From the Ah-Tay Workshop, Binondo, Manila Don Casimiro Gonzales Tinio aka Capitan Berong Dona Bernarda Sta. Romana Tinio de Gabaldon Senen Tinio Gabaldon Maria Luisa Valera Gabaldon de Campos Heirs of Maria Luisa Valera Gabaldon vda. de Campos
Ah Tay, the foremost furniture maker of the 2nd half of the 19th century, had his workshop in Binondo. His clientele included, not only the rich families in Manila and the big hacenderos in the surrounding provinces, but those as far North as the Ilocos and South to the Visayas. This was due to the quality of his work, which was second to none and, therefore, in great demand.
This sofa originally belonged to Casimiro Tinio, the country’s largest landowner and the 2nd richest man in the Philippines (next to Marsman), when he died in 1923. It was inherited by his daughter, Bernarda Tinio de Gabaldon, who kept it in the Casa Hacienda of the 5,000+ hectare Hda. Bertese (BERnarda-TEresa-SEnen) that covered the whole town of Quezon, Nueva Ecija. Bernarda’s estate was inherited by her son, Senen Gabaldon, who gave the sofa to his daughter Maria Luisa aka Maita.
This sofa is locally-known as Mariposa Sofa, because its shape resembled that of a butterfly (mariposa in Spanish). It was influenced by the Belter Style of furniture that became popular in the US after 1850. Made of veneers and usually upholstered with horsehair, the style underwent transformation when it became fashionable in the Philippines as the Revival Luis Quince Style. Solid narra instead of veneer was used in its construction and, due to the hot and humid climate, the upholstery was dispensed with and replaced with rattan caning. This elegant sofa has a pair of short cabriole legs in front and splayed back legs. The arm support consists of an acanthus leaf scroll emanating from a graceful inward-curling volute that has a small curl attached that becomes the arm.
The serpentine-shaped seat, caned in 1 piece, has the front of the seat frame carved with a narrow apron of symmetrical curved and scrolled moldings. The back follows the serpentine contour of the seat frame and is composed of 3 balloon-shaped backrests, each resembling that of a Luis Quince side chair with the middle one lower than those on either side. A caned panel in between connects the backrests to each other. The balloon-shaped grooved frames and caned backrests are surmounted by a pierced crest featuring a central tri-lobed flower flanked by graceful leafy scrolls interspersed with berries.