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A Carved Mahogany Egyptian Revival Armchair, New York, c.1860, Herter Brothers

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According to Robert Bishop in The American Chair, (p.387), the Egyptian revival movement received its impetus in America from "Cleopatra's Needle" which was a sculptured obelisk installed in New York's Central Park. Internationally, there was a great interest in the Middle East (Egypt) at the latter part of the 19th century with the opening of the Suez Canal, and many forms of art took eastern inspiration, i.e. Verdi's opera, Aida. Though this was a relatively short-lived style, forms of furniture expressing Eastern themes were produced not only by Herter Bros. but by Pottier & Stymus and Roux. This chair, we feel, comes closest to the work of the Herter Brothers. For example, see below for the armchair illustrated in Herter Brothers: Furniture for a Gilded Age. Note the very large full sculptural carving as well as the over upholstered front seat rail with side rails exposed. Another example with Egyptian heads is illustrated in Nineteenth Century Furniture: Innovation, Revival and Reform, (see below). However, the form and construction of our chair follows closer to the Herter Brothers example.

This chair is superbly crafted and carved by the hand of a master. Aside from the superb Pharaoh carving, note the beautifully sculpted feet and the side seat rails, which are carved and bowed out at the center, giving a very commodious and gracious feeling. Although there is a lot going on, this is not an especially large chair, and certainly is a wonderful library chair with character. This is not a refinished piece; it retains its original wood surface and brass mounts throughout. It is one of the finest of its type.

Height: 38 in. Seat Height: 15 in. Width: 28 1/2 in. Depth: 24 in.
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