Thursday, September 30, 2010

Welsh Dressers and Some Jacobean Things

Continuing with my favorite pieces, I want to show you a reproduction that I really like.  It is a copy of a Welsh Dresser from the 1920s and represents furnishings designed for the Tudor Revival architecture that was popular in the 1920s and 1930s.  Quality does not require that a piece be original or one-of-a-kind.  It should – to reiterate – be a good design using excellent materials and produced with the finest craftsmanship.  This piece meets all three criteria.  It is scaled down a bit compared to an original eighteenth century Welsh dresser but the resizing was thoughtfully executed so the balance is intact.
The material – oak – is correct and the finish – dark and hand polished – is exactly what you want to see.  The heavy brass teardrop styled pulls are also correct and – most importantly – they do NOT have a protective coating on them.  You want the patination that exposure to the air will bring; you do not want brasses that perpetually appear brand new.  (There are a few exceptions to this rule but none of them apply to furniture; furniture brasses should age).  The turned wood legs and appliques on this piece really just make my heart sing.  The turned wood elements, such as the bead applique and the dentil on the bonnet, are exquisite and have been appropriately scaled to this particular piece.  The piece is assembled with traditional cabinetmaking methods.  And the piece has been loved and cared for throughout its life: it feels like satin when you run your fingers across it.  Original eighteenth century Welsh dressers sell in the $10,000 range.  Excellent reproduction pieces are about half that whether they were made eighty years ago or last week.  I got an email from one of my favorite Atlanta stores advising me that they have just received a new shipment.  The store – Joseph Konrad – is absolutely one of the most reputable dealers in the southeast.  In addition to fine antiques they also offer an excellent line of finely crafted reproduction pieces.  I am very fond of their English pieces.  Although their inventory is very comprehensive, I particularly think of them when I am looking for something with a Jacobean feeling as I know of no one who carries a broader selection of pieces of this type.  There were no Welsh dressers among the pictures they sent but they are a reliable source for these if you are interested.  You can see from these pictures the sort of fine quality they offer. 

One of these is a long server that could be a dresser base.  It features handsome turned legs and excellently detailed and appropriate appliques.  It could work as a sofa table or a hall entry table or as a buffet in the dining room.  The other is a three shelf étagère.  I just love these things – and they are not easy to find.  They make wonderful bedside pieces with room for everything: a lamp, the book you’re reading, books you want to read, and plenty of room for coffee in the morning.  They also work in sitting rooms, family rooms or as small servers in dining rooms where plates for upcoming courses can be stacked below.  They also work well in home libraries with books sorted all about them.  The turned legs on casters are just wonderful.

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