What is it and What’s it Worth?

A gorgeous pair of Renaissance Revival side chairs sold for $1050 in January 2019.

Do you have any chairs that look like the ones in the photo above?  What about a table that looks like the one below?

This gorgeous Renaissance Revival table, circa 1870s, sold for $985 in 2019.

If so, you are in luck! The furniture in the photos is in the style of Renaissance Revival. Renaissance Revival furniture, which was made roughly between 1850-1880, can bring great prices. Our Worthopedia has over 8,000 listings for Renaissance Revival. Keep reading if you want to take your knowledge of antique and collectible furniture to the next level.

History

French influence brought about the appearance of the massive forms and more rectangular construction of the Renaissance Revival Period in America. Furniture of this period typically featured straighter lines, with arched tops, broken pediments and prominent cresting. Burl walnut panels and applied machine-carved moldings and ornaments were used in place of the hand carvings of the French Renaissance models.

Leading Craftsman / Manufacturers

Gustave and Christian Herter (Herter Brothers), Jacques & Hay, Allen Brother (Philadelphia, PA), Wooton Desk Company, Alexander Roux.

This rosewood cabinet, a possible Herter Bros., sold for $4150 in 2018.

What to Look For

Renaissance Revival furniture, with the exception of side chairs and pedestals, beds, sideboards, and tables are generally large in scale. Major stylistic features include inlaid table tops, incised lines, angular scrolls and pilasters, fancy columns, Pompeian style legs, roundels, portrait medallions, and bronze or porcelain mounts.

Here is an example of a table with an inlaid top. This table sold for over $2000 in 2008.

Walnut tended to be the primary wood of choice, with pine and basswood being used as secondary woods for case and drawer construction. Both pine and basswood were both primary and secondary woods used in the construction of painted or grained examples of “Cottage Furniture” in this style.

This circa 1880s cottage pine dresser sold for $127.50 in 2011.

Marks

American Renaissance Revival furniture was seldom marked by the maker. Some paper labeling was used, but it is very rare to find an example with a label intact. It is most often identified by attribution to a maker based on identified examples for which documentation and catalogs exist.


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