Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Sunday Morning Ramble

Sunday is clock winding day. We have two clocks that don't run on batteries- old Granny Botesdale, the long case clock in the room where we do most of our living and a brass bracket clock in the living room where my mother does most of her sleeping in front of the TV. The bracket clock- I'm informed- is a Victorian copy of a 17th century original. If it were 17th century it would be worth rather a lot, as it is it isn't....

17th century clocks are valuable, 17th century furniture isn't because people don't like dark wood. We eat our meals off a gate-leg table that was made during the reign of Charles II- which I think is rather wonderful- but if we wanted to sell it- which we absolutely don't- we wouldn't get any more for it- possibly rather less- than we'd pay for its modern equivalent in Debenhams (if Debenhams still exists.)

My parents (I'm surprised to find myself saying) had good taste in furniture. They bought 17th century; they bought Regency; they inherited my paternal grandparents stuff- predominantly vainglorious Second Empire baroque, heavy on the ormolu- and got rid of most of it; they inherited my maternal grandparents' stuff- well-made but unshowy George III and Regency- and kept most of it. Historic English furniture is so much better than its French equivalent. Louis XIV- who is the person most responsible for the debasing of French design- had lousy taste. Dictators commonly do.

My grandmother was a woodcarver. She appreciated good carpentry, good design. And she knew about antiques- at least she must have done if she'd read all the books she left behind about furniture and silver marks and porcelain factories...
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