Original and Modern Polishes

T is necessary for a proper understanding of what is commonly known as "original polishes" or "patina" to describe in detail the various processes which English furniture has undergone during the last three centuries.

All polishes have primarily a double object, to enhance the appearance of the wood, and to act as a preservative against the ravages of worm, dust, dirt and the like.

The earliest polishing known consisted in well oiling the wood with nut or poppy oil, which was sometimes dyed by the immersion of alkanet root in the oil for some days before using. When this had thoroughly permeated the grain of the wood, and had hardened somewhat by exposure to the air, beeswax dissolved in turpentine—to the consistency of a thick paste—was rubbed into the pores and polished by repeated friction with a brush. After each operation, lasting some hours, the piece was allowed to stand for a day for the turpentine to evaporate and the wax to harden, when the process was repeated at intervals, frequently extending over many years, as there is no doubt that furniture—especially Tudor and early Stuart oak—was periodically renovated in this way. To this long-continued friction with turpentine and wax is due the beautiful colour—resembling fine old bronze—and glossy surface, of much of the best examples of Elizabethan oak furniture in many of the historical mansions of England.

When walnut superseded oak in popular favour, the time of the working and manufacturing classes began to have a greater commercial value, and the original process of waxing was evidently found too tedious and expensive. The method then adopted was to varnish the wood with a brush—copal varnish being usually employed.* It was probably noticed that previous oiling of the wood had the effect of darkening its colour, and causing the varnish to crack or blister, as no friction and consequent amalgamation of the surface polish with the underlying oil was possible, and this oiling was therefore dispensed with. After two or three coats of varnish had been applied-—each being allowed to become thoroughly hard before the next was brushed on—the finishing of the surface was effected with beeswax and turpentine in the same fashion as before. This previous varnishing of the wood had the effect of considerably shortening the process of polishing, but it was open to several grave objections. Writers on this subject have

frequently commented on the liability of walnut to the attacks of worms, a liability shared equally by birch, beech, sycamore, chestnut, pear or lime tree, but no one appears to have noticed that these woods in their natural state are seldom affected in this way. The supposition that the worms are attracted by the resinous varnish is therefore exceedingly strong, especially when it is remembered that Tudor oak is comparatively free from this kind of ravage, unless it has been varnished.

Throughout the whole of the eighteenth century, the method of polishing described above persists. The modern method of so-called French-polishing, which will be described in detail later on, could not have been known until about 1820 or 1830, as the " English Empire " furniture of about that date is the earliest which can be definitely described as having been originally French-polished ; all of the earlier mahogany, where so treated, having been done at a subsequent period to its manufacture. The method of differentiating between the original and subsequent polishing will be apparent when the process is described later on. Before leaving the subject of eighteenth century polishes, it will be instructive to give Thomas Sheraton's description in the article under that heading from his Cabinet Dictionary of 1803 :—

" POLISH :—Is to give brightness to any substance. The method of polishing amongst cabinet-makers is various, as required in different pieces of work. Sometimes they polish with beeswax and a cork for inside work, where it would be improper to use oil. The cork is rubbed hard on the wax to spread it over the wood, and then they take fine brick-dust and sift it through a stocking on the wood, and with a cloth the dust is rubbed till it clears away all the clemmings which the wax leaves on the surface.

" At other times they polish with soft wax, which is a mixture of turpentine and beeswax, which renders it soft and facilitates the work of polishing. Into this mixture a little red oil mav occasionally be put, to help the colour of the wood. This kind of polishing requires no brick-dust, for the mixture being soft, a cloth of itself will be sufficient to rub it off with. The general mode of polishing plain cabinet-work is, however, with brick-dust and oil, in which case the oil is either plain linseed or stained with alkanet root (see ALKANET ROOT). If the wood be hard, the oil should be left standing upon it for a week ; but if soft, it may be polished in two days. The brick-dust and oil should then be rubbed together, which in a little time will become a putty under the rubbing cloth, in which state it should be kept under the cloth as much as possible, for this kind of putty will infallibly secure a fine polish bv continued rubbing ; and the polisher should by all means avoid the application of fresh brick-dust, by which the unskilful hand will frequently ruin his work instead of improving it ; and to prevent the necessity of supplying himself with fresh brick-dust he ought to lay on a great quantity at first, carefully sifted through a gauze stocking ; and he should notice if the oil be too dry on the surface of the work before he begin, for in this case it should be

353 2 v re-oiled, that it may compose a sufficient quantity of the polishing substance, which should never be altered after the polishing is commenced, and which ought to continue till the icood by repeated friction become warm, at which time it will finish in a bright polish, and is finally to be cleared off with the bran of wheat en flour.

" Chairs are generally polished with a hardish composition of wax rubbed upon a polishing brush, with which the grain of the wood is impregnated with the composition, and afterwards "well rubbed off without any dust or bran. The composition I recommend is as follows :—Take beeswax and a small quantity of turpentine in a clear earthenware pan and set it over the fire until the wax unites with the turpentine, which it will do by constant stirring about ; add to this a little red lead finely ground upon a stone, together with a small portion of fine Oxford ochre, to bring the whole to the colour of brisk mahogany. Lastly, when you take it off the fire, add a little copal varnish to it and mix it well together, then turn the whole into a basin of water, and while it is yet warm, work it into a ball, with which the brush is to be rubbed as before observed. And observe, with a ball of wax and brush kept for this purpose entirely, furniture in general may bfkept in good order."

The article on alkanet root, from the same source, is given to supplement the above :—

" ALKANET :—A species of Anchusa, as I suppose, the root of which is much in use amongst cabinet-makers for making red oil, the best composition for which, as far as I know, is as follows :—Take a quart of good linseed oil, to which put a quarter of a pound of alkanet root, as much opened with the hand as possible, that the bark of the root which tinges the oil may fly off ; to this put about an ounce of dragon s blood and another of rose pink, finely powdered in a mortar ; set the whole within a moderate heat for twelve hours at least, or better if a day and a night. Then strain it through a flannel into a bottle for use. This staining oil is not properly applicable to every sort of mahogany. The open-grained honduras ought first to be polished with -wax and turpentine only ; but if it be tolerably close-grained and hard and wants briskness of colour, the above oil will help it much. All hard mahogany of a bad colour should be oiled with it, and should stand unpolished a time, proportioned to its quality and texture of grain. If it be laid on hard wood to be polished off immediately, it is of little use ; but if it stand a few days after, the oil penetrates the grain and hardens on the surface, and consequently will bear a better polish, and look brighter in colour."

From about the same date as the introduction of French-polishing, occurs the method of staining mahogany with a solution of bichromate of potash dissolved in water. This not only darkens but also reddens the colour of the wood. Original eighteenth century mahogany varies from a golden to a golden-brown shade : it is never red. Pieces of this hue, where the colour is not due to the overlying polish, have always been subsequently scraped, stained, and repolished. The modern method is unequalled for

producing a rich colour and brilliant surface—that is when the French-polishing has been carefully done—but it is unfortunately not permanent. The bichromate of potash staining is liable to bleach with the action of strong sunlight. The original varnished mahogany will also fade, but the cardinal difference is that the former becomes patchy and opaque, the latter bleaches to a beautiful golden shade with its brilliancy and clearness of texture rather improved than impaired.

It is apparent from the foregoing that modern French-polishing plays little or no part in English furniture of the eighteenth century, but a description of the methods employed may still be of service, if only in detecting the difference between original and modern polishes. The description given applies only to mahogany, although with the exception of the staining, the methods are identical in the case of other woods.

After the surface has been scraped with a steel scraper and carefully glass-papered quite smooth, it is stained with the solution of bichromate of potash in water, of strength according to the colour required. This has the effect of bringing up the grain and making the surface of the wood rough, which has afterwards to be carefully smoothed down with glass-paper after a coating of polish has been applied, care being taken not to rub through the stain or the result will be a patchy surface. A good plan is to rub down the wood before staining with water and a piece of soft pumice-stone, the water causing the grain to rise and the pumice cutting it down again. Mahogany so treated will remain smooth after being stained. When the stain is dry, the next process is to fill in the grain. This is an innovation of the last forty years, the polisher of the early sixties being expected to gradually fill up the grain by working in the polish.

Modern commercialism and the consequent economy of time and labour has devised the method of filling the grain with fine plaster-of-paiis, rubbed in with a wet rag. The superfluous plaster on the surface must be removed before it hardens, or the colour of the wood will be ruined. In good work, " rose pink " is mixed with the plaster to colour it, and to prevent the filled grain showing white when the piece is polished. When the plaster-of-paris has set quite hard the wood is then oiled, either with pure linseed oil or a mixture of equal parts of linseed oil and petroleum, the latter drying more effectually and obviating the tendency of the oil to " sweat " through the covering polish.

When the wood has been thoroughly saturated with oil, it is rubbed dry and allowed to stand, if possible, for a day. The actual polishing can now be commenced. The ordinary brown polish, which is the best for mahogany, is made by dissolving shellac in spirit-of-wine, or more generally methylated spirit. If the solution contain too much shellac the work can be more quickly polished, but will rapidly deteriorate, either by cracking or sweating. The polish is applied with a rubber, usually of cotton wool, which is saturated, a fine rag being placed over it and wrapped round, to regulate

the flow and to prevent the cotton wool from adhering to the surface of the wood. The rubber is applied with a circular motion, care being taken to see that every part of the surface is covered and that the rubber is not allowed to rest on the surface or it will stick. The outer edges of a panel or top require special observation, an old maxim being that the edges require the attention, the centre polishes itself. When a good coating has been worked on, as much pressure being exerted 011 the rubber as possible without causing the polish to flow out in rings, the work should be put aside for a day and allowed to set. The rubber must be recharged with polish just before it is dry

_a dry rubber being likely to scratch the tender polish—but it must never be so saturated that pressure cannot be exerted without causing the polish to run. The more pressure used, the better the finished result will be. After the work has been allowed to stand for twenty-four hours, or longer if possible, the second polishing can be commenced. In the first stage no oil should be used, but in the second a few drops of linseed oil can be flicked on to the surface to facilitate the rubber and to prevent it from sticking. The oil will cause the rubber to leave cloudy smears upon the work, and care must be exercised to see that these smears are kept on the surface and are not allowed to bite into it. The first are caused by the oil and can be removed by the finger; the latter are due to over-saturation of the rubber with polish, and cannot be removed at all. The second stage must be continued until an even brilliant surface is obtained, the same pressure being exerted as before to keep the oil on the surface, this being allowed to remain for the third stage, which is the final and finishing process. I11 all, the same circular motion must be maintained, as if the rubber be passed up and down or across the grain the surface will become striped and furrowed. In the third stage, equal parts of spirit-of-wine or methylated spirit and polish are used on the rubber, more spirits and less polish being added with every recharge, and the whole quantity gradually diminished until the rubber is gradually worked dry. No oil must be used, the object being to gradually absorb that already on the work, which is done by using less polish and more spirit-of-wine. All smears must be carefully worked out. The final process consists in pouring a few drops of spirit 011 to a clean rubber and passing this rapidly over the work, and if this be quickly and effectually done, all oil and smears will be removed. The work is now completed.

It must be apparent from the foregoing that mitred mouldings or sunk panels cannot be properly polished in situ, but must be done when apart, before the piece of furniture is put together, as otherwise the internal angles and corners will be smeared and dirty. It is by this that subsequent polishing can be immediately detected, as it is obviously impossible to wrench glued joints, mouldings, or beads apart for the purpose of re-polishing.

The original varnish of eighteenth century mahogany is justly prized by collectors. Apart from the beautiful mellow tone which age alone can give, the older fashion is far more permanent than the modern method. Unfortunately, when the modern French-polishing was introduced during the first half of the nineteenth century, many of the fine old varnished pieces were wilfully stripped to allow of the new method being used. Again, ignorance and lack of appreciation of the artistic value of these old surfaces, and the impossibility of their replacement other than by many years of waxing and friction, led to many of the fine mahogany pieces of the early eighteenth century being scoured with soda or caustic potash, which, of course, soon removed the old varnishes. I Itra-cleanliness is not always a virtue !

The permanent character of these early surfaces can be best demonstrated by the fact that friction improves them, whereas with modern spirit polish, which is on the surface instead of being an integral part of it, rubbing wears the polish away and leaves the wood bare.

From the foregoing it is apparent that any tampering or restoring of original work, excepting where the piece has been entirely stripped, is at once apparent on close examination. Century-old mahogany is always more or less faded, but the bleaching is only on the surface, and the mere cleaning with glass-paper restores it to its original colour, with consequent loss of the old golden tone so prized by the collector. It is surprising that this appreciation is so comparatively recent. Had the same carelessness been the custom with the cleaning of pictures as in the restoration of old furniture, hardly an " old master " would remain to-day in any but a sadly mutilated state. The history of a nation's handicrafts, as distinguished from their machine manufactures, has an interest which depends so much on the integrity of the examples being preserved, that the fashion for the collecting of eighteenth century furniture, with consequent enhancement of commercial values of the pieces themselves, has effectually cured the mischievous habit of tampering with such of the work of the great eighteenth century cabinet-makers as still exists in its original state, thereby allowing these examples to remain as monuments of the designing skill and conscientious workmanship of the furniture " joyners " of the earlier Georgian era.

Forgeries of English Furniture of the Eighteenth Century.

URING the progress of this book it has been suggested that a chapter on the methods of the antique forger might be added, with advantage to the work. While the subject is somewhat foreign to the general scope of the book itself, which is concerned with the evolution of design in the hands of the various craftsmen of the eighteenth century, the advantage to the collector, for whom this book has been chiefly written, has been considered, and it has been decided to include such information as can be imparted without actual demonstration and comparison, two forms of illustration which are obviously inadmissible in any book by any known reproductive process.

It must be mentioned, at the outset, that this chapter is concerned only with the period circumscribed by the title of the book, which covers the years, approximately, from 1689 to 1800. We can, therefore, begin the subject by dividing the work of this period into four distinct classes. In the first we can place furniture, such as Chinese and Japanese lacquer, which cannot be imitated by European methods; the second includes certain kinds of English lacquer, plain walnut and marqueterie furniture, which it is not commercially practicable to reproduce; the third contains furniture, usually of provincial origin, which is too simple in character or crude in design to be worthy the attention of the furniture forger; and in the last, and by far the most important class, are examples of walnut, mahogany and gilt furniture, the market values of which are far in excess of the cost of reproduction. We can, therefore, simplify matters at the outset by eliminating the first three of these subdivisions of our subject, confining our attention solely to the last one.

Before considering these forgeries of the eighteenth century furniture, it would be as well to define exactly what is implied by a "forgery" in this connection. The meaning of the term may be briefly stated thus : a reproduction only becomes a forgery when an attempt is made to artificially impart an appearance of age to a piece which does not properly belong to it, with or without an intention on the part of its maker to deceive. This latter condition is necessarily implied, as an article of furniture which has been spuriously aged and frankly sold as a reproduction by one ma}7 be, and frequently is, represented as a genuine antique by another.

In an investigation of this kind, our starting point is necessarily the genuine article itself, and it is frequently a nice point to decide where antiquity begins and ends. With

regard to a ehair or bookcase, for instance, which is in its original condition, untouched excepting for a century of wax polishing or friction, there can be no dispute; but pieces of mahogany, walnut, or gilt furniture in their original eighteenth century condition are so exceedingly rare that in the majority of eases the}7 would not be acknowledged as genuine by nine so-called experts out of ten. The greater number of the examples in existence at the present day have either been stripped and repolished, over-varnished, or regilt at a subsequent period. The matter of condition must remain, therefore, a highly elastic one, depending upon the idiosyncrasy of individual collectors. We can safely lay it down as a guide, however, that where a piece has been structurally altered or embellished by the addition of carving, inlay, painting or gilding (not regilding) it is no longer a genuine example and has no right to be referred to as an antique. It matters little whether the additions have enhanced, or detracted from its original value, the integrity of the particular example is gone, and for our present purpose it has ceased to be an antique as much as if a new chair were constructed to fit an old set of castors.

Let us now seek to subdivide antique forgeries in like manner. We can resolve these under three general headings. The first includes all furniture which has been made outright, whether from new or old wood ; in the second we can consider genuine old furniture which has been embellished by the addition of carving, inlay, painting or gilding, none of which are inherent parts of the piece as intended by its maker; and the third subdivision includes those examples which have been constructed from old portions of other articles to form a piece of furniture which is, in its nature, different from the original state of any of its parts. It is a moot point to what extent restorations may be taken, but this latter definition does not touch this vexed question, as a restoration, properly conducted, only seeks to replace parts which are missing, or to mend others which are broken, the intention being to restore a piece to its original condition, not to make something totally different out of the ruins.

A good deal has been written, in books dealing with the subject of English furniture, regarding the methods of the maker of spurious antiques, but each writer has assumed that all such forgeries necessarily fall within the first of the three categories mentioned above. It requires very little experience and acumen to detect imitations of this nature when the eye has been trained to observe genuine examples for any length of time. With mahogany, for example, the actual wood used during the eighteenth century differs very materially from many of the varieties imported at the present day. In the attempt to give an appearance of age, the forger nearly always goes too far ; the piece is not one hundred but a thousand years old, before it leaves his hands. Bleaching is effected by caustics, alkalies, and acids, which destroy the life of the wood, whereas the action of sunlight leaves a golden hue, full of colour and depth, both in walnut and

mahogany. The effect of time and gentle but protracted friction on the sharp edges of carving, rounds off both external and inner edges ; the harsh methods of the " faker," friction with brick-dust or pumice powder, affects only the outer surfaces. The signs of swelling of the fibre of the wood with powerful caustics can also be easily noticed ; old mahogany, in its original state, has a peculiar metallic appearance which is unmistakable.

Experts have various methods of judging the genuineness of antique furniture, but, for obvious reasons, they do not readily impart these to others ; many rely on a species of instinct, and it must be said that first impressions of a piece are usually the most trustworthy ; more mistakes are made by attempting to reason instinct away than by relying on demonstrable data, in a judgment of this kind. There are, however, certain rules which are generally applied, in the case of long experience almost subconsciously so, and in this respect expert instinct may be regarded as crystallised knowledge, which from long use has become practically automatic. The first test to be applied is, does the piece look right ? Are the details such as one would expect in an example of the particular period to which it purports to belong ? If not, are the offending details later than the piece itself ? It is of the greatest assistance to be able, instantly, to know where to look, and what for ; a trained expert will pounce on the weak spot in a moment where the uneducated amateur will aimlessly examine without detecting the obvious. Always look for signs of construction which do not properly belong to the article of furniture in its present state. With a bookcase or china cabinet door, for example, hinged on the end of the case and covering its edge ; if the styles are narrower than the rails, the probability is that the doors may have been added ; they may have belonged to another piece and have been hinged between the ends, and the planing away of the edges where the hinges have been cut in is responsible for the diminution of the breadth of the outer styles. Again, if there are signs of holes which have been filled up, consider whether these may not have been originally tenon-holes, and if these have no present function to fulfil, the doors cannot belong to the piece itself.

The questions of design and proportion are of paramount importance, particularly with chairs. If these be elaborate and original, the general design, proportions, and workmanship are all equally certain to be fine ; it would not have paid to put a large amount of expensive work into a chair without first studying its general lines, and it will be found, with practically all of the eighteenth century work, that general proportions are nearly always automatically correct. Workmanship and constructional details are also of the highest importance: in fact they are the most reliable indications of originality, or the reverse, if a demonstrated opinion be required. A knowledge of

the tools which were used,—and also which were not used,—by cabinet-makers and carvers of the eighteenth century, is a very necessary accomplishment. With practice, the signs of the use of a long "trying-plane" instead of a short "smoother," of an iron or a wooden plane, one with a " single " or a " double" iron, a steel scraper, or a " sanding machine,"—although to do the " faker " justice he does not manufacture on such a wholesale scale as to need the use of power machinery,—can be noticed. There are many chisels and gouges which are used by wood-carvers at the present day which were unknown in the eighteenth century, and as they were introduced especially for certain kinds of work, it follows as a logical necessity that such work must be modern.

Original gilding is the most difficult of all to detect, chiefly owing to the abominable habit which seems to have been general during the early nineteenth century, of patching gilded work with so-called "gold" paint, and this is, obviously, very easy to imitate. Where the original gold surface still exists, one should look carefully for evidences of " toning " ; the smell of turpentine should be sufficient evidence of this. In its absence it is a good plan to take a soft rag and turpentine and endeavour to remove any evidences of age, first cleaning away dust and dirt with a piece of slightly damp cotton wool. The turpentine should not remove anything from clean gold, if it has been applied by the size-water process ; with oil gilding this method will not serve, as the turpentine will remove the gold. Old gilding has a peculiar metallic appearance, and its colour is a pale lemon yellow, as if the gold had been alloyed with a percentage of silver. Where the gold has worn through, the appearance of the preparation underlying it should be studied. In the chapters on mirror frames in the first and second volumes of this book the methods of the various periods were described in detail, and the knowledge of these should prove a valuable guide.

Much of the early lacquer of English workmanship is, in itself, a forgery, an imitation of the imported Oriental work of the period. It varies so much in quality, some examples being beneath contempt, that it is hardly safe to lay down any rules for the detection of frauds. A good plan is to take a coin with a milled edge,—a florin will do excellently,—and wrapping it in a fold of a white handkerchief, make a mark on the lacquered surface. Should this leave a stain on the handkerchief, the piece is certainly a modern imitation. As oil paint does not become thoroughly hard for some years, this is a more reliable indication than would, at first, be supposed. An obvious precaution is to choose a place where the mark of the coin will not show.

It is very unsafe to trust to surface condition with plain walnut or early marqueterie furniture. Walnut bleaches readily with the action of sunlight in a very short time, and this faded walnut has only been prized during the last few years ; before

361 2 z about 1885 it was a sign that the wood required to be scraped and repolished. In the opening chapters of the first volume of this book the peculiar qualities of original Queen Anne varnish were described at length, and it is not necessary to add anything here. With marqueterie furniture the " springing " of either the inlay or the veneer often necessitates the reapplication of the hot caul, with consequent repolishing. Generally speaking, early walnut and marqueterie furniture is too costly to reproduce with advantage, considering the relatively low prices which pieces realise in the salerooms.

Original satinwood is the most difficult of all the eighteenth century work to forge, and it is hardly ever seriously attempted. The later eighteenth century pieces were frequentty copied during the years from about i860 to 1885 ; but the golden, figured East India satinwood was usually substituted for the straight-grained, lemon-yellow West India, and as the general proportions of these later pieces are usually very clumsy, they need deceive no one acquainted with the eighteenth century work. The usual trick is to embellish the genuine plain satinwood with painting of garlands of flowers, medallions and the like, and although the gradual sinking of the old colours in the pores of the wood renders the distinction between old and new decorative painting very marked, it is difficult to indicate this difference without examples and ocular demonstration. It will be noticed, on close examination with a magnifying glass, that the outer edges of original painting of flowers and the like are never quite sharp ; they have the appearance of a photographic image thrown slightly out of focus. This is due to the gradual uneven sinking of the paint and the action of the atmosphere on it. This, however, is a point where a few minutes of careful observation are worth hours of explanation.

So far, the obvious " fakes " referred to by so many writers on this subject, such as single chairs with added arms and the like, have been ignored. These are the clumsy methods of a bygone generation. It is generally assumed by those writers already referred to, that the " faker" begrudges an extra hour or two of labour on a piece, on which, if it be successful, he expects to be recouped for his outlay, possibly tenfold. Thus Mr. Owen Wheeler, in his description of some antique forgeries, refers to the tracery in cabinet doors as being frequently " laid en bloc over a large pane of glass," and "where framed separately, the joints are frequently 'snick-fitted'"—whatever that may mean—" on the dovetail principle, this being a much less costly means of production," c\:c. &c. The absurdity of the above hardly needs comment ; when an expert's wits are pitted against those of a clever forger, who is engaged in a game where the prizes are high and the chances very much in his favour, it is very bad policy to underrate his antagonist. He would certainly not credit him with attempting to imitate the fine cabinet-making of the eighteenth centurv, which commands relatively

enormous prices at the present day, and then seeking to " scamp " his work in a way that would be thought reprehensible even in an East-End " sweating den." The forger of antiques is an artist, of a very high order, in a discreditable way. Age can be imitated in so many different ways ; compare, for instance, a stone building in a pure country air with a similar building in London, or a cabinet kept in the drawing-room of a mansion, probably covered up with dust-sheets for the greater part of a year, with another left to rot in a damp cellar; and it will be understood that the writer, with a workshop training, still finds it advisable to keep himself well acquainted with what is being made in the " antique world," and to study, at first hand, the little peculiarities and details which characterise the work of each maker. To thoroughly know the subject of antique furniture is the study of a lifetime ; nearly every day adds to the store of knowledge acquired. In this connection one is reminded of the story of the professor to whom one of his pupils was outlining his plans for the future when he ceased to be a student. " Cease to be a student ! " exclaimed the professor ; " I am thrice your age, and I am a student still ! "

Antique Collecting

Antique Collecting

ABOUT fifty years ago, when the subject of English furniture first began to be studied and to be written about, it was divided conveniently into four distinct types. One writer called his books on the subject The Age of Oak, The Age of Walnut, The Age of Mahogany and The Age of Satinwood. It is not really quite as simple as that, for each of the so-called Ages overlaps the others and it is quite impossible to lagt down strict dates as to when any one timber was introduced or when it finally, if ever, went out of favour.

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