De Wolfe, Elsie, 1865-1950 / The house in good taste
XVII: reproductions of antique furniture and objects of art, pp. 254-268 ff.
ANTIQUE FURNITURE pursuit, an obsession, and it grows with what it feeds on. As in objects of art, so in old furniture, the supply will always equal the demand of the unwary. The serious amateur will fight shy of all miracles and con- tent himself with excellent reproductions. Nothing later than the furniture of the Eighteenth Century is included in the term, "old furniture." There are many fine cabinet makers in the early Nineteenth Cen- tury, but from them until the last decade the horrors that were perpetrated have never been equaled in the history of household decorations. I fancy the furniture of the mid-Victorian era will never be coveted by collectors, unless someone should build a museum for the freakish objects of house fur- nishing. America could contribute much to such a collection, for surely the black walnut era of the Nine- teenth Century will never be surpassed in ugliness and bad taste, unless-rare fortune-there should be a sudden epidemic of appreciation among cabinet-makers, which would result in their taking the beautiful wood in the black walnut beds and wardrobes and such and make it over into worth-while things. It would be a fine thing to release the mistreated, velvety wood from its grotesqueries, and give it a renaissance in graceful cabinets, small tables, footstools, and the many small things that could be so easily made from huge un- wieldy wardrobes and beds and bureaux. The workmen of to-day have their eyes opened. They have no excuse for producing unworthy things, 263
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