Antiques appraisals by Dr. Anthony J. Cavo
Recently, I was requested to appraise many pieces in a home that dated to 1740 in which the same family had lived for several generations. The pieces included an American Empire Neo-Classical style sofa and the other a pillar-and-scroll clock that sat on the wood mantel of the large kitchen fireplace.
Neo-classical American Empire furniture is a style derived from furnishings designed during the Napoleonic First French Empire (1804-1812). Americans became enamored of this style during the 1820s and utilized the designs in furnishings as well as architecture.
This mahogany-framed sofa encompasses many characteristics of the style including the beautifully undulating, serpentine apron decorated by acanthus leaves as well as the acanthus leaf-carved arm posts and acanthus leaf decoration on the crest rail.
The crest rail also has a palmette, which is another motif often found during this period.
I would say your sofa dates to the late 1820s/1830s. It is in need of reupholstering and as such the value would be in the $1,200 to $1,400 range.
Pillar and scroll clock
The pillar and scroll clock was made in Waterbury, Connecticut sometime during the early 1830s by Mark Leavenworth, who was a clockmaker from 1810 to 1835; he left the clock making industry to make buttons.
The clock case is in very good condition with the exception of a missing scroll on the left. It retains the original brass finials, and the mahogany veneer is completely intact.
This clock is a thirty-hour, weight-driven clock with wooden works in not-working condition; an issue that can be mitigated at a clock hospital by an experienced horologist. (I never get the chance to use that word). Clock hospitals are places where sick clocks wind up (think about it).
The bad news is that the Verre Églomisé panel, the painted glass panel inserted in the door, is not original. The glass panel is secured by wood glazing bars, whereas glass in the original state would have been secured with brick colored putty; the original putty can also range from light brown to peach or dark rust red.
There is always the possibility that the putty cracked, broke and was replaced by wood glazing bars, however, there is also an absence of crazing in the painted image, the paint in an original panel would show some degree of crazing after 188 years.
The paint in this panel is too vibrant and too heavily applied and the glass itself lacks the expected rippling in glass almost 200 years old.
The clock is a wonderful piece that could be restored to working condition. However, in this condition I would value it in the $350 to $400 range.
See how Verre Églomisé is created by contemporary artisan Yanny Petters:
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