Fancy Chair No. 7 Maker, attributed to: Wenzel Friedrich (American, born Bohemia, 1827–1902)

after 1885

American Decorative Arts

On view, 1st floor, American Decorative Arts before 1900

Popularized in Germany in the 1830s, horn furniture was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace in London and then in America at an exposition in Chicago in 1876. It became popular for its link to the natural world and for the eclecticism it added to any interior. By the late nineteenth century, it was being produced in large numbers in the Midwest using horns from the longhorn cattle that had ended up in slaughterhouses in Chicago and Kansas. Bohemian-born Wenzel Friedrich introduced horn furniture to San Antonio, producing a wide range of furniture and decorative arts made from Texas longhorn cattle. By 1889 he had published an illustrated catalogue of his offerings, including the Fancy Chair No. 7. The near extinction of the Texas longhorn around the turn of the twentieth century put an end to most horn-furniture production. The seat on this Fancy Chair is upholstered with ocelot fur. The ocelot, a species indigenous to the Americas, has also faced severe population decline in the United States.


Cow horns, brass, glass, and ocelot skin


37 × 32 1/2 × 23 in. (93.98 × 82.55 × 58.42 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of William J. Hill

Accession Number



19th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Gift of William J. HIll to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., in 2012
  • American Art: Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2023), 172–73, no. 76, ill
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