In the immediate decades following the Civil War, American ingenuity and manufacturing prowess brought with it immense wealth and refinement. These are the days when companies like Tiffany's and Theodore Starr opened up showrooms. Those fortunate enough to acquire vast wealth from their railway, mining, and manufacturing interest purchased only the best of the best, and their taste was for furnishings which were ornate and highly detailed. This, after all was the gilded age.
This magnificent and well carved bookcase was made by R.J. Horner in the mid to late 1880's. The R.J. Horner Company had their workshop and showrooms on West 23rd St. in Manhattan.
The distinctive carvings on this cabinet, its fierce Tritons with scaled bifurcated fins and the crest carved with dragons, leaves no doubt, this marvel of a cabinet was produce by none other than the master furniture makers working for R.J. Horner.
The inspiration for such a cabinet has as its antecedents, the Renaissance and Gothic Architecture. The case is further carved with Grotesques, Green Man masks, foliage and lappet banding. This case was designed for a library to hold books and display important collections.
An Impressive R.J Horner Cabinet
Found in a Mobile Home Park
On February 8, at about 10:00am I rang the doorbell of a home in a nice mobile home community in Novato, CA.
Really, I have been in every manner of home, and have served every class of person, rich or poor, and I always ring their doorbell with anticipation. Who lives here? What did they accomplish? Who were they? What will I see?
Trust me, not every home contains a treasure, but if they do, it takes someone with knowledge to discover it.
As soon as I entered and glanced to my right, there against the middle of the back wall of the living room was one of the best cabinets I have ever found in any home. It stood in majestic contrast to its modest surroundings.
To say the very least, I was pleasantly surprised.
Origin: It seems this family's grandparents lived in what they described as a rooming house on the corner of Pacific and Buchanan Streets, in San Francisco. The story goes that they acquired it from the owners of that rooming house back in the early sixties, and it has been in the family ever since.
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