Featured American Empire? Decade?

Discussion in 'Furniture' started by SeaGoat, Dec 1, 2021.

  1. SeaGoat

    SeaGoat Well-Known Member

    It was called 1880s American Empire.

    What do yall think?


    Nails in back

    Joinery at the top corner, under the top piece

    Joinery front center, under top

    Saw marks under top

    Firemandk, Msalicia, Boland and 5 others like this.
  2. laura9797

    laura9797 Well-Known Member

    True American Empire furniture began in 1840's. Yours definitely looks older then 1880s. I would look at American Classical chest which is what I believe yours is. A really pretty piece.
  3. SeaGoat

    SeaGoat Well-Known Member

    It is a pretty piece and I almost swapped out my husband's current dresser for it, but the one he has, has a little more of a primitive "masculine" look, not that this piece doesn't have a masculine look, I think it does, but it does not match his personality as well as the other dresser..

    So, this one will be sold. I just want to date it correctly, not that it will change the price in this market, but I like to know what I'm selling (and be able to stand behind it), and I like the buyer to take pride and security in knowing what they are getting.

    With this piece, the feet is what is throwing me, we don't see much of this style in my area..
    Tons of Duncan Phyfe (most of it 1940s), lots of Pillar and Scroll, a fair amount of ball and claw, and the dreaded Queen Anne is everywhere... (sorry if you like Queen Anne, she is not my favorite :oops:)

    The saw marks are not pit-sawn and not circular sawn, they look sash/band sawn, which narrows down the dates to the very early 1800s - 1860s/1880s (depending on who you ask).

    The nails have rectangular heads and the wood shows slight black oxidizing, but still inconclusive, for me.

    I keep wanting to identify this as Sheraton, but I just don't think it truely matches, like the legs/feet are too heavy.
    The curved top drawers make me want to say empire, as well as the curved leg(?), but then it blocks off at the upper shoulder area and at the bottom, before the feet.
    ..its like it's confused, maybe an "in-between" piece? :bored:

    Something says 1830s to me, but again, that sounds too early, and know nothing :bookworm:
  4. laura9797

    laura9797 Well-Known Member

    I would say 1830's as well - possibly transitional judging from the rounded drawers and turned feet.
  5. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    I'd say more like circa 1850, late classical.
    James Conrad and pearlsnblume like this.
  6. laura9797

    laura9797 Well-Known Member

    I thought Classical period ended 1840's?
  7. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Yep is, late Classical with typical mid-19th-century frame & panel construction, machine built excepting the drawer boxes.
    American Empire is a whole other thing, its very rare, hand made & early 19th century
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
  8. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    No, late Classical started in the 1840s and continued until 1900 or so.
    laura9797 likes this.
  9. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    verybrad, BettyRubble and laura9797 like this.
  10. SeaGoat

    SeaGoat Well-Known Member

    I've always been confused about everyone lumping empire together..
    I'll read it was hugely ornate, but then you look up empire furniture and there sits Pillar and Scroll..
    In my mind French empire = ornate, American Empire = plain and simple
    laura9797, Msalicia and James Conrad like this.
  11. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Indeed, American Empire is very rare and very expensive, then & now. Completely built by hand with hand carving, often gilded as well & fashioned from the Napoleon era. 1790- 1820 or so, only the wealthy could afford it which is why it is so rare here in America.
    Duncan Phyfe & Paris trained Charles-Honore Lannuier were 2 notable cabinetmakers in NYC who built this kind of furniture for the wealthy, each piece is unique.

    Late Classical has the same lines/form but no Empire decorations/carving/gilding, it was factory built and very popular in America. Literally millions of pieces of this style are still around. It's a very good buy these days.
    Late Classical is the "empire" of the American middle class, very similar form but very different as well.

    American Empire Pier Table, C. 1815 Charles-Honoré Lannuier at the MET
    At the MET, short video of this man & his pier table below

    Charles-Honoré Lannuier.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
    Ghopper1924 likes this.
  12. Msalicia

    Msalicia Well-Known Member

    Ok, I have the same cabinet but it has two opening doors. 2 deep shelves inside. We have discussed this b4 when I was an old newbie. Mine has one top drawer and a backsplash with sides. It does NOT have hairy feet. It’s NOT Duncan guilt or brass. It’s not Federal or Sheraton. Call it what you want, debate it, we didn’t kill a king the 16th, it’s dark, it’s beautiful and love it as I do.
    laura9797 likes this.
  13. Msalicia

    Msalicia Well-Known Member

    I’m stuck at home for 10 days, no thanksgiving, a tornado the weekend b4 with a mess to clean up. No cable and now we both have Covid! Go yonder all and buy the antiques that make you happy!
    Ghopper1924 and James Conrad like this.
  14. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    DANG! Better days are coming! Hopefully! :)
    Ghopper1924 likes this.
  15. Msalicia

    Msalicia Well-Known Member

    Thanks, I glossed over the real deal tho. Drive thru the tornado with 1” hail balls with a bone chilling warning out of the blue on his cell, lost the goose bumps then it blasts on mine warning 30 miles away and within seconds it’s black. Pouring in buckets, driving 30 mph then 0. We make it home in 10 and no street to see, no way in, light pole flat in lawn! Trees so old and twisted. Hollow rotten hearts! So sad for the trees. I’ve been OAO since! Never had a tornado! Or THE COVID! Could be worse I guess!
    laura9797 and Ghopper1924 like this.
  16. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Yes, I hear you! Pillar & Scroll aptly describes Late Classical. I am not sure how this "empire" thing got started for late classical, perhaps sellers were trying to "juice" their sales descriptions (related, close enough!) or maybe it was just an honest mistake.
    Collectors of Empire know the difference, that's for sure.
    I notice most of the major auction houses in the USA have changed over the past few years to the generic "Classical" in their descriptions of late Classical. Perhaps lawyers had something to do with that. :)
    Ghopper1924 and SeaGoat like this.
  17. BettyRubble

    BettyRubble Member

  18. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    ya, too bad he's not around anymore......he was a wealth of knowledge...
  19. BettyRubble

    BettyRubble Member

    So very sorry to read this.
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