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John Henry Belter, a German emigrant to the United States, stands out as the most famous cabinet maker of the Victorian Rococo Revival era. He crafted exquisite rosewood furniture in his New York shop from 1844 to 1863. Other recognized and collected cabinetmakers of this era include Meeks and Charles Boudoine of New York, Pabst of Philadelphia, and Signouret and Mallard of New Orleans.
Belter was known for his laminated rosewood furniture in which thin strips of veneer were glued and pressed together, then steamed in a mold to produce a curved form. This process made the backs of the furniture not only strong, but beautiful from both sides.
Much of it was embellished with exuberant decorative designs. Belter is well known for his hand carved, naturalistic fruit and flowers, as well as the scrolls he used to adorn and distinguish his various patterns. His furniture is uniquely American and highly prized by collectors.
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