The blog has turned into a record of my furniture these days…. i had to drive all the way to mass on Friday just to get vet care for one of my cats…i haven’t paid retail for a vet for decades, so it was pretty disturbing to get a quote of $600 for an ear hematoma with a straight face no less. It was worth the drive to mass to get helped out by the vets down there. I had sworn off driving back and forth on the same day, but i do seem to be doing it more often than not and in between i drive around visiting friends who just happen to be home… but while i was down there I bought a chair i didn’t need…$9…and it turns out most of it is 200 years old.
When I saw it at the ReStore i knew it was ‘something’, it spoke to me and said take me home, hang your semi dirty clothes from my thumbs. So I did. It has character, it has wabi sabi…or it IS wabi sabi…i am not sure if it’s a noun or an adjective…or can it be a verb?
I love a puzzle. a long long time ago it seems, I was an antique dealer for a few years…back when i was married and broke and selling my personal belongings, i spent a little extra and trolled thriftshops and find stuff to resell. I can’t say it was fun..i was married. unhappy and broke, but it kept me busy and I learned a shit ton about a LOT of things. I can usually tell at a glance that something is ‘good’, if i am in an upscale shop i know i can’t afford it, but once in a while a blind pig finds a truffle in a thrift store. Considering how much furniture i have divested I don’t really NEED anything else until the 2nd floor is open but i can always find room for a dainty little chair. Besides MY other spindle back side chair didn’t make the move, it got damaged and I didn’t want to look the damage everyday so i curbed it before i moved. This chair has been professionally repaired at one time…but it seems from the wear on the overcoat of varnish, it was a long long time ago. I love things that tell a story…this says that someone loved this chair…or at least valued it a la Lovejoy and thought it was worth fixing…well three of the legs seem to be from a much later vintage but they are still pretty old too.
I spent practically an entire day, taking close up photos and researching it online…that sort of entertainment alone was worth $9 to me. once I finally found other examples I was a little freaked to date the chair to the 1820s…i had figured it was 1850s, but all my micro examinations tells me it’s older..way older… while i was happily google searching images, I actually found a cache of well researched magazine articles about American Furniture over at Chipstone…thanks fellas… Nancy Goyne Evans seems to be the big brain when it comes to American Chairs these days..especially these Windsor styles.. her article Frog Backs and Turkey Legs: The NomenClature of Vernacular Seating Furniture 1740-1850 is pretty extensive and fascinating. According to Evans, 1820 saw a change from 7 spindles down to 4 or 5 spindles in these white pine side chairs, and after 1830 there seems to be a drift towards multiple crest and ladder backs.
Like I said I had all kinds of fun researching this puppy. Something that occurred to me while i was doing all this crazy highway driving, that my brain seems to be WORKING these days… I confess I am getting a little hyper stimulated by straight caffeine pills in the morning, but while I am awake I can actually THINK, it’s been a long time since that was both true. In the end I decided to just hanging the chair on the newly painted wall in the kitchen. I hadn’t found anything I owned worth the space, the Transmetro poster migrated to the bedroom so the wall was just hanging out looking lonely. It took me a couple of hours to cut a rail and find the appropriate iron hooks and get everything painted so the chair would be secure and safe. I didn’t have any shaker pegs, just cast iron hooks…but i had some plastic tubing from the fish tank, so in the end the chair is quite safe and can hold apparently at least one 15 lb cat. In another home I supposed it would hold silk flowers or old books…in my house…it’s cat asses… but then this little old white pine seat has already seen 200 years of ass, what’s a few more?