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19th century Wicker Vanity Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Co.



Of all the fanciful pieces of American wicker ever produced, this is the top of the line for advanced collectors. To find one in great condition and in natural stain is very unusual indeed. This sumptuous dressing stand vanity was featured in the 1993 American Wicker exhibit at the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C. Every technique of weave is employed- curlicues, birdcages, serpentine curvatures, wooden balls, delicate sea grass wrap- all to form this lovely vanity. The bevelled oval mirror swivels on ornate brass finials in the shape of flower baskets. The sturdy oak top is fancifully shaped with one drawer beneath. The name Heywood Brothers and Wakefield Company can stand alongside Herter, Meeks and Belter in their influence on the way late 19th century upper class Americans furnished their homes. See measurements below.


  • Creator
  • Dimensions
    Height: 70 in. (177.8 cm)Width: 29 in. (73.66 cm)Depth: 18 in. (45.72 cm)
  • Style
    Late Victorian (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    Late 1800s
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Very good condition with beautiful original natural wicker stain. Very sturdy construction. Please note some minor loss to silvering on beveled glass mirror.
  • Seller Location
    Savannah, GA
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU1071214786141

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Savannah, GA
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Maker

Heywood-Wakefield Co.

Created by the 19th-century merger of two venerable Massachusetts furniture makers, Heywood-Wakefield was one of the largest and most successful companies of its kind in the United States. In its early decades, the firm thrived by crafting affordable and hugely popular wicker pieces in traditional and historical styles. In the midst of the Great Depression, however, Heywood-Wakefield reinvented itself, creating instead the first modernist furnishings to be widely embraced in American households. The Heywoods were five brothers from Gardner, Massachusetts, who in 1826 started a business making wooden chairs and tables in their family shed. As their company grew, they moved into the manufacture of furniture with steam-bent wood frames and cane or wicker seats, backs and sides. In 1897, they joined forces with a local rival, the Wakefield Rattan Company, whose founder, Cyrus Wakefield, got his start on the Boston docks buying up lots of discarded rattan, which was used as cushioning material in the holds of cargo ships, and transforming it into furnishings. The conglomerate initially did well with both early American style and woven pieces, but taste began to change at the turn of the 20th century and wicker furniture fell out of fashion. In 1930, the company brought in designer Gilbert Rohde, a champion of the Art Deco style. Before departing in 1932 to lead the Michigan furniture maker Herman Miller, Rohde created well-received sleek, bentwood chairs for Heywood-Wakefield and gave its colonial pieces a touch of Art Deco flair. Committed to the new style, Heywood-Wakefield commissioned work from an assortment of like-minded designers, including Alfons Bach, W. Joseph Carr, Leo Jiranek and Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, a Russian nobleman who had made his name in Europe creating elegant automotive body designs. In 1936, the company introduced its “Streamline Modern” group of furnishings, presenting a look that would define the company’s wares for another 30 years. The buoyantly bright, blond wood — maple initially, later birch — came in finishes such as amber “wheat” and pink-tinted “champagne.” The forms of the pieces, at once light and substantial, with softly contoured edges and little adornment beyond artful drawer pulls and knobs, were featured in lines with names such as “Sculptura,” “Crescendo” and “Coronet.” It was forward-looking, optimistic and built to last — a draw for middle-class buyers in the Baby Boom years. By the 1960s, Heywood-Wakefield began to be seen as “your parents’ furniture.” The last of the Modern line came out in 1966; the company went bankrupt in 1981. The truly sturdy pieces have weathered the intervening years well, having found a new audience for their blithe and happy sophistication.
About the Seller
4.9 / 5
Located in Savannah, GA
Platinum Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are 1stDibs' most experienced sellers and are rated highest by our customers.
Established in 1968
1stDibs seller since 2014
138 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 1 hour
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