John H. Belter (1804-1863) (attrib.), New York City, 1845-1865
Henry and Lucy Bowen furnished the double parlors in their Brooklyn Heights home with at least four of these elaborate carved chairs. They’re in a style known as the Rococo Revival, popular in the 1840s and 50s in America and noted for elaborate carving and curved legs. The most well-known maker of Rococo Revival furniture was John Henry Belter, a German immigrant who set up shop in what is now the Upper East Side of Manhattan and found a strong clientele among the city’s wealthy industrialists. Belter patented a method of laminating and steaming wood that enabled this type of over-the-top carving without compromising the overall structure of the piece.