people have heard about Wallace Nutting's Hand-Colored Photographs...and
many people are aware of the nearly 20 Books that he authored...but
relatively few know anything about Wallace Nutting's Bench-Made Reproduction
Furniture...or his Reproduction Ironwork.
his quest for authentic antique furniture to be used as props for
his Colonial Interior scenes, Wallace Nutting quickly became an
expert in Early American Antiques. He photographed more than 5000
different pieces of most early furniture styles and forms for use
his books on antique furniture. And in this search to locate the
good-better-best examples of each particular form, Wallace Nutting
developed a sense of what was common and readily available, and
what was rare and difficult to locate, even for the wealthiest individuals.
Armed with this knowledge, Wallace Nutting decided to reproduce
some of the finest forms of early American Antiques himself.
first with Windsor Chairs in 1917, Nutting went on to copy more
than 1000 different pieces from the Pilgrim, Chippendale, Hepplewhite,
Queen Anne, Sheraton, and other early styles, stopping with the
Empire period. Although other people were reproducing furniture
at this time, Nutting sought to produce the very best. He spent
a great amount of time, energy, and money trying to make his reproductions
resemble the original as closely as possible, using the finest of
woods, hiring talented craftsmen, and utilizing the earliest construction
techniques wherever possible.
wanted his good name associated with his fine furniture and clearly
identified each piece accordingly. The earliest pieces were clearly
marked with a Paper Label. When Nutting learned that certain unscrupulous
individuals were removing his Paper Labels, artificially aging the
piece, and selling it as original, Nutting decide to literally brand
each piece of furniture with his name. Both Script Branded Signatures
and Block Branded Signatures may be found.
Nutting's Picture Market, which targeted lower and middle class
households, Nutting's bench-made reproduction Furniture targeted
higher income households...those that could probably afford the
original antique, but who were unable to locate it. In the 1930's,
during the height of the Great Depression, most Nutting Windsor
Chairs were selling for more than $50 each ($200+ per set of 4),
and his most expensive case piece was selling for $1800...a price
more expensive than many houses at the time.
Wallace Nutting Furniture is more highly sought after than ever
before. Prices seem to be rising and the current Auction record
for a piece of Wallace Nutting Furniture was set in 2002 when a
#733 Goddard Secretary Desk sold for nearly $37,000.