In order to know, and understand, how things were made in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries you’ve got to spend a lot of time on the floor (no Bender jokes, please). Looking at pieces from the top down, or outside in, only gives you a small part of the picture. And that’s why you can only learn so much by looking at books and magazines.
Sure, you can read some scholarly text (and more often than not some not-so-scholarly text) and try to relate that to the pictures or illustrations in a book, but there is no substitute for getting a little dirty. I’ve spent 30 years crawling around on some of the best floors in the country.
In a not-so-long-ago-former life, antique dealers and collectors, on occasion, paid me to “vet” pieces for sale privately and at auction. If you’re unfamiliar with the term vet, it basically means I evaluated a piece (or pieces) of furniture and told them everything I found that was wrong. Sometimes that meant I got to examine the pieces in a closed room, and other times it was on the floor of the auction preview room(s). The time to do so was almost always shorter than I would have liked.
What all of that (plus decades of repairing old furniture) has taught me is to look at things with a critical eye. You need to play detective when vetting something and it can hardly ever be done by looking at photographs.
What I’m going to ask you to do is exactly what I said is very difficult to do – look at the photo and tell me what’s new. There are parts of the Newport dressing table pictured that just aren’t correct – they’ve been replaced or repaired. The person who gets the most right in a posted comment below (or you can email me by clicking on my name below) will get a yet-to-be-named prize…okay, I’ll name the prize…the winner gets one autographed copy of each (yes, I know that makes them worth less…) of my “Cabriole Legs Simplified”, “Carve a Ball & Claw Foot” and “Building a Furniture Maker’s Tool Cabinet” DVDs . The two carving DVDs are no longer available and, in a million years or so, could be considered collector’s items. In the event of a tie, I reserve the right to decide who gets the prize (most likely the person who gets them right first according to the timestamp). And, you need to do it by 8am (EDT) Monday morning because that’s when I’ll make the decision. Of course, I’ll post the answers here for your perusal, too. Good luck.
For 7-Thumbs –
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