Appraisal Video: (3:22)
GUEST: Well, I lived in Scotland from 1970 to about 1973...
APPRAISER: In Scotland?
GUEST: And I bought it in Edinburgh. I had some dealers that I used to go see all the time, some Polish antique dealers, who would call me when they got nice things, and I'd go and look at them.
APPRAISER: How was it upholstered then?
GUEST: Very grotesque, gold, Victorian crushed, like, velvet. It was very worn. When I brought it back to the States, I reupholstered it.
APPRAISER: What did you like about it when you bought it?
GUEST: I liked the style, and I love the legs, and I love the brass inlay. And I think it's rosewood.
APPRAISER: You're absolutely right.
GUEST: I think it's 1810 to 1830, Regency.
APPRAISER: Yes, it is Regency, but generally, this type of sofa, Barbara, is a more simple piece-- sofa. It doesn't have a lot of this inlay. Do you know where the name "Regency" came from?
GUEST: Not really.
APPRAISER: The prince-- when his father, George III, was ill, he became the regent from about 1811 to 1820 or so, and anything made in that period gets called Regency.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: With all sorts of influences-- Grecian, French, brass inlay, as you know, ebonizing-- it covers a real range, and your piece here I'd say would fall right in that period when he was the regent. This form was a really popular form, and this has one end higher than the other end, and this is also called "récamier," named after Madame Récamier, who was a French woman, a wonderful, stylish woman, who entertained people in her bedroom, and had gentlemen visitors for conversation.
GUEST (laughing): Oh.
APPRAISER: I know what you're thinking, but no, it was just conversation. And there's a famous painting by David of her reclining in a sofa that looks just like this.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
APPRAISER: With her arm up on here. If you were well enough known to visit Madame Récamier, you were a mover and a shaker. And this type of piece became called the récamier. How this typifies the Regency period is this wonderful scrolled arm with this inlaid brass. It's beautifully done, and then these Greek-inspired anthemions here, and if we continue down, we have rosettes, graduated bellflowers and then down in the leg, this Roman-Greek-inspired wonderful anthemion with scrolls, and then the turned feet, and these cast toecaps with the original casters. These are Birmingham-- probably-- made English casters, which are really big, wonderful casters. All those details add up to making it a special piece.
GUEST: Oh, that's neat.
APPRAISER: Now, on the upholstery-- you had it redone, you said?
APPRAISER: And I think this certainly looks lovely on it. What's nice is that you had a mattress here, and that's probably what was there originally, and the reason we know that-- you see this section here that's dropped-- usually that mattress came right to the top of that. Originally, this would have had more of a cake on here, with a sharp edge, like a box, and what happens is they get reupholstered a little bit incorrectly. Well, you've got a wonderful Regency, brass-inlaid rosewood 1810 to 1815 settee, which is what they would have called it. Do you remember what you paid?
GUEST: I think less than $1,000.
APPRAISER: Less than $1,000? Okay, I'd say you could put easily an insurance value on this, just as it is, of about $9,500.
GUEST: Oh, gosh-- that's great!
APPRAISER: You did okay.
GUEST: Oh, that's wonderful.
APPRAISER: Do you want to sit with me on it? Do you want to try? You get on this end-- the lady sits on that end. And then you just recline. Put your elbow right up. I'll show you-- that's it. Now you're Mme. Récamier-- that's it.
GUEST: It fits perfectly.