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Fire Screen

Fire Screen

c. 1878-80

firm of Herter Brothers


Gilded wood, painted and gilded wood panels, brocaded silk, embossed paper

Overall: 131.8 x 76.2 x 58.3 cm (51 7/8 x 30 x 22 15/16 in.)

The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 1997.58

Fun Fact

This elaborate screen is drenched in decoration, including wood that is carved and gilded as well as imported Japanese paper that is embossed and delicately painted. Produced by the New York decorating firm Herter Brothers, this screen would have been used to shield women from the heat of a fireplace.


During the 1870s the New York firm of Herter Brothers produced some of the most sophisticated and technically refined furniture made anywhere in the world at that date. Although the firm is known to have made a considerable quantity of gilded furniture, this Fire Screen is one of only a few examples to survive in good condition. The most striking aspect of this piece is the painted and gilded embossed panel of birds and flowers which was almost certainly made in Japan. The design of the screen as a whole seems to have been predicated on the use of this decoration.

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