The Journal of San Diego History
January 1966, Volume 12, Number 1
Elvira L. Wittenberg, Editor
Tim MacNeil, Asst. Editor

In steps to help recreate influences of Spanish and Mexican California, the Serra Museum acquisitions committee has added considerably to the furniture collections. Two of the new items, a harp and a chair, may be seen on display in the museum. A piano is still under restoration.

The harp, bought in Mexico and donated by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Chmiell-Frenzel, has been singled out by Willis C. Baldwin, a local authority and craftsman of string instruments, as a fine example of work done by Sebastian and Pierre Erard of France more than 100 years ago. The museum staff contacted Mrs. Gertrude Peterson, president of the San Diego Chapter of the American Harp Society, in regard to restoration. At Mrs. Peterson’s suggestion, Arthur E. Matz of the Lyon Healy Harp Salon, Los Angeles, supplied the necessary materials and counseling to bring the harp into good condition.

A beautifully carved state chair, on display at the museum, is believed to be an old copy of a throne of Isabella I of Spain. This chair, donated by Albert J. English, of Coronado, is being featured in a display of early Spanish and Mexican California. The faces on the arms are sculptured in mahogany, and a circular design of leaves decorates the surface of the legs and back.

Also included in the donations of Mr. English were a Spanish chair, dating approximately 1700, which is carved of pear wood, finished in gold, and displaying a headrest of gold embroidered on velvet.