- Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:53
- Published on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:53
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A lady from New York inherited this loveseat many years ago. She had it reupholstered at that time, but without the tufting on the back. The frame is mahogany, and in the center of the crest is a nicely carved profile of a neo-classical make head.
This piece is a good example of the late American Empire period of furniture. It clearly anticipates the coming of the Victorian Era, but dates from 1840, the time of transition between the two styles. I recall about 10 years ago in the early days of this column we had an inquiry about a similar loveseat, which also had lost its tufting.
Often these loveseats came in pairs, and I suspect that this one did in that the miniature portrait is of a man,
leading me to think that its mate bore the impression of a woman. The loveseats served a useful purpose against piers between windows in large Greek Revival mansions, providing additional seating at balls held in the great rooms.
The carving and veneering of this piece are of excellent quality, and the overall shape and workmanship reflect a high level of skill and sophistication on the part of the maker. I encourage folks planning to reupholster, to examine the frame while it is stripped down to see if any labeling of signature can be found. Photographing the bare frame is an excellent way to document the construction and the presence or absence of any indication of the maker.
In addition, I advise clients to go to the extra expense and reupholster in a manner as close to the original design as possible. This loveseat is attractive, but would be much more appealing with the tufting being repeated.
This type of furniture has a good appearance, but today the market for such items is somewhat limited. It is worth $300. Properly recovered in a striped, neo-classical style fabric, the value would double, but the cost of reupholstering would be significant.