Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Surprises at Every Turn, or, the Odd Desk

By: John Hart, Assistant Curator of Collections
It’s not really a secret around the curatorial department that I like furniture, especially desks and chairs. Always have, likely always will. It’s weird really when you think about it. I could have so many more “normal” hobbies as a 25 year old, yet I’m drawn to antiques. In the same breath I blame and thank my grandfather and my great-great uncle for this love affair. My grandfather left me a 1929 Model “A” Ford when he died; my uncle left me two late 19th-early 20th century violins and a host of books when he passed. Both of them taught me to appreciate antiques and to take care of them, which is probably why I ended up going into the museum field.
Imagine then, if you will, my amazement as a student, and later in my current position when I found a desk, taller than me, that was married to a bookcase, had pressed glass handles, and was painted blue and green on the interior. I’m not sure shocked even begins to describe what I first thought. But someone obviously appreciated the desk (the original piece) and the bookcase (the later addition) and wanted to have one piece of furniture that they could use and enjoy. Why it has a blue interior on the bookcase and green shelving in the desk area is beyond me, and I doubt we’ll ever know, but it adds charm to the piece regardless.
The desk dates between 1830 and 1870 and is a matched piece. If you look at the writing surface, the outline looks a little weird. That’s because there should be leather or other material present as a softer writing area. It was used in Hartwick, NY, just over the hill from Cooperstown and we think that is where the whole of the desk was built. It’s pretty plain over all, but it worked well for someone. It’s definitely worn and used, but has to be one of my favorite pieces in the collection.
Stay tuned, next time I’ll show pictures of our Roundabout or Corner chair from Sir William Johnson. You won’t believe what that was used for, but it’s still a great piece.


Anonymous said...

Great blog... I also love antique furniture. :)

Anonymous said...

I like the combination... ~ Joy

Blog Widget by LinkWithin