The Auction Insider

Few things are as exciting as finding an antique that is not only rare, but one that also speaks so eloquently to how our ancestors lived and what they prized. We are pleased to have the opportunity to offer a splendid Renaissance Revival bedroom suite that may be one of only about five in existence. The massive presentation of the ornate bed with its graceful scroll work, dresser and night stand let us know what families of the 1870s considered elegant and investment-worthy.

This is an example of work done in a 19th century factory – but, please don’t mistake the factory-label for today’s understanding of that term. When our great-great grandparents purchased fine furniture from one of the elite factories (most often located on the East Coast) they were not receiving mass-produced, stamped-out, assembly line knock-offs! Factory work still required real craftsmen to produce the intricate designs and finishes we find in good furniture of the era. It was not a process dedicated to speed but, instead, to a growing market for beautiful furnishings from coast-to-coast America.

This chamber set is top-of-the line and one of the most expensive pieces of furniture that could be purchased in the 1870s. Not only did it require many hours of labor and craftsman expertise, imagine the natural materials required – massive slabs of perfect walnut to be turned on a lathe, planed and perfected like a work of art.

Many large items of furniture were shipped by rail from, say, New York to San Francisco and assembled in fancy showrooms where the post-Gold Rush affluent came to shop. This lovely set is one of three I know to be in California and comes from an historic home on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Also taking us back to the comforts of a 19th century home is a graceful “Recamier” and two beautiful armchairs attributed to John Henry Belter, a much-collected furniture maker from 1850 to 1865. His style is associated with the Rococo Revival and his niche was luxury furniture.

We are gratified to be invited to handle the sale of rare Early California symbols of affluence and ultimate home comfort. Please enjoy watching the bidding when our Fall 2014, online iGavel launches Oct. 18th. Of course, we’ll have many other fine and fun items to enjoy – artworks, an iconic 1964 ½ Mustang convertible, jewelry and so much more!