Jun 29 2010

There Is No “Horner Egg”

Published by 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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