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Lady's secretary

Pottier and Stymus Manufacturing Company
Herter Brothers American

Not on view

This lady’s secretary epitomizes the complex interrelation of New York City’s renowned cabinetmaking firms. Displaying elements of neo-Gothic and Japanesque styles, it was commissioned for the newly constructed San Francisco mansion of Mary Frances Sherwood Hopkins, the recent widow of railroad tycoon Mark Hopkins. Although Herter Brothers was the primary decorator for the Hopkins commission, divergent treatments of the marquetry and metal inlay strongly indicate that Pottier and Stymus made this secretary, along with other related pieces, for the Hopkins interior. Hopkins and his associates in the Central Pacific Railroad called upon the top New York firms to outfit their new residences in San Francisco’s fashionable Nob Hill neighborhood. To complete these large commissions, firms often outsourced portions of the work to their competitors.

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