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commode

Object / Artefact › Applied Arts and Design
  • Other titles
    • credenza
    • cabinet, low
  • Description
    serpentine credenza of native timbers, profusely veneered outside and inside in a variety of New Zealand native timbers

    commode late 19th century

    attributed to Anton SEUFFERT, Auckland, New Zealand

    New Zealand native timbers
    1090 x 1870 x 590 mm

    on loan from the Mackelvie Trust Board, 1984.130.1, F137


    Anton SEUFFERT (born 1815, Bohemia, [Czechoslovakia] - died 1887, Auckland New Zealand)

    Anton Seuffert came from a working class family in Bohemia Anton quickly rose to the rank of foreman in the leading Viennese firm of Leistler and Sons, which made commissioned furniture for European royalty and aristocracy. Anton was responsible for the setting up of their massive four-room furniture display at The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. It appears that Anton remained in London after The Great Exhibition of 1851 and in 1856 married an Austrian woman, Ann Blitz.

    When and why Anton and his wife emigrated to New Zealand is not known, but in 1861 they and their then three children became naturalised citizens in Auckland. They eventually had six children.

    For the next thirty years, Anton produced superlative articles of furniture, most of those on record being decorated with some of the finest inlaid work known in New Zealand.

    Unusually for a cabinet maker, Anton labelled his work. In 1882 his firm changed its name from ‘A. Seuffert, cabinet maker’ to A. Seuffert and Sons’. Almost certainly William helped his father for many years before this date. Indeed it is said that in pieces attributed to Anton the floral work at least, is probably by William. However there is no recognition of this in the labelling of the pieces. In 1890 the firm became ‘William Seuffert, Cabinet maker’.

    William Seuffert (born March 1859, London England - d July 1943, Auckland, New Zealand) was the third son of Anton Seuffert who emigrated to New Zealand (most likely after a few years England) in about 1880.

    William continued with the sort of work for which his father was renowned. Although it is claimed that William’s work surpassed that of his father, he is generally less well known that Anton, probably because there are far fewer pieces attributed to him. It may be that they are in private hands and therefore unknown, at least for the present.

    There is evidence to suggest that William may have well had difficulty in making a living from the sort of intricate works in which he excelled and supplemented his income as a carter and as an artist at various times. He was certainly a superb artist and it is said that he turned down the opportunity to become a professional cartoonist for a daily newspaper. He never married and died in July 1943. He was the only on of his father’s sons to follow in his father’s trade as a cabinet maker.
  • Place
  • Other Number
    1984.130, F137
  • Accession number
    1984.130
  • Accession date
    2 March 1984
  • Collection area
  • Item count
    1
  • Record richness
commode
commode

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