J.W. Davis, Cabinetmaker Extraordinnaire
JohnM posted some photographs in the forum of a 12′ tall Renaissance Revival bedroom suite that must be seen to be believed. It lives out it’s existence in the Brennan House (built 1868), originally the home of a wealthy tobacco trader in Louisville, KY. It was sold to Thomas Brennan in 1884 who raised his nine children in the house. Brennan family members resided in the home as late as 1969.
What is amazing about the home is that the original family antiques, decor and belongings remain in the house. The house is frozen in time in the late 1800s, furnished entirely with items owned by the Brennans.
It is unclear when the bedroom suite arrived in the home, but a document found in a drawer states that it won the first prize at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition. It is said to have been made by J.W. Davis of Louisville and I assume that this name accompanied the Exposition information on the found document. I’d love to see a scan of the document itself.
Barring the presence of the found documentation, I’m sure many who would have the occasion to assign a maker’s name to this set would have been tempted to put a New York/Thomas Brooks attribution to it. The surviving document shows us how little we know of these makers.
It is unclear to me if J.W. Davis was a reseller as well as a manufacturer or if he exclusively sold his own wares. I found little documentation on this maker to learn more about the nature of his business other than the construction of a factory in the late 1870s. It is entirely possible that this set was bought wholesale from another maker and resold. We’ll likely never know.
Stop by and see the rest of the photos of the set in the forum and thanks to John for sharing them.
Can you imagine what that bed must weigh?