About the dealer
About the object
A magnificent pair of late-19th-early-20th century, trophy armchairs made from red and fallow deer antlers, the seats upholstered in wild boar hide
European, circa 1880
Pairs of hunting trophy armchairs are exceptionally rare. This pair are also unusual because they are made from a few large antlers giving them a minimalist quality. The fluid form of the antlers creates a sculptural, organic aesthetic. They are also usable and very comfortable.
It has taken great skill to make these chairs, selecting massive antlers to create exquisite form and stability within a minimalistic, sculptural aesthetic. They are dramatic and unusual injecting a naturalistic and organic gravitas to any interior which reflects the grace, agility and presence of the kings of forest that they came from.
The impressive crestings, sides and front stretchers on each armchair are made from five magnificent fallow deer antlers. The arms and supports on each chair are made from eight massive red deer antlers. The antlers are arranged creatively to create both, a stable structure and sculptural form. The seats are upholstered in wild boar hide.
MUSEUMS WITH COLLECTIONS OF ANTLER FURNITURE
• Victoria & Albert Museum, London
• Museum casle trautenfels, Trautenfels – Austria
• Museum of natural history, Venice
• Palace Museum, Beijing
“There is grace and movement in the antler itself. They’re one of the most beautiful forms in nature…” Gail Flynn
Hunting trophies have been used as source material for clothes hooks, storage racks and lamps since the 15th century. Mounting antlers and stuffed heads on walls provided impressive, decorative displays for hunting trophies. A hunting lodge replete with antlers and stuffed animals was most likely where ideas for antler furnishings emerged.
At the beginning of the 19th century antler furniture was made exclusively for the European nobility to decorate palaces, castles and country seats. The furniture was either made completely from stag antler, or it was decorated with antler pieces from the stag, deer, fallow deer and others, or veneered with sliced antler pieces to create a hunting design.
The first recorded antler furniture dates from 1825, made for a hunting castle of Count William of Nassau near Wiesbaden, Germany. Other famous collections of historical antler furniture are the hunting room in the country estate of the brandhof of Archduke Johann of Austria or the antler collection of Count Arco in his palace in Munich, Germany. There are hundreds of drawings of creative antler decorations by the Austrian furniture maker Joseph Danhauser (1780-1829).
In 1851, chairs, chests of drawers and a sofa made of horns were exhibited at the Great Exhibition Of The Industries Of All Nations in London which were considered one of the great novelties of this iconic exhibition. This created a new lifestyle trend and fashion driven by the ambitious European middle-class and antler furniture disseminated into bourgeoisie households.
One of the first designers is the German ivory carver and furniture maker H. F. C. Rampendahl who gained enthusiastic successes on several world exhibitions with his antler furniture. An antler bureau, a horn seating group or individual chairs, decorated gun cabinets, H.F.C. Rampendahl created a whole new design world for fashioning rooms.
This prompted other designers in Germany Austria and USA to make antler furniture H.F.C. Rampendahl, Hamburg, P. Keutner, Regensburg, Vitus Madel & Son, Ichenhausen, Kurt Schicker, Regensburg, Heinrich Keitel, Vienna, Rudolf Brix, Vienna, Friedrich Wenzel, San Antonio. These are some of the most important manufacturers of antler furniture and their range covered the whole market of furniture as well as smaller pieces.
Their catalogues feature antler furnishings (Geweihmöbel) like antler gun racks, antler chandeliers, antler-frames, antler chairs, lusterweibchen, antler cabinets as well as small decorative items like desk sets, humidors, wardrobes, cutlery, etc..
The last decade has seen a revival in the popularity of antler furniture. Its iconic, natural organic style creates a striking focal point in modern households as well as eye-catchers for hunting lodges and chalets in mountain areas. The flowing sculptural form of antlers retain the grace, agility and presence of the animals that they came from.
• Georg Olms: August Stukenbrok Illustrierter Hauptkatalog. Olmspresse, Hildesheim 1972
• Sabine Spindler: Geweihmöbel 1825-1925. Klaus Spindler, München 2006
• Bruce M. Newman: Fantasy Furniture. Rizzoli, New York 1989
• Christopher Payne: 19th CENTURY EUROPEAN FURNITURE Antique Collectors´ Club, England 1981
• Rainer Haaff: Prachtvolle Stilmöbel Kunst-Verlag-Haaff 2012
• Richard St.John, Longhorn Artist: Wenzel, Friedrich (Wichita State University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, 1982)