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Secretary

Artist/Maker:
Rembert, H.
Place Made:
Burke County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1810
Medium:
walnut, yellow pine
Dimensions:
HOA: 46 1/8; WOA: 49 1/2; DOA: 24 3/4
Accession Number:
3335
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Secretary: Three lower drawers, each with three rectangular panels set off by string inlay with rectangular inlays and lunetted corners; prospect door has same inlay with an additional oval inlay; on either side of prospect door are two sets of two pigeon holes above one drawer, for a total of 8 pigeon holes and 4 drawers; hidden drawer behind prospect; light and dark inlaid band separates apron from main body; floral inlays in a circle on the skirt; brass galleryl around top of piece.

MAKER: Although the inscription on this secretary indicates its maker, dates the piece, and identifies the place it was made, the cabinetmaker “HRembert” has proven difficult to identify. Several Remberts lived in Upstate South Carolina in the early 19th century, probably immigrants that were descendants of the French Hugenot population from coastal SC. In fact, an artisan named James Rembert advertised himself as a “Cabinetmaker & Upholsterer” working in 1810 in Gerogetown, SC. Whether James Rembert is in any way related to H. Rembert is unknown.

A second piece made by H. Rembert, a desk and bookcase, was made for the Robert Potts family in Mecklenburg County, NC, and dated 1806 (MESDA Object Database: 55142). Rembert appears to have been an itenerant artisan who moved from Upstate South Carolina to Mecklenburg County, NC, to Burke County, NC. What we know for sure is that he was a talented craftsman, probably of French descent, who worked in the early 19th century in the southern central piedmont of NC. Until more information about him can be found, he remains a bit of a mystery.

History:
The secretary belonged to Brigadier General James Green Martin (1819-1878), who commanded Confederate forces in the district of Western North Carolina until he surrendered on May 6, 1865 and retired to a legal practice in Asheville, North Carolina. It was subsequently acquired from his estate by Mr. and Mrs. J. Taylor Amiss of Asheville.
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Douglas