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Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

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Antiques Considered - July 23, 2014

A lady in the Northern Neck inherited this Victorian sofa from her brother, who was a prominent decorator and antiques dealer.  It was in what possibly was the original horsehair upholstery, and she has had it recovered in the present floral pattern, fortunately retaining the original tufting pattern in the back.  The upholsterer referred to the sofa as being English Victorian.


In moving, the sofa lost two of its brass casters, and she has removed the other two in order for it to be level.  She has asked how to replace the casters.

This sofa dates from the middle of the nineteenth century, having been made between 1840 and 1860.  It does not appear to be an English piece, but rather is typical of American furniture of the period.  The shape of the legs and the two surviving casters that she removed indicate a mid-Atlantic place of manufacture.  The sofa began its life as part of a parlor suite of five or seven pieces.

Replacement casters are not difficult to obtain.  I suggest sending the pictures of the two survivors to Horton Brass or Ball and Ball with the measurements.  Either company should be able to fill an order for four casters, and possibly might have exact copies, meaning that only two would need to be ordered.

Victorian furniture, as with many other genres of antiques, is in a slump at the present time.  This piece, despite its excellent design and fine upholstery, only would bring a few hundred dollars at auction.  Quite simply, as I have noted on other occasions, it would not be comfortable for watching the Super Bowl.  Traditional Victorian parlor pieces do not move well on the market, and sell principally as accent pieces.  They sold more successfully 50 years ago than they do today.

Henry Lane Hull and his wife Lisa operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie duPont Hwy. in Wicomico Church, VA.  Write to him at P. O. Box 35, Wicomico Church, VA 22579 or e-mail questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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