Question: I would like information about the chair shown in my photographs. - C.F., Vineland
Answer: Your furniture, known as a Morris chair, is a precursor of modern recliners. Although its concept is attributed to several men, it was introduced in 1866 by English designer William Morris, whose firm produced and marketed it.
An armchair when upright, the piece's high, adjustable back slopes backward when activated by a user. Positions are controlled by a metal crossbar that fits into a series of notches in metal plates or pegs attached to the chair's arms.
Many early Morris chairs are embellished with ornate carving, spindle arm supports and upholstery or removable cushions made of fancy fabrics. Although dark-stained transitional models such as yours, produced from 1890 to 1915, still featured carved lion-head hand grips or paw feet, fragile spindles were replaced with substantial curved slats matched with hefty curved legs.
Patented in 1901, Gustav Stickley's sturdy, undecorated oak Mission-style reclining chair, a plain Craftsman de-sign with leather cushions, was favorite American furniture within a few years. Other manufacturers, including Roy-al Furniture Co., Paine Furn-iture Co. and Larkin Soap Co. , produced the chairs. Larkin offered them as premiums, charging $10 each with a soap purchase.
Neglected for decades, a recliner by Stickley has enjoyed immense popularity since the revival of interest in American Arts and Crafts furnishings during the 1980s. Sold for $32 to $42 in 1912, the chairs have fetched as much as $27,000 at auction during the past year. Chairs such as yours currently bring $300 to $600, based on overall condition, mechanism operation and if the recliner's finish, upholstery and hardware are original.
Question: Enclosed is a picture of my grandmother's Haviland Limoges cup-and-saucer set and another photo showing marks on the cup's bottom. Your comments about the set will be appreciated. - S.M., Linwood
Answer: The cup's back marks, a curved, green underglaze "Haviland" over a linear "France" and a red overglaze "Haviland & Co." over a linear "Limoges," indicate your set was made during the period between 1889 to 1931.
Produced in Limoges, France, by Haviland & Co. - one of a number of porcelain factories owned by members of the Haviland family - the cup's green manufacturer's mark, coded "I" and red decorator's mark, coded "c," are a common combination found on items made by the company for the American market.
Your set's Haviland pattern, one of thousands, is among many unidentified. However, its simplicity, red and green florals and gold-band edging over a thin red line typify ware made by Haviland & Co. during the first quarter of the 20th century. Such a set sells for $12 to $18 when it is in excellent condition.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist whose consulting firm, Treasures Unlimited, is based in southern New Jersey. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Life section, The Press of Atlantic City, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, NJ 08232. Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.