Aesthetic Movement Library Table, ca. 1870

Value (2006) | $6,000 Retail$8,000 Retail

GUEST:
It belonged to my grandfather. Who was from Woburn, Massachusetts. And he and his brother had a specialty food store. So my grandfather went to Florida to buy oranges, to sell in this store, and--

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
--when he came back, his brother had extended credit to all kinds of people who couldn't pay.

APPRAISER:
Oh, dear.

GUEST:
So he had to go into bankruptcy.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
And they were auctioning this table, but they were offering so little for the table. And it made him furious. He took it out of the auction--

APPRAISER:
Uh-huh.

GUEST:
--and kept this particular piece of furniture. And then it went into my mother's home, in Seattle and... she shipped it to me in Hawaii. So it's a very sturdy table; it's lived through an awful lot of stuff.

APPRAISER:
It is sturdy and it is, uh, what I would describe as an Aesthetic Movement library table. I would date the table from about 1870. And it's tough to detect where a table like this was made. I would like to think that it was made in New York. There was a cabinet firm in New York called Herter Brothers, which was really the creme de la creme when it came to this kind of furniture. They made very, very fine, exotic, designed pieces in this Aesthetic Movement. I think this is a table in the school of, or in the style of the Herter Brothers. And the movement pulls from nature for its design. And you can see on this table starting from the very bottom, it has those hooves on it. Then it moves up with floral forms all along the skirt. You can see those wonderful starburst shapes on it. That's all inlaid wood.

GUEST:
What kind of wood is this made out of?

APPRAISER:
The primary wood, the wood that we see most, is painted black-- very tough to tell what's under there. I would suspect maybe it's a maple. We see underneath the stretcher there, it is-- there's oak under there, as well, but most of the decoration on this table is veneered. So they're exotic woods. They're all sorts of satinwoods and flame mahoganies. So it's a combination of wood. The sides are my favorite, and let's look at those sides. The panel, it almost looks like a stylized wave design or, uh, bubbles or also a little flower, as well. And it is in the Japanese influence. So...

GUEST:
Oh, really!

APPRAISER:
Yes, so the Aesthetic Movement was pulling from nature but it also looked to Japan for style influence. This table was meant to be viewed in the round, in a room, in a library, where you could walk around it. You described the top as having been refinished.

GUEST:
That's right. My mother, she liked to entertain. And I guess she was paying attention to her guests and didn't watch the candles and they were not in anything. And so the... the top was all burned when I got it.

APPRAISER:
Oh, dear. Well, I think the top of this table is the weakest part of the table in terms of design. There's this bold flower in the center and then you can see these wheatgrass or maybe they are, uh, sea oats have come up, but you can barely see them. They're the same color as the background. I think probably, originally, they danced in a different color.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
But when someone sanded it,

GUEST:
So we lost...

APPRAISER:
you lost a little of the impact of this design. So, value, I would say, on a table like this, if I saw it in an antique shop, I would expect to pay probably $6,000 to $8,000 for a table like this. It's a handsome specimen.

GUEST:
Yeah. We love it, so, it's-- it's going to stay.

APPRAISER:
Great.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Marlborough, Massachusetts
Appraised value (2006)
$6,000 Retail$8,000 Retail
Event
Honolulu, HI (August 26, 2006)
Period
Aesthetic
Form
Table
Material
Wood

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