ERIK BOLIN Mid Century Modern Hand Carved Designer Table Chairs Paris Sweden LA

This is quite a rare find.  These are antique pieces of furniture by Erik Bolin.  Bolin was a French furniture designer in the early 20th century.  He drew his inspiration for furniture design from a Normandy village, where he traveled with famous French writer, Anatole France.  The furniture they saw there was at least 250 years old, and bore elements and lines which they had never before encountered.  Bolin purchased as many pieces of furniture as the owners would allow, and carefully sketched the rest for his personal records.

He soon began designing furniture like that which he had seen in Normandy, and quickly found success in Paris.  He went on to sell in Sweden and Los Angeles, inspiring his use of "PSLA" in his branding and logo.  The Hollywood elite (and their designers) sought Erik Bolin's design expertise and furniture in their homes.  It is widely known that both Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn featured some of Bolin's work in their own homes.  Hepburn even mentions Erik Bolin in her book, "Me" on page 398: "Trying to make it attractive was not really possible.  In desperation, we had Erik Bolin - French furniture maker - make some wooden valances for the curtains." 

This furniture set includes a low table and three chairs.  These pieces were inherited from a famous pianist and socialite named Mildred "Honey" Titcomb (later Rains) from California.  She was born in 1906 and was called "prodigy" on the piano by age 11.  Her father was Henry Burgess Titcomb, president of the South Pacific Railroad. 

This table and chair set was most likely designed and constructed early in the 20th century.  It is highly possible that Mildred Titcomb requested this design specifically, but we have no way of knowing for certain.  The set is heavily designed, with almost "chunky" and oversized lines.  All of the pieces sit low to the ground.  The table top has a rare special feature - there is a "bowl" carved into each corner.  Each corner was found holding a small, flow blue plate.  Thanks to some detective work by the team on the Flow Blue & Mulberry Followers Facebook page, I know that these Staffordshire England bowls are cut sponge and feature the "Rebecca" pattern.  The plates alone are a very rare find.  Unfortunately, one of the plates was broken many years ago.  The three remaining plates will be included in the sale.  We do not know if the table was made to hold these plates, or if they were originally meant for another purpose. 

The table and chairs are composed of solid wood, though we do not know what type.  They have a medium, honey-toned finish.  Each piece is marked on the bottom "ERIK BOLIN P.S.L.A."  The table measures 55" by 41" by 21 1/2" tall.  The table top is 1 1/2" thick.  The legs, which are partially turned out by design, measure 2 1/2" thick.  Each chair measures 31 3/8" tall at the highest point.  The seats are 24" wide by 19 1/2" deep, and sit 14 1/2" from the floor.  Each chair has a cushion.  We are not sure if these were a part of the original design, or something that was added later.  We tend to believe they were added later, as it is not possible to sit at the table in the chairs when the cushions are in place (they make the seat too tall).  With the cushions present, the chair seat height is 19 1/4". 

These pieces show some significant signs of age and use, though we believe that much of this is "by design".  Bolin was known for his love of Normandy furniture that was more than 250 years old, and he often replicated these designs.  There are chips, rub marks, scratches, and splatters to the finish, as well as other similar "defects", which give these an antique charm.  The table and chairs are all structurally sound.  One of the table legs is a bit loose, but it is still firmly attached.  One of the chairs sits unevenly, and rocks slightly.  The chair cushions are all in great condition.  Please see pictures for more details, and please ask questions if you have them.

**The final picture is an old polaroid that we found of the table in Mildred "Honey" Titcomb's home.  You can see that the cushions have been re-upholstered at some point.  You can also see Honey's Steinway grand piano in the background! 

Honey was a true socialite, long before the names of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian plastered the pages of TMZ. Though she passed on before I was ever able to meet her in person, I had the opportunity to get to know Honey when we acquired some items from her estate in 2012. I now have the pleasure of sharing her story on our blog. You can read it here

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