Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Well-polished Chipboard

At the beginning of the month, I mentioned how I've always struggled to get a grip on mouldings; what's called what, what's appropriate where, etc etc. Well, unhappily, I have similar difficulties with furniture styles. I'm better than I was - walnut came before mahogany, and so forth - but the detail eludes me, and I certainly fail mightily at placing the furniture style in the context of history. It's always been like that; I was useless at music theory too, but I could hold a tune just about okay.

So at the moment I am applying myself to reading Edward Lucie-Smith's Furniture: A Concise History in yet another bid to remedy that. I'm pretty sure I ought to have a copy of Charles Hayward's English Period Furniture and be reading that, but somehow or other I don't have it and I do have this one. Because my mother, bless her, saw it in a charity shop and bought it for me. So naturally I'm reading it; you should always exhibit suitable enthusiasm to encourage family and friends to be inclined to buy any and all s/h woodworking books they might see. You never know what they might find.

Anyway, he's a pretty good read (should be; he's written enough), and does put the furniture into a nice social history context, which works for my poor brain cell. He seems to be a bit of a Makepeace fan, but I'll try not to hold that against him; it was written in the 70s, after all. Alas, I'm getting a bit bogged down in the 17thC at the moment (as is so often the case) - can't see the furniture for the ornamentation, which I loathe - but there is more than enough to keep one interested en route.

For instance, I'd never before heard of a doll's house in Nuremberg, Germany, dating to 1639, but there's a rather dark black and white plate of same, and my interest was piqued. Luckily Google supplies, and it seems it's better known as the Stromer House, and it's absolutely fab. I love it. All it needs is a workshop attached, and I'd live in it. Here are some photos of it halfway down the page - and further miniature marvels as a bonus.

But I must return to my education; a marquetry table from 1690 is now demanding my attention. Too bad the picture is such that it looks less like delicate marquetry, and more an illusion of, um, well chipboard. Well-polished chipboard, mind you...

Oh look, a post title :^)

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