Archive for September, 2008

Sep 26 2008

Horner Or Mitchell Winged Griffin Desk?

Published by under Ebay,RJ Horner

This table being sold on September 27th by Fontaine’s is being attributed to R.J. Horner with a selling range of $6,000 to $8,000.  It is Mahogany with 4 winged griffins in the base and is heavily gadrooned.

I would float the theory that this table is not actually Horner and could instead have been made by Robert Mitchell & Co.  If you remember this confirmed Mitchell table from a few posts back, let me show you a griffin from each of these two pieces, compared:

The wings are very different but I suggest that it is merely a design variation. Overall, the rest of the body has similar proportions and carvings.

I know of someone that is trying to publish a book on Robert Mitchell and who has seen hundreds of Mitchell pieces.  I’ll float my theory their way and get the feedback posted here.

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6 responses so far



Sep 22 2008

How To Fake An R.J. Horner

Published by under Ebay

Similar to my How to Fake a Herter Brothers post on RareVictorian.com, I thought I’d seize an opportunity to point out the equivalent for faking R.J. Horner furniture.

Basically, all you need is a piece of winged griffin Oak or Mahogany furniture and a paper or celluloid tag taken off of an original Horner piece.  Apply your newly acquired tag or label and you now have a piece that potential buyers would be hard-pressed to refute unless they were very seasoned collectors.

The above tag is currently on sale on Ebay and is already bid up to $177.  I’m afraid to think that it will end up nailed to a piece of furniture that is not truly made by Horner.  So many heavily-carved items end up attributed and many times practically guaranteed to be “BY Horner”.  I can see someone who owns a heavily carved piece who has convinced themselves that they have a Horner buy this tag to add to their piece to remove any doubt for prospective buyers (and psychologically, for themselves).

All one needs to do is see several examples of similar furniture by OTHER makers to know that the world of Horner furniture is wrought with uncertainty.  Here’s a mere smattering of furniture by other makers that resemble Horner items, here, here, and here.

There is no single reference book that shows the known documented furniture made by R.J. Horner so that one can confirm whether a piece they own is by Horner.

Now you know that even a tag isn’t enough to identify Horner items – the one above could end up on your next “Horner” piece.  The good news is that the paper labels that Horner had used are harder to remove and reapply. There is also a timeframe of applicability for the different lables that Horner utilized, so one could also research the timeframes for certain tags & labels for Horner and examine the furniture for a disconnect in timeframe.

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3 responses so far

Sep 11 2008

Horner Bamboo Furniture at Grand View

Published by under RJ Horner

I’ll borrow a little background on bamboo furniture that I wrote for my Horner bio page:

Throughout the 1890s, R.J. Horner advertised imitation bamboo furniture made of Maple stained a yellowish tone. This furniture was inspired by the great success of the Japanese display at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Surviving examples suggest that this less formal furniture was used in private living areas and not the more formal public areas of the home.

The dresser to the right is coming up for sale at Grand View Antiques & Auction on the 13th.  I thought it would be interesting to mention this style of furniture since many Horner admirers may not be aware of this niche of Horner’s production.

The dresser’s bidding will start at $2,000 and expected range is $3,000 to $5,000.  More at the listing.

There is also a matching bed and lockside chest.

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One response so far

Sep 10 2008

R.J. Horner Furniture at Grand View Antiques & Auction

Published by under RJ Horner

Grand View Antiques and Auction will be having a sale on September 13th, 2008 and there are several R.J. Horner-attributed items coming up for bid.

The image to the left is the base of a table that they are attributing to Horner and what I cannot tell from the images or description is whether the leaves, which extend the table to 128″, are original and match the ends of the table.

As time passes with these antique tables, the leaves often get lost and get remade, without the side gadrooning and with mixed results on matching the original table finish and grain.

This sale also has 3 pieces of faux bamboo furniture for which Horner is about as famous for as he is for his griffin furniture.

I’m unaware of any of the pieces in this sale sporting a label to confirm their maker, but nonetheless, fans of Horner will appreciate the items regardless of the maker being Horner or not.

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4 responses so far

Sep 06 2008

R.J. Horner Catalog Online!

To celebrate the redesign and relaunch of RJHorner.com, I’m very pleased to present the full ca. 1888 R.J. Horner pamphlet, “Our American Homes and How We Furnish Them”.  I am unaware of other surviving copies, but I’m sure there are decorative arts libraries and collectors somewhere with others.  I’ve scanned it in high resolution so you can zoom in and see all the details, however, that makes the file size over 2Mb.

I highly recommend taking a look this time capsule of decorating guidance.  The drawings of the factory and warehouse are worth looking at alone.

Access is open to everyone.  Just follow the directions here and enjoy!

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One response so far