Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Herter Brothers is a design firm located in New York between 1865-1906, owned by Gustave Herter and Christian Herter who was a partner only later to become the owner. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, they both took up the trade of skilled craftsman making cabinets which their father did. Gustave moved to America, worked for Tiffany & Company and later partnered up and created a firm. His brother Christian studied at Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris and then came to America to work for Tiffany & Company and then partnering up with Gustave.
The Center Table was probably designed for Mark Hopkins. There is no documentation for this other than Herter Brothers designed the interiors for the mansion designed by Wright and Sander. More than likely the table was made for the reception room for the mansion. Similar marquetry seen in this room are similar to the table. The Center Table did end up at the Hopkins estate at Sherwood Hall which is also known as the Thurlow Lodge.
Mark Hopkins is part of the “Big Four” who developed the Central Pacific Railroad. Mark was very wealthy but was a very modest man. His wife convinced him to purchase a block of land on Nob Hill in San Francisco. He became ill and died before the mansion was completed in 1878. Mary Hopkins remarried to Edward F. Searles, only to pass away in 1891. Searles donated the mansion to the San Francisco Art Association after her death. The building was destroyed in 1906 by resulting fires after an earthquake.
Sources: Howe, Frelinghuysen, Voorsanger. (1994). Herter Brothers Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age. New York: Harry N. Abrams