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American Victorian Rosewood & Mahogany Half-Tester Bed

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American Victorian Rosewood & Mahogany Half-Tester Bed

- Item No.

This rare antebellum half-tester bed displays the best of American Victorian artistry

Key Features

  • This exquisite half-tester bed is the epitome of American Victorian excellence
  • Attributed to the great Prudent Mallard, this rare bed is crafted of rosewood and mahogany
  • Magnificent carving informs the entirety of this antebellum treasure
  • Provenance: North Carolina Private Collection
  • Circa 1850
  • 69" wide x 126 high x 90 1/4" length (Measurements are approximate)

Item Details

  • Width:
    69 Inches
  • Height:
    126 Inches
  • Length:
    90 1/4 Inches
  • Period:
    19th Century
  • Origin:
This exceptional American Victorian Revival half-tester bed displays the hallmarks of the great New Orleans cabinetmaker Prudent Mallard, a master of creating palatial furnishings without sacrificing grace and elegance. Crafted of luxurious rosewood and mahogany, the bed exhibits a symphony of superb carving throughout the paneled head and footboards, comprised of a bold array of scrolls, leaves and flowers, as well as beaded borders, urn finials and a tufted silk canopy.

Mallard was considered one of the best furniture makers in the French antique style, rivaled only by John Henry Belter. Most historians concur that it was Mallard who introduced the half-tester bed that has since become synonymous with superior, period antebellum furnishings. Today, his work is featured in museums and historical homes, and is highly sought by collectors. Similar beds are featured in American Furniture of the 19th Century by Celia Jackson Otto.

North Carolina Private Collection

Circa 1850

69" wide x 126" high x 90 1/4" length (Measurements are approximate)

Prudent Mallard was born in Sèvres, France, in 1809 and immigrated to America in 1829. He settled in New York but soon found the weather unsuitable for his asthmatic condition. He travelled by steamship to New Orleans, where he found the warm and steamy climate and the burgeoning economy most beneficial to his health and wealth. Mallard set up shop on Royal Street, the city's most prestigious avenue, and before long he was catering to the needs of a very wealthy clientele. As his success grew, Mallard acquired his own ships to carry cotton to Europe where they in turn loaded their hulls with luxurious furnishings and objects to bring back to his American clients. These same ships also made trips to the Caribbean, where Mallard purchased choice rosewood and mahogany to create his own masterful furnishings. By the 1840s and 1850s, the New Orleans economy was booming and French furniture was all the rage. Prudent Mallard's extraordinary success was fueled by his clients' insatiable appetite for his spectacular and monumental furnishings.

The Civil War, however, proved disastrous for New Orleans and the South, and many of the opulent homes that dotted the country landscape were burned to the ground, reducing the magnificent furnishings inside to ashes. Smaller treasures were often spared, but many of the massive beautiful beds such as this perished. Today, few of these wonderful examples of Southern rococo style remain and many have been altered to fit modern homes.

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Clearance Price: $29,600
Reg $48,500 Save $18,900
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