Fine Quality Renaissance Revival Inlaid and Carved 3- piece Walnut and Burl Bedroom Suite. A very rare early Renaissance Revival example of the brief but important collaborative work by Gustave Herter and August Pottier during their partnership in New York, most likely executed in their building at 59 Beekman Street.
This substantial suite includes the original full size bed, with inlaid panels and inlaid marquetry borders at both the head and footboard. The headboard has an elaborate cresting piece with carved winged cherub, with ebonized details and inset burl panels. The footboard has substantial burl columns flanking inset burl panels and intricate center inlaid panels. The mirrored dresser with peach marble top en suite, with marquetry details and winged cherub at the cresting piece. The rare 7-drawer tall gentleman's dresser has inset burl panels and original carved wood pulls.
The Gustave Herter and August Pottier collaboration coincided with the inception of the Renaissance Revival style, for although Rococo Revival was at the height of its popularity during this time, the visionary German and French cabinet makers showed a predilection for the inset marquetry panels, gilded incising, and rich veneers, thus ushering in American Renaissance Revival style. This set would have been regarded as less than exuberant when compared to the pieces made before the American Civil War.
PROVENANCE: Antiquarian Traders purchased this set from a prominent Southern gentleman and his wife, who remarkably kept this treasured suite in her family for at least six generations. Martha Wright Bird Riley, owned this set for the past nine years. She inherited it from her father’s mother, Dorothy Elizabeth Spencer Bird, at her death in 2005. Dorothy inherited it as a young woman, used it her entire married life, and loved it for nearly a century (she died at 95 years). It was in her bedroom while living with her parents in Durham, N.C. about 1920.
Richard Harvey Wright purchased the furniture set for his great grandmother in NYC around 1855 from the firm Herter, Pottier, and Co., a firm of two talented young men Gustave Herter and August Pottier, who briefly joined forces before becoming each other biggest competitors. He owned Wright’s Automatic and was the inventor of the first automatic cigarette vending machine. He donated his estate “Bonnie Blue” to Duke University in Durham, N.C.
Her great-grandmother’s parents were Rev. James Riley Ball and Lucy Glover Wright Ball. Martha’s great grandfather, William Thomas Spencer Jr. and great grandmother Lucy Margaret Ball Spencer were founders of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, headquartered in Durham, N.C. After their deaths, they passed this rare bedroom suite to their daughter Dorothy.
Martha's grandmother Dorothy met and married James Lewis Bird in 1933. Among other talents they were both exceptional ballroom dancers. Dorothy and James were successful merchants, and owned the “Bird’s Supply Store” located in Florence, S.C. for over forty years. James Bird also had the distinction of being the first Mercury Outboard Motor dealer in South Carolina.
Bed 98” H x 68” W x 98” D Dresser with Mirror 105” H x 56” W x 24” D Tall dresser 60.5” H x 48” W x 24” D
American Victorian Furniture, Architectural, Art Deco & Nouveau, Chandeliers, Stained Glass
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