These New York–made chairs are both indebted to the French Rococo style of the mid-eighteenth century, but one is traditionally made and the other incorporates inventive production processes. John Belter’s patented laminated, bent-plywood chair departs further from the eighteenth-century model than the hand-carved Bembé & Kimbel one, suggesting that new production techniques inspired Belter to greater originality and freedom in design. Belter’s chairs became highly fashionable and were made and purchased in great numbers. It seems that by the 1850s consumers were more ready to embrace innovation—particularly in the service of conservative revivalism—than they had been in the early nineteenth century.
Rosewood, modern upholstery
35 15/16 x 19 1/8 x 21 7/8 in. (91.3 x 48.6 x 55.6 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Alfred T. and Caroline S. Zoebisch Fund
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Attributed to Bembe & Kimble. Side Chair, ca. 1855. Rosewood, modern upholstery, 35 15/16 x 19 1/8 x 21 7/8 in. (91.3 x 48.6 x 55.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Alfred T. and Caroline S. Zoebisch Fund, 1992.42. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1992.42_front_PS2.jpg)
front, 1992.42_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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Side Chair, rosewood, modern upholstery. Trapezoidal seat with outward curved sides and front, raised on cabriole legs with elaborately carved scroll and leaf motif with centered cartouche and rose at top of each leg. Balloon shaped back with elaborate asymmetrical pierced scrollwork to crest and back of both stiles. Asymmetrical cross support to back pierced, with floral carvings at either side at join to back stiles. Rear legs splayed with square profile, undecorated. Back of chair undecorated. Deep tufted seat with modern gold and dark red stripe floral damask.
CONDITION - Overall very good condition. Structurally stable. Surface with later revarnishing. Top pierced crest broken off at point of old break, but retained. See conservation report 7/28/94.
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