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Renaissance Revival Rocker

QUESTION:

Renaissance Revival rocker detail.I have been looking for information about a low, curved, and upholstered rocker that I have. The back has upholstery and the front surface of the back and top surface of the seat is upholstered too, one or both with columnar thick padding.

The arms are low, too, coming from the back and returning to the seat in a curved fashion. The wood used on the arms is flat on the sides, but carved along the top edge in a similar look as the tufted upholstery: half-round rows running lengthwise, three or four abreast. A cross section of this top edge would roughly look like a lower case "m," only with more half rounds (mm).

Joints are doweled as far as I can tell. The back has a crest that is a combination of burl and grain wood, inlaid and carved. The chair is low and graceful. My mom said it came from France in the early 1800's and an antique dealer told me over 15 years ago, that in it's current shape, it would still bring 1000. (It obviously needs repair)

I cannot find any information about the style, period, or origin of this chair! I don't even know what to call it. Any leads would be so helpful!

Thanks
Samantha Zubak

_______________________________________________________________________

ANSWER:

Renaissance Revival rocker detail.What Samantha has is a Renaissance Revival rocker from about 1870-1890. During the second half of the 19th Century, manufacturers came out with a variety of pieces of furniture in different quality grades, just like today.

The wood on her chair is walnut and will refinish nicely, so I recommend she get it done. She should study the fabric on it and try to find some similar to it. There are lots of fabrics made today that reflect Victorian designs. It doesn't have to be authentic, but it will make it look better. You can also reupholster it in a solid color velvet--also very Victorian. She'll need 5-6 yards.

However, Sam's  rocker was made for mass market consumption, so it isn't as fancy as the high end ones made at that time. After it's refinished, it probably will be worth about $200-300. Refinishing Victorian pieces actually adds to their value, unlike furniture made before 1830.

This is a classic case of mistaken identity and wishful thinking on the part of Samantha's mother and a not very knowledgeable antique dealer. It's wise to know various furniture styles before you venture out into the antique marketplace to avoid being taken.

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How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

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