Kimbel and Cabus

These photographs of furniture in the “modern gothic” style are taken from a rare trade catalog in the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum Library that is one of the only remaining visual records of furniture designed by the renowned New York cabinetmakers Kimbel & Cabus. Inspired by the writings of British designers Bruce J. Talbert (d. 1881) and Charles Locke Eastlake (1836-1906), this firm developed a line of furniture in the 1870s that won great acclaim at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. Their designs are characterized by the use of ebonized (blacken or stained) woods ornamented with incised gilt decoration, inlaid tiles and painting, medieval patterns, distinctive strap-like hinges, and forms that reveal the structure of the piece. By the late 1870s, the firm was the leading interpreter of the gothic revival style used for furniture and interiors in America. Kimbel & Cabus was dissolved in 1882 so that each partner could then go into business with their sons.