10 Piece Belter Suite

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Detailed Description intake notes
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Title

10 Piece Belter Suite

Description

Setee, Rosewood, Rococo Revival style, with floral carved cresting above Rosewood frame, with laminated, curving wooden back. John Henry Belter, cabinet-maker, New York, ca. 1950. In the pattern "Rosalie (Without Grapes)." Excellent, restored condition with good, usable, blue brocade upholstery.
Gentleman's chair, to match above exactly, button-tufted upholstery on back.
Pair of Side Chairs, to match above exactly, button-tufted rear upholstery.
Set of six Side Chairs, exact design as above, recently restored and recovered to be used en suite with above.
[NOTE] John Henry Belter stands out among the mid-nineteenth century cabinet-makers, just as Duncan Phyffe does for the early years of the century. His workmanship and his materials were of best quality. The style in which he worked, known as "Rococo Revival," found its origin in the Louis XV revival in France, and represents for American Furniture the highest expression of the French taste of the period. The large scale and richly carved, ornate decoration was especially suited to the "cavernous splendor" of the antebellum mansions, and was especially desired not only in stylish New York, but in the homes of wealthy southerners of the period.
Belter had recognizable styles and techniques and patented many of this construction methods and processes. In particular he was known for the process of lamination, in which many layers of wood were steamed and then glued together in molds or "cawls." Thin layers of wood, generally six to eight, were laid out in layers with the grain at a right angle to the alternating layers, his use of casters on all four legs and his style of carving set his furniture apart from that of imitators. Belters layers for lamination were thinner and therefore more numerous in making a given thickness, his carving of flowers was fuller and more naturalistic, and his laminated chair backs cover the rear seat rails.
Always desirable and more valued than other furniture of the period, Belter furniture became markedly sought after then 1980 exhibit of the large Manney collection of the Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, Massachusetts, This interest led to the research producing the landmark book The Furniture of John Henry Belter and The Rococo Revival. Their research also gave names to the various patterns which had not been previously captioned. The furniture in this collection, "Rosalie," is named for the Natchez, Mississippi mansion for which a collection was purchased in the 1850s. The exhibit and resultant interest also marks the beginning of the great rise in prices and values for Belter furniture.
Photographed by David Hammond

Creator

Belter, John Henry

Source

Gift of Cindy and Ron Evans.

Publisher

Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation

Date

1850

Rights

All items and images © their respective copyright holders. Please contact Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation for permission regarding reproduction and use.

Format

Settee: 40 3/4 in. x 75 in. x 33 in.
Gentlemen's Chair: 42 1/2 in. x 23 1/2 in. x 22 in.
Side Chair: 37 1/4 in. x 18 1/2 in. 17 1/2 in.

Type

Rosewood
Upholstery

Identifier

1998.24.01

Coverage

Athens (Ga.)
Clarke County (Ga.)

Spatial Coverage

H106
Ware Double Parlor South

Date of Acquisition

1998-12-01

Condition

All pieces have been reupholstered with a period style damask upholstery of moss green and gold color with centered medallions. Wood surfaces were "renewed" - not refinished. Several leaf carvings on chair backs were restored and all rollers restored under all chairs legs.
While recovering one side chair, a German print New York newspaper was discovered and photographed. This newspaper was underneath the upholstery, glued to the laminated interior back of the chair, in the documented style of Belter, who was known to employ German workmen and subscribe to this newspaper.

Provenance

Unknown

Citation

Belter, John Henry, “10 Piece Belter Suite,” Ware-Lyndon House Collection, accessed June 29, 2022, https://warelyndonhouse.omeka.net/items/show/8.

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