RJ Horner’s only known catalog/pamphlet, “Our American Homes and How To Furnish Them”, is now available for immediate purchase and download. It has been available for viewing online for a while now but it is now available for close inspection on your own home computer in Adobe Acrobat format. It can be zoomed into full screen to see the detail in the factory and retail store details. Click on the image below to learn more.
This heavily carved parlor suite is coming up for auction on Saturday April 23rd at Niwot Auction in Longmont, Colorado. Information about the sale and most of these pictures can be found at niwotauction.com then click on “Antique auction Saturday April 23”. I like the picture of the girls sitting on the sofa from the early 1900s – children of the original owners.
Currently on Ebay, this ornately carved parlor suite has been attributed to R.J. Horner, as is commonly done due to the extent of carvings and the “Renaissance Egg” in the crest. But as you can see from the ca. 1902 Robert Mitchell catalog image below, it was undoubtably made by them. A comparison of the chairs is also a positive match.
By the way, I now have two complete Robert Mitchell catalogs available for download over at my other blog for you to do your own comparisons with furniture that you run across.
This ca. 1902 Stickley-Brandt Chair is up for auction on Ebay and it’s description inspired me to write up a post about the mythical “Horner Egg” that they use for corroboration of a Horner attribution. As we can see with this well-documented chair, one cannot use the cabochon motif alone when attributing R.J. Horner pieces. It was a common motif of the Renaissance Revival, in general.
Now, I have also often seen reference to a “ribbed egg” as a basis for Horner attribution. “Ribbed”, meaning that a stripe or line runs across the breadth of the egg, usually bisecting it. We cannot use the “ribbed egg” argument, either, when attributing Horner as we can see from this carving from a 1911 labeled Oriel Cabinet, Co. (from Grand Rapids) set, below.
Now, I won’t say that Horner didn’t use this motif. I’m not remotely saying that, as I know he did. I’m just saying all “Horner eggs” should be considered carefully and non-qualified (without attributed, probably) associations should not be made without labels or without comparison to known labeled pieces. I would actually prefer it to be called the “Renaissance egg” or cabochon rather than be permanently associated with Horner. Doing so smacks of the “Belter” craze decades ago when all Rococo furniture was called Belter furniture.