"This four-piece bedroom suite was designed in the exotic-inspired Anglo-Japanesque style. Popular in the late nineteenth century, it combined aesthetic traditions from the West with those of the East. Following the opening of Japan to the West in 1854, Europeans and Americans became mesmerized with that country's art and culture. Cincinnati was a center for this so-called “Japanese Mania.”
Japanesque elements used in this suite’s design include dragons, frogs, birds, and painted panels of Japanese women on gilt backgrounds. Although we do not know who painted the panels, it is interesting to note that the activities being performed by the figures depicted on the bed and the washstand reflect the intended use of both furniture forms—a reclining figure on the head of the bed, and a figure with a water jug and frog on the washstand.
Mitchell & Rammelsberg was Cincinnati’s largest and most successful furniture company throughout the nineteenth century. Two surviving labels, a0xed to the back of the dresser, indicate that Mitchell & Rammelsberg made the suite and sent it to upstate New York, where it was sold alongside the more widely recognized and esteemed wares of Herter Brothers and Pottier & Stymus. This, and the suite’s magnificent design, are testament to Mitchell & Rammelsberg’s national importance and success."