Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsRenaissance

What's It Worth?

What is it? A hand-carved, Italian walnut te^te-a-te^te chair.

April 11, 1998|KATHY BRYANT

What's its history?

Te^te-a-te^te chairs, first made in 18th century France, allowed courting couples to face without touching. "They were much better than a love seat, where [lovers] could get into trouble," says Tom Stansbury, of Tom Stansbury Antiques in Newport Beach.

"This chair is a loose adaptation of Renaissance design elements that were very popular in Europe in the middle to late 19th century," he says. "You can tell this by the cherub heads, the typically Italian splat or chair back and the unusual turnings on the chair legs.

"The chair is whimsical and is more a sculptural curiosity than a functional piece."

Neo-Renaissance furniture was popular with the Italian middle class at that time.

*

What's the legend?

Beverly Mackey of Irvine bought this chair at an antiques store in 1960. She says it was filthy: The wood was almost pewter-colored, and it had very worn maroon velvet upholstery.

"It has followed me to every place I've lived in, both large and small," she says. "Even though it's an unusual shape, it always seems to fit in perfectly."

Mackey has a copy of a 1962 Look magazine in which Marilyn Monroe is photographed in an identical chair.

*

How was it made?

Stansbury says it was hand-carved by artisans who piled detail upon detail.

*

What is it worth today?

This chair would sell in the $1,500 to $1,700 range, Stansbury says.

*

Where can I find it?

Antiques stores and auction houses.

*

Where can I find out more?

General reference books on furniture.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|