Can you name my White Fine Furniture collection? And what’s its value?
Since I started writing posts about White Furniture Company of Mebane, NC, I’ve receive lots of questions about style numbers belonging to a White Fine Furniture collection, and estimated values.
I addressed strategies for determining the value in your local market here: http://www.irisabbey.com/the-market/much-white-fine-furniture-worth/
As for an individual White Fine Furniture Collection, I can now identify five — out of who knows how many? My understanding is that White Furniture destroyed their patterns when the company closed in 1993. But catalogs could be out there; I just need to track them down.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill houses the catalogs of the five collections presented here. For the price of copies, UNC sent me an electronic file. It’s a start..
Living With Tradition
This collection came in a choice of two finishes: Chantilly and Antique White.
Chantilly finished products had solid cherry drawers, posts, and rails. Its tops and end panels were made of “choicest walnut veneers.” (Living With Tradition Catalog, 1982)
The Antique White finish offered two handpainted artwork choices: Chinese landscape painting or Floral, shown above. The Floral design depended on the customer’s selection of color for the trim: yellow, blue, green, or gold. Raised Gesso Chinoiserie, seen on the Chantilly finish, provided another choice. Obviously, no two looked exactly alike.
To bring you furniture with a new feeling of grandeur and graciousness, the Whiteleigh combines the elegance of Empire with the classic grace of Regency. Both were the “modern” styles of their day. The rare and valuable pieces which have come down to us reflect a simplicity, quality, and vitality that blends perfectly with White’s own brilliant concepts of Contemporary styling. (Whiteleigh catalog, White, the South’s Oldest Makers of Fine Furniture, Mebane, North Caroling, no date, p. 2).
White used two exotic woods to create Whiteleigh:
All solid parts are African Teak, one of the finest Mahogany-family cabinet woods, very light in color, and imported from the famous African Gold Coast. All veneered tops, drawer and door fronts are richly figured Prima Vera from Central America, are also light in color. Both woods have “open pores” as opposed to the “closed pores” of woods such as Cherry. (Whiteleigh catalog, White, the South’s Oldest Makers of Fine Furniture, Mebane, North Caroling, no date, p. 27).
The Lorraine French Provincial Collection
Three custom hand finishes . . . Old Spice, a rich fruitwood; Old Bisque, a delightful dominance of brown with gray shadings; and Old Bone, the ever loved and ever lovely white and gold.” (The Lorraine French Provincial Collection catalog, White, the South’s Oldest Makers of Fine Furniture, Mebane, North Caroling, no date, p. 3).
Every fascinating facet of French Provincial charm scintillates in White Lorraine Collection . . . free hand carving, decorative brass grilles, dainty scroll feet, graceful cabriole legs, hooded pediments, parquetry inlay, delicate gold etching, sweeping escalloped curves and aprons, carved corner posts and end panels–a wealth of fine detailing and a beauty that never palls. Age can but enhance its charm and value. (Lorraine catalog, no date, p. 15).
Unfortunately, that last sentence — written decades ago — could not take into consideration a future with mass production, cheaper furniture, and very little wood composition. Look how comfortable people have become with the idea of replacing sofas, chairs, dining sets every few years.
This next bedroom set image doesn’t come from a catalog. I found this Lorraine White Fine Furniture Collection advertisement online here. Importantly, this ad has a date: 1954.
In many ways this is a collector’s collection. No two pieces are identical. Each is a custom-designed Original. There is no rigid adherence to any one genre of design. But rather a general echoing of those Country English and traditional Mediterranean styles so compatible with today’s decorating trends. (Adaptique catalog, White, the South’s Oldest Makers of Fine Furniture, Mebane, North Caroling, no date, p. intro).
As best as I can determine, this collection offered multiple features within a piece and multiple choices of said piece. This buffet (Style 30-7, I believe), for instance, is primarily Early English but incorporates Mediterranean/Greek dentil molding, along with the Greek key motif on fronts of drawers and doors. But Tudor roses appear on the doors instead of a true Greek key.
Then we get into the various styles of Adaptique furniture: 3 choices of buffets and 3 of china tops, as shown here:
Adaptique came in two finishes: Artisan, a warm, rich brown; and Florentine, a Venetian grey-green.
The undated Promethean catalog claims this style mixes “Oriental glamour with Old World charm.” To my thinking, the Old World must refer to Scandinavia because this collection has a Mid-Century Modern sensibility.
Here’s the catalog explanation of the woods’ drama:
This whole collection is marked by the use of pearly pink Maple Burl, the taupe richness of brown Walnut, and the tone-on-tone color of highly figured heart Walnut.
Thanks to everyone who sent me emails and comments about the pieces in their White Fine Furniture collection. If your collection isn’t featured here, just know that I’m on the trail and will share more when I uncover new information.
Ann Marie and David
Read my other White Furniture Company posts:
White Furniture Company of Mebane, NC, Part 1
White Furniture Company of Mebane, NC, Part 2
How Much is My White Fine Furniture Worth?
Clothes Press by White Furniture Company, Mebane, NC