Jun 29 2010

There Is No “Horner Egg”

Published by at 11:31 am under RJ Horner

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.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “There Is No “Horner Egg””

  1. Brad Charleson 29 Jun 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Having worked on and bought and sold thousands of pieces since I started business in 1976 I hope to speak with some authority.
    The use of an egg as an attribution does fall very short. An egg should be just one in a list of many that would lead one to believe something is or isn’t made by who ever. But the use of the egg in a special way (not like the one shone above) but with thin raised parallel lines is what I refer to as ribbed. More important is the overall style and construction of the piece.
    I appreciate the opportunity to discuss attributions and other related topics in your forum.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Kate Joneson 02 Sep 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I recently inherited a partner’s desk with winged griffin legs. I’m trying to find out what furniture manufacturer made it. I haven’t found any mark for RJ Horner on it, but I did find the exact same table at the site below, attributed to RJ Horner. https://www.solvangantiques.com/store/products-page/furniture/desks-and-writing-desks/carved-mahogany-partners-desk/

    I tried downloading the Horner catalog, but the link was not active.

    Any information would be appreciated.

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