Exceptional Victorian library table, by Merklin Bros, NYC, 1882-1897, solid mahogany, spiral reeded edge and skirt moldings, shaped spiral reeded, turned legs, skirt castings are of a winged full bodied dragon holding a serpent in its mouth, shelf brackets are lion heads with bat wings and the cast claw with the typical Merklen wood ball feet, Brand - Merklen.
38” long, 25.5” wide, 29.5” tall.
Condition – excellent finish and condition, restored old possibly original finish, mounts seem to have the original aged bronzed finish. 355
- One of the top examples of this form in both execution and condition.
- Castings were done by a Merklen company full time sculptor with typical interesting motif of dragons, lion heads, bat wings. The molds appear to be an eighteen pc mold for casting. This is a link to the only known photo of the Merklen sculptor, Emil Garet, at work on his commission of the United States Capitol building, (per my conversation with Paul Tucker, author of Antiques, May 05 article)
- Original Merklen ads state that items could be purchased in Oak, Mahogany and Prima Vera. My assumption is that each was progressively higher priced with Prima Vera seeming to be at the top and is a lighter color, finer and denser grade of mahogany. This table appears to be of Prima Vera as the one shown on pg 120 in the Antiques article seems to be.(personal observations)
- Merklen Bros held several patents for turning machines to make spiral reeding.
- A table often mistakenly attributed to George Hunzinger Company which also many innovative furniture forms.
- see pg 120, Antiques, May 2005, shows a square table with identical legs, shelf brackets and feet. The table has more interesting castings on the skirt corners.
Concerning the wood in this table. Per my conversation a few years ago with the author of the Antiques magazine article on Merklen and his research on the company ... Merklen promoted four woods for their tables in their ads - cherry, oak, mahogany and prima vera. Prima vera was the highest price and I believe is what your table is?? Prima vera is often mistakenly called mahogany, but on analyzing the grain it will be a bit unusual for mahogany. It is also whiter in color. And can be quite beautiful when restored correctly often having a "spiral" quarter grain. I have a Merken table and a dining table in those woods if you would like to see photos...email me email@example.com . Nevin Heller
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