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A Renaissance Revival Gilt-Metal, Ebonized and Inlaid Rosewood Set of Four Upholstered Chairs, Pottier and Stymus (1859-1910), New York, circa 1870. Provenance: Stingray Hornsby, Watertown, CT

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Announcement!  This item will be available at auction from Neal Auction Company on January 26th, 2019.  Preview exhibition is currently underway.  Click here to see our listings at

During the second and third quarters of the 19th century New York City emerged as the center for the production of the finest furniture for interior woodwork and decoration internationally.  Their commissions for the production of the finest came from wealthy financiers, railroad magnates, and industrialists.  Full service firms depended on the skills of highly trained immigrant craftsmen.    

August Pottier was a French emigree who partnered with William B. Stymus in 1859.  They joined the ranks of the great New York City cabinetshops, starting at the turn of the 19th century with, most notably, Duncan Phyfe, Michael Allison, and later Joseph Meeks, Alexander Roux, then Ernest Hagen and Herter Brothers.   These firms not only fashioned the great furniture for the J.P. Morgan’s and the new aristocracy but also for interiors of their New York townhouses, and also nationally for the great Newport mansions, etc.  The Ulysses S. Grant White House and Thomas Edison’s Glenmont Estate in New Jersey both contained Pottier & Stymus wares. (See Herron, Kristen S. “The Modern Gothic Furniture of Pottier and Stymus”, Antiques Magazine, May 1999, pps 762-769) 

Post Civil War, Pottier and Stymus worked in the Neo Grec, Renaissance Revival, and Egyptian Revival styles.  (Another example of their Egyptian style work sold at Christie’s Important American Furniture, Silver, Outsider and Folk Art, Sept. 20, 2016, New York, lot 904.)   The suite we offer is in the Renaissance Revival style, which is embellished with beautifully cast cherubs which we have regilt to bring out their original beauty.  (See detailed images.)  The ebonization is original, and in beautiful condition.   The recognized firm of Stingray Hornsby had these reupholstered, and they are very comfortable with their spring cushions. 

This is a beautiful suite of a relatively small scale and--along with several distinguished pieces by Herter Brothers--came out of a very fine collection owned by Richard J. Schwartz, a passionate collector of American Art as well as a longstanding public advocate for arts and education in New York.  These appeal to a connoisseur of beautifully crafted seating furniture of historical importance typifying the period.

Arm Chairs:
Height: 38 in.  Width: 31 1/2 in.  Depth: 23 1/2 in.
Seat Height: 15 in.

Side Chairs:
Height: 36 in.  Width: 22 1/2 in.  Depth: 19 in.
Seat Height: 15 in.

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