The sofa was 76” high, 52” wide and 26” deep.


Some restoration work had been done to this sofa including the upholstery appearing to have been removed to tighten and/or repair the frame. The crest tip has been re-glued, a brace has been added on the rear of the crest, a piece of carving at the base of one leg was replaced and it appears the finish was refreshed

New Orleans Auction Galleries, Inc.

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  • Mario - October 27, 2009

    Although there are some similarities between this bed and the Landsdowne Bed (known as the Victoria, according to Cecilia Jackson Otto), the cresting and the footboard on this bed are different.
    Beds similar to the Landsdowne Bed (Victoria) in rosewood with pierced-carved crests, carved footboards, clustered columns on the four posts, telescoping posts, and mosquito netting assembly would normally bring double what this bed brought.
    In addition, the better rosewood armoires in the same style with pierced carved crests attributed to Mallard were bringing in excess of 20K.
    Similarly rosewood Roux-attributed tables of this caliber were bringing in excess of 25K.
    A perusal of the prices for Rococo Revival furniture at Neal Auction’s September 2009 sale indicates that a number of items were bought-in and overall, the prices were down across the board.
    In my opinion the results for these two New Orleans auctions shows a general malaise in the Rococo Revival Market at this time, with prices down significantly from just two-years ago.

  • james conrad - October 28, 2009

    “In my opinion the results for these two New Orleans auctions shows a general malaise in the Rococo Revival Market at this time, with prices down significantly from just two-years ago.”

    Indeed, and i have a hunch its not just that market thats down but across the entire antique furniture market as well. There was a Shaker auction several weeks ago at Willis Henry and i’ll be very interested to see what the prices were there as i think if Shaker prices are down, just about everything else has as well.

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