This ornately carved rocker is a Stickley, but not Gustav Stickley’s work; it was made by brother Charles Stickley and the Stickley-Brandt Furniture Company. When they are identified for what they are, these ornate Stickley-Brandt rockers often sell in the $600- $800 range.
The best known Stickley furniture, and the most valuable on today’s market, hailed from the workshop of Gustav Stickley (1858-1942), the creator of the “Mission” style in North America. Because the style was such a success, Stickley’s brothers produced similar pieces in their firms: L. & J.G. Stickley, Stickley & Brandt, and Stickley Bros., but Mission was not the only style of furniture made under a Stickley banner.
This rocker (pictured) is a piece by Charles Stickley (1871-1927), who married into the Brandt furniture family in 1891, forming the Stickley-Brandt Furniture Company in Binghamton, N.Y. It couldn’t be any further from the Mission design, and its elaborate styling would never be identified at the back of an auction hall as a “Stickley.” There is a pretty good reason for this, as of all the Stickley furniture companies formed, this is the only one whose catalogs of their Victorian style furniture have never been reprinted, and there is not a lot of documentation on the late Victorian furniture designs made by the company.
What we do know is that Stickley-Brandt’s retail store opened in 1896, and did well until World War One. The retail store remained open until 1928, but the furniture factory closed in 1917. Towards the end of the factory’s life, the craftsmen there did try to capitalize on the Mission Style, bringing out their own version of older bother’s Gustave’s vision in 1909, but it was too late, as the demand for the massive oak pieces was in decline, finished off by the war and changing tastes. After the furniture company’s bankruptcy, Charles left the industry, but remained in Binghamton until his death in 1927.
Today these heavily carved Victorian-style Stickley-Brandt chairs are a footnote to the family saga. While not as valuable as Gustave’s Mission pieces, when they are identified for what they are, these ornate Stickley-Brandt rockers often sell in the $600- $800 range.
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
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