Thomas Brooks Sideboard Stencil Confirms Maker

by John Werry on December 1, 2009

I thought I’d give the Rare Victorian readers who don’t appreciate Rococo Revival a little break from the Galusha deluge and whip up a post for Renaissance Revival fans.

How often is it that you see the biggest, chunkiest Renaissance Revival pieces attributed to Thomas Brooks? Often. And it is usually based on slim evidence such as the presence of protruding decorative knobs or it’s overall resemblance to a military tank.

I’m sharing a signed (stenciled) Thomas Brooks sideboard from a recent Rare Victorian visitor so that we have more documented Thomas Brooks pieces to compare to.  note the presence of seated griffins on this particular piece.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

woodwright December 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Nice to see a documented / signed piece by Brooks. It’s pleasant, and has some nice details – but it’s not exuberant or over the top. The griffins from the front look quite ordinary – not showing a lot of musculature or details, also not much color contrast (like ebonized or gilded accents) – other than the few darkened rosettes.
It’s hard to tell from the pictures (even zoomed in) – but the drawer pulls almost look like they are turned wood rather than brass/ metal. Maybe not – but it would be unusual if they really are wood. woodwright


John Werry December 1, 2009 at 6:28 pm

I added a picture for you, Woodwright. Looks like wood to me.


Bart December 1, 2009 at 8:04 pm

I wonder if there was once a crest that is now missing?


stever December 2, 2009 at 12:53 am

good call Bart. this is a nice piece but it certainly
appears the top wouldn’t fit in an 8′ ceiling and suffered
a decapitation! i love the bottom unit but the upper section
seems rather disproportional. thanks john for a nice
piece of ren revival as i am one whom you were referring too!


woodwright December 2, 2009 at 1:51 am

It does indeed look like a wooden drawer pull John – you can see where the finish has worn. Thanks for the closeup.
Wooden pulls are much less sturdy than metal pulls and prone to damage due to their delcate size and the fact that they are handled and pulled on frequently. It is also faster and easier to put a metal pull on than to make a wooden pull, finish it and install it (probably cheaper too when you consider the time factor) – a screw in wood is also not as solid as a screw or nut in metal either. These are all reasons why you don’t see wooden pulls very often.
I agree too, it does look like it is missing it’s crest – very flat topped. It would have been interesting to see what the crest looked like. If the owner is watching – he/ she could maybe chime in on whether there are dowel holes on the top (from the missing crest) or a ghost/ silhouette of where one once existed. woodwright


John Werry December 2, 2009 at 8:52 am

Yeah, I had felt the crest was missing as well. The stepped decrease in width continues gradually from level to level until …. stop.


Paul Tucker December 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I’ve found Merklen pieces that have been “signed” by George Flint and Paine Furniture. It gets confusing to find a piece that you’re sure is by one maker but has a label on indicating someone else may be the maker. I learned that both Flint and Paine were wholesalers of others work in addition to selling their own. Do you know that Thomas Brooks didn’t sell anyone elses work?


russ February 19, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I am the owner of the thomas brooks piece on the home page. I am now taking any serious offers for this piece.


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