Finishing Up The Italians.

To finish up this topic, I went back through nine months of auctions looking for more Italian furniture. I discovered I didn’t take pictures of a few I thought looked too French. I am not a big fan of overly decorated French furniture. My prejudice got in the way of my search for the truth, a mistake I promise not to repeat. In the future, I will check the online catalog first and then ignore only the true French furniture.

Apparently, the commode (a chest of drawers or chiffonier of a decorative type popular in the 18th century) was also very popular with regional collectors of Italian furniture. Or the Italians made a lot of this very common form. The form may be common but the level of decoration is not. Then again, it could be that the collections of primitive/undecorated furniture has not yet hit the market. Or people don’t collect primitive Italian furniture. Or maybe it was just burned as much old furniture was.

First up is this:

Antique Italian Parquetry Inlaid Commode

IMG_6085

This lot has sold for $1,200.

Description: 18th century, walnut, with burlwood, ebony, and mixed wood veneers, rectangular form, banded top with geometric and star inlay, three drawers with repeating star inlays to drawer fronts and sides, raised on square tapered legs.

Size: 39 x 51 x 24 in.

ConditionFair condition; with veneer chips and loss; shrinkage cracks throughout; ill fitting drawers; insect damage; replaced and repaired legs

IMG_6084

Detail of the parquetry on the top.

IMG_6086

Similar to the parquetry on the drawers.

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The side is equally decorated.

IMG_6088

And here is a non-historically informed repair. The mmending plate is Chinese.

Parquetry or marquetry. Click HERE for one opinion. For this blog, I quote the source. Spelling errors are theirs.

Next is this:

Italian Parquetry Inlaid Commode

P1020505
This lot has sold for $5,500.

Description: 18th century, mahogany veneers, light and dark wood inlays, pine secondary, rectangular top with allover geometric inlay, the molded edge with notched corners, the case featuring three long drawers with geometric inlays, flanked by corner posts featuring lightwood inlays to each side, left and right side panels feature complementing geometric inlays, raised on square tapered legs.

Size: 34.5 x 49 x 23 in.

Condition: Top with light warp; shrinkage separation cracks to left and right side panel; three later support boards to underside of case.

Estimate:   $1,000 – $2,000

The estimate was a bit off. It always depends on who shows up.

P1020506

Unique escutcheon.

And then there is the:

Italian Marquetry Inlaid Commode

P1020428
This lot has sold for $900.

Description: 18th century, mahogany veneer, pine secondary, the rectangular top with a banded veneer border featuring a lightwood inlaid central urn flanked by swans, the case with three long drawers, featuring inlaid lion heads, swags and tassels, paneled stiles with inlays, side panels with inlaid with wreath torch and archery bow, raised on square tapered feet.

Size: 34.5 x 48 x 22.5 in.

Condition: Replaced pulls; cut and repair to right front corner edge; light veneer buckling and separation shrinkage cracks; veneer chip and loss to lower drawer edge; some veneer patches to drawers; estate condition; two brass handles need repair or replacement; drawers do not operate smoothly; will need a tune up.

Estimate: $800 – $1,200

A much better estimate.

P1020429

There be swans.

P1020430

A replaced pull but still quite interesting. But when was it replaced? And why?

And finally our parade of commodes come to an end with the:

Italian Neoclassical Inlaid Commode

P1020446

This lot has sold for $3,200.

Description: Circa 1800, mahogany veneers, satinwood inlays, the rectangular top featuring centralized figural scene featuring a soldier with mother and child set within a rectangular vine and leaf border, the case with three inlaid drawers, the upper drawer with urn and dragons, each stile with ebonized applied half column, the whole raised on straight rectangular inlaid feet, inlaid side panels with figural scenes.

Size: 32.5 x 45.75 x 20.5 in.

Condition: Minor chipping and veneer losses throughout; replaced pulls; some replaced back boards, needs some tune-up.

Estimate: $600 – $900

Any commode tuners out there? Estimate was again a bit off but in a good way.

P1020449

They like to decorate the sides, as well. Undecorated boards on the back., however.

P1020447

Cupid in brass.

To finish with something completely different:

P1010889

One of two. This lot has sold for $50. A bargain. Canes not included.

Description: 19th century, walnut, scrolled carved ears, molded arms, stretcher base with relief carved shoe feet.

Size: 52 x 25 x 21 in.

ConditionNeeds upholstered; insect damage; chips and losses especially to arms.

Shouldn’t that be Needs to be upholstered?r Needs upholstering?

Enough of the Italian for now. I’ve run out of major pieces. Maybe some Italianate  furniture down the road a bit.

You Can’t Ignore the Italians

I am embarrassed to admit I don’t feature much Italian furniture. But it’s not my fault. There just isn’t that much identified Italian furniture at the local auctions and antiques shops. Identifying Italian furniture in the absence of clear labeling would require research and actual knowledge, things I avoid as contrary to my better nature.

Recently, a local auction house had two sales with an interesting selection of identified Italian furniture. They frequently have things like mirrors, lighting fixtures and paintings that are allegedly Italian but this blog is The Furniture Record not The Decorative Arts Record. 

Here, I present three desks identified as Italian.

Antique Italian Inlaid Diminutive Knee Hole Desk

P1030040

This lot has sold for $240.

Description:  19th century, walnut, pine secondary, top with barber pole inlay and applied molded edge, seven lipped drawers with repeating barber pole inlay, spiral twist carved quarter columns, paneled and inlaid sides, repeating inlay and carving to back, raised on fluted legs.

Size32 x 36 x 20 in.

Condition: Insect damage; surface scratches; shrinkage crack and small loss to top; age appropriate wear throughout.

P1030067

Reverse/public view.

P1030041

I thought i’d never admit it. but there are drawers without dovetails. Rather thick drawer bottom.

P1030074

Sides are decorated as well.

 

P1020977

Greg legs as well.

Next desk is this:

Antique Italian Paint Decorated Secretary on Chest

P1020828

This lot has sold for $625.

Description: Circa 1800, pine, enhanced painted surface, hinged lid, with monogrammed floral panel, interior with three drawers, lower cabinet with three lipped drawers with repeating floral panel decoration, on square tapered legs.

Size: 46 x 50 x 24.5 in.

Note: Piece is accompanied by letter in Italian attributing it to the Val Pusteria region.

ConditionEnhanced painted surface with scratches and staining throughout.

P1020829

Is this the enhanced painted surface.

P1020835

Turned pull.

P1020833

A very simple gallery.

P1020830

With three dovetailed drawers.

P1020832

Interesting hinge on the slant top. Note how the hinge is nailed onto the carcass.

P1020836

The hinge is attached to the slant top with clenched nails. This is not how Thos. Moser  does it.

P1020834

Main drawers are dovetailed as well. More thick drawer bottoms.

And saving the most fanciest for last:

Antique Italian Inlaid Secretaire Bookcase

P1020519

This lot has sold for $1600.

Description: Circa 1800, fruit wood with burl wood, light and dark inlays, pine secondary, two-part form, upper case with applied molding and banded inlay, upper cabinet door with paper lined interior over open compartment and two small drawers flanked by faux drawer cabinet doors with shelved interior, lower case with slanted double panel inlaid lid with three drawer interior flanked by two canted inlaid panel drawers over two block front inlaid panel drawers raised on square tapered legs.

Size: 75 x 42.5 x 22 in.

Note: Attractive diminutive size for this form; appears to retain original brasses.

ConditionInsect damage; crack and repair to pediment; loose escutcheon; shrinkage cracks to sides and back panel of case; veneer chip and repair near front left leg; other areas of restoration.

It has issues, OK?

P1020520

Paper lined interior needs a little work.

P1020521

On either side, doors not drawers. What’s Italian for trompe l’oeil? Actually, it’s trompe l’oeil.

The center door locks, the outer two doors have a unique and elegant locking system:

P1020522

A wedge is inserted through the carcass and engages with an outer door. One lock but three doors are locked.

P1020533

A fiche hinge on a piece of furniture that’s not French.

P1020525

SOme dovetailed drawers in the gallery.

P1020530

Four differently dovetailed drawers.

P1020531

Six dovetailed drawers below.

P1020527

Genuine Italian ring pulls.

Next up, more Italian furniture.

 

Wicked Sharp(ener)

I recently came across this at an auction:

George Kent’s Antique English Rotary Knife Sharpener

P1020922
This lot has sold for $700.

Description19th century, oak case with iron and brass mounts, with direction plate and labels.

Size: 18 x 17 x 8 in.

Condition: Surface stains and separation cracks to case; appears to be in working order.

For an explanation of the device, read the device:

P1020923

The label says it all.

P1020922 - Version 2

Not that informative, I just like the look.

Some information from the Live Auctioneer website:

A Rotary disc hand-operated knife sharpening and cleaning machine. The oak drum sits on 2 iron brackets. Produced between 1850 and 1900. Made by George Kent of High Holborn London. Knives are placed in the slots at the top of the rotary oak box. Inside are roller sharpeners, buffers, and bristles that sharpen, clean, and polish the knives. An abrasive powder was poured into the machine as the polishing agent. These machines were very popular before stainless steel knives were made.

If you are interested, there is a longer article HERE from the New-York Historical Society.

I sometimes get so involved in taking the pictures that I don’t really pay attention to what I’m taking pictures of. All technique and no context. This item was one of those items lost in the fog. I vaguely remember taking the pictures but only became aware of it when I was reviewing my pictures for the blog.

This is one of those things I might have wanted to own. As I have mentioned before, I am not a collector. More an accumulator. A collection implies intent or pursuit of a goal. For instance, acquiring every known variant of the type 608 Stanley Bed Rock 24″ jointer plane in existence (and a few only imagined.) That’s a collector.

As an accumulator, I am more likely to come across something interesting or novel that is sufficiently different from things I own and take it home, if priced reasonably. My wife believes that as we get older we should be actively deacessioning, that is, owning less, getting rid of things. I am stocking up with the intent of offering one of the most interesting estate sales in the Triangle area, creating opportunities for the next generation of accumulators.

Doing research, I saw that there were  several of these devices sold at auction for amounts in the $300’s, fairly high for something that’s just amusing but not out of the question. I was relieved to see it sold for $700, definitely in the collector range. Way more than amusing.

On a different topic, anyone willing to share their opinions of Fine Woodworking Live? I attended several Woodworking in America‘s but I believe it is dead. There was a time when I knew most of the people in the Popular Woodworking building but that time is now gone. Well, I do know David Thiel but we were never that close.  And if nothing in this paragraph makes any sense, don’t worry. Your much better off not knowing or caring.

And if not knowing bothers you that much, Google it.

Two Over Three

When you’ve look at as much furniture as I have, you start to notice some patterns. I was looking through the last year of pictures and I became aware of how many two over three dressers I have seen recently. Two over three is a configuration where there are two side-by-side drawers over a stack of three drawers. It makes sense that you might want smaller drawers for your socks and unmentionables/tidy (tighty?) whities.

Two over three is a common form but there is a wide variety within that form. There are fancy ones:

DSC_6296

Love the veneer and cockbeading.

Plain ones:

DSC_6094

Stripped to its essential self.

And all things in between:

DSC_7626

Well, more fancy than not,

Little ones:

IMG_5569

Either a small dresser or a really big tag.

And big ones:

P1020894

Big but still not a tall boy.

And there are variations like:

IMG_4048

A two over three desk. Only one I’ve come across.

IMG_6721

A chest on chest that is actually three over three over three with fan.

IMG_6718

A two over four.

IMG_3878

A three over two over three on stand.

And, last but not least:

P1020817

The legendary one over three.

It’s been a while since I have done a major photo upload. Until tonight. I have 221 pictures on flickr including dressers and interesting details like dovetails:

DSC_6148

Thin pins are not an anomaly.

And unique brasses:

DSC_4810

A pull you don’t see every day.

All these and more can be found HERE.

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle.

You might remember this one from our last visit:

Antique French Country Cupboard

P1030046

Description: Late 19th century, pine, single board top with through tenon construction, case with three drawers beside a paneled door raised on four legs.

Size: 39 x 47 x 16 in.

Condition: Surface stains; shrinkage crack; loss to right edge; later feet.

P1030047

But there are a few other this that make this cupboard interesting:

P1020869

Top seems to be joined with mortise and tenon not dovetails. Could be big dovetails hidden under the top molding.

P1020872

Fanciest of fancy handles on the door.

P1020860

The drawers are of course dovetailed or it wouldn’t be interesting.

The drawers have a unique feature:

P1020861

Glue blocks in all four corners.

This is the first dovetailed drawer I’ve seen with glue blocks and you all know I’ve looked at a lot of drawers.

I pulled out the drawer to see what I might see and saw this:

P1020864

It’s almost something.

Pulling a second drawer revealed this:

P1020867

Williamson *agor & Co.?

The partial name is interesting and the lower drawer runner looks like it had once hosted a hinge. A quick search on my mobile, handheld search device came up with the name Williamson Magor & Co.  From Wikipedia:

Williamson Magor & Co. Limited is considered one of the pioneers of tea business in India. It was set up in the year of 1868 in Kolkata. (formerly Calcutta, India)

Further searching found this:

P1020870

N.S.T.E.Lo. is unknown to me but I think I understand 2-28 and Calcutta.

An educated guess woould be that the intenals of this cupboard were made with a repurposed tea crate and might have been made as late as 1928.

Let nothing go to waste.

It is a rather crude piece of uncertain age. Not the best but it certainly serviceable.

A Chest of Drawers With an Identity Crisis

A few years ago I photographed this item:

George III Chippendale Chest of Drawers

DSC_4923

This lot has sold for $1, 107.

Description: Circa 1780s, mahogany, mahogany veneers, oak and pine secondary, top with applied molded edge above a Chinese Chippendale fretwork frieze, two over three cock beaded graduated drawers flanked by chamfered corners with conforming fretwork, raised on ogee bracket feet.

Size: 35 x 37.5 x 20,5 in.; Case width 35 in.
Private Collection, Durham, NC

Condition: Old but likely replaced ogee bracket foot base; drawer runners and guides replaced; replaced brasses with plugs.

DSC_4931

This must be that Chinese Chippendale fretwork frieze of which they speak.

DSC_4924

Cockbeading and recessed dovetails.

I examined the drawer front and saw ghosts of past lives:

DSC_4925

This pull may not be original.

The inner view of the drawer front tells more of the story:

DSC_4929

It might have started with a center pull knob…

Aestetics change over 230 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief Survey

After the amazing success of my recent blog on support systems, I knew I needed to do more on the topic as soon as possible. Turns out last week’s auction presented me with six more examples to share. Five were from last week’s auction. One was from the previous auction but still in the building.

First up:

Edwardian Step Back Bookcase

P1030038

This lot has sold for $240.

Description: Circa 1900, mahogany, three-part form, molded cornice, hinged glazed doors, louvered shelf interior, lower case with two paneled drawers over two relief carved hinged doors, on molded flush base.

Size: 87 x 48 x 17.5 in.

Condition: Retaining old glass; case with surface scratches and staining; no key. (Horrors)

P1030039

More of the sawtooth supports. Rip or crosscut, I can’t say.

Second:

George III Inlaid Mahogany Secretary Bookcase

P1030042

This lot has sold for $800.

Description: Early 19th century, oak and pine secondary, two-part form, carved and reticulated broken arch pediment with shell inlay, dentil and drop finial molded cornice, hinged doors with astragal molding, louvered shelf interior, slant front lid with inlaid conch shell and corner fans, interior with floral urn inlaid prospect door with interior drawer, flanked by pigeon holes and banded drawers, over four graduated cock beaded drawers, on straight bracket feet.

Size: 101 x 42 x 20 in.

Condition: Upper case with later molding which disabled original pediment form being attached; eight inch sliver of wood loss to right upper door edge; one cracked glass panel; no key; later pulls in later holes; some veneer chips and loss.

with pediment

With the un-attachable pediment.

And what do we see  inside:

P1030044

More of the same.

And the ever popular number three:

American Late Classical Mahogany Secretary Bookcase

P1030055

This lot has sold for $300.

Description: Circa 1840, mahogany veneer, poplar secondary, two-part form, cove molded cornice with a peaked pediment above a bookmatched veneered frieze, two hinged glass doors above two small side-by-side drawers, the base with hinged fold-out writing lid above three long drawers, on straight feet.

Size: 82 x 37 x 18 in.

Condition: Later glass; wear to lid and writing surface.

P1030053

Angled cuts galore. Cup hook is not original.

Our fourth contestant is:

Antique French Country Cupboard

P1030046

This lot has sold for $525.

Description: Late 19th century, pine, single board top with through tenon construction, case with three drawers beside a paneled door raised on four legs.

Size: 39 x 47 x 16 in.

Condition: Surface stains; shrinkage crack; loss to right edge; later feet.

P1030047

Crude but angled.

More on this cupboard tomorrow. Or soon at least.

And now for something different, number five:

American Late Classical Secretary Bookcase

P1030050

This lot has sold for $210.

Description: Circa 1840, mahogany, mahogany veneers, white pine secondary, two-part form, pronounced ogee cornice surmounted by a relief carved crest featuring a central shell, above a veneered frieze with applied carving, two hinged glass doors, shelved louvered interior above two side-by-side drawers, the base with hinged fold-out writing lid with writing and inkwell above an upper serpentine front drawer above two long drawers, scalloped skirt on bracket foot base.

Size: 92 x 41 x 20.5 in.

Condition: Old surface; some veneer chipping, losses, and buckling especially at cornice and feet; several veneer chips present in envelope; shrinkage crack to left and right side lower case.

And now the different part:

P1030051

Round stuff.

And now for something even more differenter:

French Marquetry Inlaid Bibliothèque Deux-Corps

P1030070

This lot has sold for $3,200. Plus 18% buyer’s premium. Plus 7.5% NC sales tax unless a tax number is on file.

Description: Mid 19th century, mahogany, mahogany veneers, pine secondary, two-part form, cornice with applied molding above a cove molded inlaid frieze set above four glass paneled hinged doors, the two exterior with slight projecting step, shelved interior with later fabric liner, the base with repeating applied molded edge above a cove molded inlaid waist above four urn and floral inlay hinged paneled doors, shelved interior; all stiles feature a floral and vine inlay with ormolu gilt capitals, raised on shaped bracket foot base.

Size: 95 x 86.5 x 17.5 in.

Condition: Expected shrinkage cracks to cross banded moldings; some minor veneer chips and losses; later fabric lining; later lighting installed to upper cabinet.

Estimate$3,000 – $5,000

French

Their picture without the couch and paper sold sign.

And for the differenter part:

P1030069

Big wooden pins. Original or added with the later fabric?

P1030069 - Version 2

A larger view doesn’t answer the question. Interesting fabric, though.

 

 

It’s Gone Commercial

Steampunk

stēmˌpəNGk
noun: steam-punk

a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.

In my  extensive research in to streampunk, I have come to believe that steampunk started as fixtures of necessity, lights and other devices made from scavenged and found parts. They were first made by persons with a non-standard number of teeth and a look in their eyes that makes you glad you left your spouse and children at home.

IMG_7292

A steampunk light from the (Bill) Clinton era.

When the culturally aware discovered steampunk, its creation became the domain of MFA’s  named Joshua or Séan/Shawn/Shaun/Chon/DeSean. They have scruffy facial hair and man buns and eyes with a vacant intensity not seen in mere mortals. Five years ago they had dreadlocks, now it’s mostly man buns. And Keens, they all wear Keens.

P1030085

Keens – Official shoes of MFA’s.

The increased popularity of steampunk created an opportunity for steampunk parts makers. On/off switches that look like a shut of valve for instance.

valve

A commercial on/off switch.

This is an improvement. Traditionally, switches were made with an old gate valve, a penny and the foil wrapper of two sticks of Beemans Pepsin Gum. (Not true. Beemans Pepsin Gum didn’t have foil wrappers. It had waxed paper wrappers. Makers used the foil from Juicy Fruit Gum.)

IMG_4072

Steampunk is more than just lights. No braces were harmed in the manufacture of this beer carrier.

IMG_3892

All varieties of steampunk.

IMG_7511

Sometimes multiples are made.

But Now It’s Gone Commercial

You can now get your steampunk fix at mall furniture stores. It’s come to that. Killing time, I wandered into a mall furniture store and saw this:

IMG_7439

You don’t see this in Architectural Digest. Looks like they left some parts off.

And this:

IMG_7445

Chain drive steampunk.

But this really bothered me:

IMG_7447

Real steampunk doesn’t have labels.

There is an implied risk in owning authentic steam punk. Life on the edge. You go to bed each night feeling good that your house didn’t burn down. Today.

They also have faux steampunk furniture:

IMG_7441

Furniture that never was.

IMG_7443

The wheel on the table goes round and round.

IMG_7449

Who can resist alcohol stored in a spherical form?

IMG_9872

Good ideas travel.

As you all know, I am not a collector. From time to time I might find a piece that is culturally signicant and I can justify adding to my non-collection. Recently I was stymied in my attemp to purchase some signicant steampunk art. Three times. They claimed it wasn’t for sale and further, wasn’t theirs to sell:

IMG_3882

This one in Charleston.

IMG_3883

Another one from the same shop.

IMG_6130

And this one in Las Vegas. What’s made in Vegas stays in Vegas?

I really appreciated the abstract representation of our tangled life on the floor to the right.

 

Visible Means of Support

I can’t tell you how many people have asked me for a blog about shelf supports. I could tell you but you wouldn’t believe me. But trust me, the numbers are huge.

There are shelf support systems that go beyond slotted metal strips inlaid into the case sides or brass pins shoved into a series of pre-drilled holes. The simplest and oldest is just dados on the sides:

P1020503

As simple as that, regularly spaced dados.

I have seen dados both added (wooden blocks glued and nailed on) and subtracted (dados plowed out of the sides).

P1020503A

These dados were formed by gluing and nailing blocks on.

One of the simplest to make is:

IMG_0111

Rounded notches.

This system is actually easy to make. Take two boards the length appropriate to your carcass’ height, Drill a series of regularly spaced 1.5″ to 2″ holes (ideally) centered on the boards, then rip the boards in half. Place the boards in the corners of the carcass and you have a shelf system.

As simple as that system is, far more common is the angled notch. First, one with occasional notches:

IMG_0123

Like this one

IMG_0102

Or this one.

Then there is the continuous notches like:

IMG_0738

This

IMG_0117.JPG

Or this

IMG_0219

or this

P1010812

or even this.

There’s even a French armoire with an odd configuration for a corner/quarter shelf:

P1020424

The French seem to love their armoires. There is a fastener toward the top that attaches the top of the armoire to the sides. Most French armoires knocked down for easy shipment.

All the shelves in the above pictures have rabbets on the ends to keep the shelf supports firmly secured in the notched standards.

Last week while visiting Charleston, I came across another variation in this bookcase:

IMG_6583

A nice big bookcase.

IMG_6584

Would you call this an angled dado?

I was having a discussion about the angled notches recently with another woodworker. They thought that the angle notched system would be more secure if it were inverted with the flat up and the angled edges bearing the load. My thoughts are that flat edges were better at bearing the weight since in this system all the weight is borne straight down. In the angled system, the forces would be pushing out trying to force the supports apart. Then you would have to cut the bridging supports at a very precise angle to match the verticals versus just some angle to get the supports to fit within. Thirdly, I’ve never seen it done that way and I’ve seen plenty.

The Tiniest of Details

Two weeks ago I went to the other local auction house and saw this desk:

Circa.1790 Alamance County NC Quaker Walnut Slant Front Desk

    P1020355Realized Price: $875Description: Ca. 1790; 46.75in height x 44in wide x 24in depth; walnut primary; southern yellow pine secondary; beautiful satin wood diamond inlay key escutcheons in fall board and lower four drawers; slant front desk with fitted interior with four graduated drawers below; straight bracket feet; secondary has beautiful rose head nails throughout; overall excellent with very minor repair; medium brown surface finish throughout.

A quick look showed some interesting details:

P1020353

Back was typical except the nails did not look to me like rosehead nails. But, the description was written by a professional (in that they get paid.)

Left side was unusual:

P1020354

It is not unusual to see glued up sides but not usually one board being under 2″ wide.

If you look closely, it does seem that both side boards are pinned to the desk inner structure.

Then there are more odd things like this apparent tenon on both sides:

P1020360

A tenon without a cause. And it too seems to be pinned.

I thought it might be a spline supporting a glued up panel but studying the grain, the side is one board and not veneered.

Then there is this repair on the top at the lock escutcheon:

P1020364

A well executed repair. No telling how old the repair is.

And a few expected things:

P1020362

The carcass is joined with a mitered rabbet, not dovetailed.

P1020356

Dovetailed drawers with cockbeading.

If you look in the upper left-hand of the above image, you can see another interesting little nailed on detail. An odd little point:

P1020357

A little point extending the line of the angled desktop. And some edge banding.

I looked through my library but couldn’t find any more examples of this odd little detail. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, it just means I couldn’t find it. Never hired a photo editor.

Then last weekend we went to Charleston, SC and I saw this:

P1020631

Another desk with the added point.

IMG_6630

The point is definitely added and not part of the original structure. The edge banding is added as well.

An American Hepplewhite Slant Front Desk.
Priced at $695.

P1020632

There’s a desk under there somewhere, trust me.

P1020636

Carcass is rabbeted.

Then, across the aisle is this desk with bookshelf:

IMG_6654

No description available.

And, again the point:

IMG_6646

The point and the edge banding are again applied.

However, the points’ profile continues a molding on the carcass under the slant top.

IMG_6640

The gallery is a bit mundane.

One interesting feature there is that the primary wood does not extend for the whole depth of the gallery:

IMG_6644

Only for the first two inches, then the secondary wood. Material costs meant something then, too.

IMG_6642

Drawers are dovetailed. I thought you’d want to know.

Then, in another shop, this:

IMG_6858

A block front desk with bookshelf with added points, edge banding and molding.

IMG_6850

A more elaborate gallery. No secret compartments.

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Interesting feet.

But then I opened a drawer and saw machine cut dovetails and this:

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Branded. Not old.

Biggs was a Richmond, VA based manufacturer of reproduction furniture that was acquired by Kittinger Furniture in 1975.

Realizing it wasn’t old, I neglected to take a picture of the entire desk as a unit. I do that from time to time, not seeing the secretary for the dovetails. It looked a great deal like a block front version or the  previous desk with book shelf.

The points must have been significant it they are included on reproduction furniture. This is a detail that not many would miss if eliminated.

More research required.

 

A Settle for the Common Man (and by Extension, Woman) (with missing pictures)

A few years back I embarrassed myself by drooling over this highfalutin English settle:

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A fine and fancy English settle. As high a falutin as you can get.

with all its fussy and fancy joinery like:

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dovetails

and

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through tenons.

I will try to redeem myself by presenting this other English settle for the rest (the best?) of us:

Painted English Settle

Description: Late 18th century, mixed woods, with allover old blue-grey paint, one piece form with high concave back and conforming seat, shaped arms, reeded exterior seat rail, rear splayed base, vertical beaded board.

Size: 66 x 78 x 24 in.

Condition: Early, possibly original paint; later tray to original right arm; seat with expected wear; rear left lower panel loose and bowed; overall good estate condition given age and rarity.

Estimate: $1,500 – $3,000

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This lot has sold for $4600.

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Equally noble in profile. Proud of its splayed base.

18th century people must have had smaller butts.

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Only fancy joinery is notches on the sides for the top rail.

There might be something going on with the sides. The sides are not continuous. The boards stop and start at the seat. How the boards tie in to the seat is not clear. Yet, it still exists over 200 years since it was built.

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What mysteries does the molding hide. Too late. The settle has gone to its new forever home. At least until the next auction.

The back boards are beaded but not half lapped or tongue and grooved. The boards are well fitted but not parallel or necessarily perpendicular.

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More later.