De Wolfe, Elsie, 1865-1950 / The house in good taste
XVII: reproductions of antique furniture and objects of art, pp. 254-268 ff.
THE HOUSE IN GOOD TASTE happy with a false object and a fake bauble as if he possessed the real thing, and therefore it were better to leave him to his illusions; that it is his own fault; that it is so much the worse for him if he is deceived. But-you can't leave the innocent lamb to the slaugh- ter, if you can give him a helping hand. If he must be a collector, let him be first a collector of the many excel- lent books now published on old furniture, china, rugs, pewter, silver, prints, the things that will come his way. You can't begin collecting one thing without develop- ing an enthusiasm for the contemporary things. Let him study the museum collections, visit the private col- lections, consult recognized experts. If he is serious, he will gradually acquire the intuition of knowing the genuine from the false, the worth-while from the worthless, and once he has that knowledge, instinct, call it what you will, he can never be satisfied with imitations. The collection and association of antiques and repro- ductions should be determined by the collector's sense of fitness, it seems to me. Every man should depend on whatever instinct for rightness, for suitability, he may possess. If he finds that he dare not risk his in- dividual opinion, then let him be content with the things he knows to be both beautiful and useful, and leave the subtler decisions for someone else. For instance, there are certain objects that are obviously the better for age, the objects that are softened and refined by a bloom that comes from usage. 258
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