Monday, December 1, 2008

a place for a center table

The Center Table is a table that was recreated numerous times in the Herter Brothers career. This particular table has no documentation of where or who it was designed and built for. It was found at the Sherwood Hall residency (Thurlow Lodge) but was not part of the original collection Herter designed for Milton S. Latham. The residency was owned by another of Herter’s clients, Mrs. Mary Hopkins, who bought it in 1893 for her adopted son. Mary Hopkins was the owner of the Hopkins Mansion in San Francisco where Herter was hired to design the interior spaces. Marquetry seen on the table is almost identical to marquetry in a reception room of the Hopkins Mansion seen from photographs taken before a fire that destroyed the mansion in 1906.

When the Thurlow Lodge was purchased in 1893, it is believed that furnishings from the mansion were moved here for storage. After the Sherwood Hall was not fit to live in and abandoned in 1906, Timothy Hopkins removed some of the furnishing to the Gate House on the same property. After Mary Kellogg Hopkins died, Stanford University became the owners of Sherwood Hall, later auctioning off contents to local private owners. The building was later on sold to Universal Pictures in Hollywood which used the belonging furniture as props and the lumber that constructed the dwelling for movie sets.

The table is now housed in Virginia, purchased by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Knowing the history of the table, possibly being passed down from a parent to a child, this piece would be more at home with a distant relative/collector of antiques or in an Eastlake or Stick style dwelling. The Eastlake/Stick/Victorian/Queen Anne style can be found all over the United States and also in the United Kingdom. The style was named after Charles Locke Eastlake, an architect and writer in England. He planted seeds in the Arts and Crafts movement by returning to the simple straight-line designs. He prompted the use and celebration of natural raw woods.

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