Friday, July 15, 2011

Rocking Chair with Carved Back Panel

 We recently had this rocking chair come in to our shop for repairs.  One of the stretchers had broken which in turn caused the one of the rockers to break off as well.  While this kind of thing happens fairly often, and we get broken rocking chairs in all the time,  this particular rocker has such interesting styling, that I became very curious about it's origins.  Now, you all get to see what information I have found out about this piece.

The first thing to note, is that there is a very unique sticker on the underside of the seat.  Most antique furniture has no markings by the maker, they simply relied on us recognizing their unique style.  But this chair gives us a very good clue to it's age and maker via the sticker.  You see, around the beginning of the 1900's through the 1940's  Grand Rapids Michigan had a furniture making Heyday.  So the sticker on this Rocking Chair tells us that the chair was made in the early part of the last century.

What really drew me to this rocker originally, was the carving on the back.  I had never seen something like it until this Rocking Chair came in.  The figure on the back seems to be a Spanish Explorer,  and from comparing images,  it is most likely Cortez or Ponce de Leon.  The seat is also round with little notches carved out giving in a drum like look.  In trying to get a better idea of the age of this chair, I found several similar chairs, each with an oval or square carved back and almost all with a round seat and all being given an age at about 1900.  This one seems to have the most intricate carving on the  spindles, stretchers and legs though.  Below are some examples of the other chairs I found. 

Pretty neat right?  I would love to find more designs from the era, but to be honest, I have to say, the carving on the rocker in our shop is still my favorite.

If anyone can tell me anything about the armor that is demonstrated in the carving on the rocker in our shop, I would love to hear about it!  While the helmet looks like Cortez,  the square collar is unlike anything I have been able to find thus far.


  1. I have a similar rocker, but with a different carving and have always been curious about it, but could never find any information. Today I found a similar one in a shop nearby. It has a "Sherlock Holmes" face with.a pipe carved on it. The owner said he got it in Indiana. Mine was in my grandmother's house in new York state. Mine has a carving of two monks with a keg on the back and the back is shield shaped. No sticker or markings that I can find.

    1. They certainly are interesting pieces of history. I love all the different images on the backs. So unique. It is unfortunate that tracing these pieces can be so difficult!