This sofa is a period substitute. It was purchased with funds from Ms. Olivia De Jane. Although there are no known photographs of the Music Room or evidence that the original exists, researcher Deborah Kraak was able to get an idea of what it might have looked like.
The orignal bill-of-sale from A.H. Davenport & Co., Boston, which lists the furniture purchased for ‘Iolani Palace in 1881, shows the purchase of a “centerpiece” or center sofa for the Music Room at a cost of $176. By comparing this with the higher priced Throne Room center sofa ($275), whose style we can see in historic photographs, one can infer that the Music Room sofa was considerably simpler. [Bill-of-Sale courtesy of the Hawaii State Archives]
[Image of Keoua Hale provided by Hawaiian Historical Society.]
An example of what a simple center sofa might look like is found in a photograph of Princess Ruth Keliiokalani’s home, taken circa 1883. The sofa can be seen in the mid-ground, pretty much at the center of the photo. It is lifted off the floor with turned wood legs which happen to be similar in style to the Davenport furniture ordered in 1881. The legs and lower back also give the sofa a lighter more intimate feel, which seems suitable for the private apartments.