Sunday, August 03, 2008

Antique Belter Rococo Rosewood Etagere With "Life Size" Cherub

Having never seen a real, live cherub, I can't argue it; and the cherub on this piece is substantive.

Up for auction as part of James D. Julia Auction's three day auction at the Samoset Resort (Rockland, Maine), August 26-28, 2008. From their catalog:

MUSEUM-QUALITY ROCOCO ROSEWOOD ETAGERE ATTRIBUTED TO JOHN HENRY BELTER. Circa 1860. Of monumental proportions, the finely carved scrolled crest mounted with a life size cherub holding floral garland nestled amongst scrolling leaftips and roses, mounted on a floral and ribbon-tied bracket joined to the upper concave elliptical display shelf surmounted by heavily carved acorn-and-leaftip finials, joined to the fluted cylindrical frontal columns entwined with 3-dimensional grapevines supporting a pair of doves and bird's nest containing baby birds threatened by a snake/serpent; above the concave and serpentine molded base, on suppressed guilloche-carved ball feet, the whole centered with a pair of shaped display shelves joined to the mirrored back composed of three arched mirror plates within molded surrounds headed by scrolling foliate carving and ribbon-tied floral spray. For a similar example see American Furniture of the 19th Century by Eileen and Richard Dubrow, pp. 148-149, for J.H. Belter etagere with comparable elements in the treatment of the cresting and at the base with similar cupids, birds, vinery, and flowerheads. Also having the thick laminated base known to be used by Belter (examples of labeled Belter sofas and tables shown in Dubrow's book, page 20). SIZE: 9'5-1/2" h x 66" w x 22-1/2" d. CONDITION: This unique and exquisitely carved example retains original surfaces with excellent well-figured rosewood and patina. The mirror plates are original, as are the backboards. The excellent 3-dimensional and realistic carvings untouched and undamaged. There are areas of minor loss/scratches to silver backing which are easily restoreable. 9-93240 (100,000-150,000)
You can see more photos here with lots of close-ups of the carvings.

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