Part Thirty-Five C
“I cannot find Sophia’s desk.” (my grandmother, Part Eleven).
Where is Sophia’s desk?
What is Sophia’s desk?
What COULD happen to Sophia’s desk?’
What SHOULD happen to Sophia’s desk?
Where... is it? I do know. I understand it is ...at the head of a garage bay in one of the H&W couple’s two car garage; in front of the ‘wife’s car’, against the back wall... under an ‘old cloth’. I understand. It is not ‘local’ but is not that far away and is... ‘still in Maine’. It is still a peanut under a shell. I understand I know this; where the shell is ...with the peanut under it. It has been ‘sitting there’ since the January ‘bought in’ auction return. When the desk was ‘brought back’ no one knew what to do with it or where to put it so ...the out of state H&W couple who’d done the ‘that’ of the auction endeavor ‘dropped it off’ at this H&W location where it was “stuffed” (the actual word used) at the back of the garage and has... “been there (undisturbed) ever since” meaning ‘forgotten about’, sort of... too. “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?” is, occasionally, brought up?
Removing the cloth and taking a photograph of it with the cell phone has been done?
That photograph has been ...emailed to more prominent Maine auction houses?
The response to ‘that’ has not been rapid, active and “good”?
I understand this is the circuit in progress.
Does anyone realize how many idiots are emailing crummy photographs of “AN ANTIQUE” “THEY HAVE” that THEY “THINK IS GOOD” to “PEOPLE” “WHO WOULD KNOW” (read “WANT IT”). It is a national pandemic. Where does the email with the photograph go? To a ...staffer... who... “looks at it” and ‘gets back’ “TO YOU”. I consider Sophia’s desk to be safely ‘ensconced’ ‘in storage’. It is being saved for me?
This ‘where’ of Sophia’s desk will become more assured in a few more months... leading to a ...year... leading to a... ‘few years’... as... the H&W trio... don’t ever ‘know what to do’. Within this tale; in Parts Sixteen, Seventeen and Eighteen, I record through another example, this probable direction of the desk. In those parts I record my purchase of much of the ‘inherited’ ‘antiques’ from my grandmother’s heirs TWENTY YEARS after they ...fetched the stuff home and... stored it... for me (?). This ...procedure is complimented by the Mr. Simon’s chest saga of ... that chest being stored in his barn for FIFTY YEARS ‘under a sheet’. Merged, these two destinies of record create a ‘probable’ for the desk... unless it’s... ‘shaken loose’ by ...someone who knows about ‘it’. Am I the only one alive who... ‘knows (FULLY) about it’? Right now I am just ‘letting it sit there’.
WHAT is ‘Sophia’s desk’?
Now we can get ourselves a little dirty. Using a very old and very classic American antiques furniture reference book; Albert Sack, FINE POINTS OF FURNITURE EARLY AMERICAN, Crown, NY, 1950, - the ‘old school’ lay antiquarian slang titled “GOOD BETTER BEST” manual of American antique furniture... WE?
I....: The book, here shown in a beat up dust jacket covered 1977 “twenty-third printing”, is VERY EASY TO FIND and can usually be found being ‘dumped’ at yard sales, etc. “for nothing” ($2.00 or less) by ...those who have no notion of the book’s value, have never seen it, never read it, never looked at it and... never will use it or CARE... just like the H&W trio... This WORK HORSE tome has been a near “ALL I NEED” for me since I was harped at about it and the need for... me... to “memorize it” FORTY PLUS YEARS ago. My grandmother “had it”, “used it” and NEVER MENTIONED IT TO ME EVER. I ‘was told about it’, ‘memorized it’ and HAVE NEVER STOPPED USING IT. I use it with ...emailed cell phone photographs? Isn’t that cute.
I flip to, for our review, Sack’s coverage of ‘Tambour’ desks; pgs. 153-156. This, in redundancies of being brief, show ME ‘good better best’ of ...Tambour desks. Brutally faint and short in both the photographic illustrations and text, these pages burn the house down on “Sophia’s Desk”. I am not going to digest the brutal, faint and short. Sack quickly shows ...the knowing reader’s eye... WITH supportive text... where in the realm of good, better, best Sophia ‘is’. She’s ...pretty good... but not ‘best’. Close runner up. The key points are form... in the three drawer (over the stated preferred two drawer) WITH the proportion of the tambour above (its size with the words “heavy” and “clumsy” used by Sack in the text) WITH Sophia’s having the... balancing-weight reducing... drawers ABOVE her tambour... and... the ‘extra taper’ to the leg bottom but NO inlay and ... one needing to file Sack’s “over done and not properly placed” commentary of inlay... for later.
“Ha, ha, ha” if that was too fast for I did all that way back in the shed room with my “May I?” cell phone photograph. Yeah; I have to be that good that fast or ‘I’m not a player’ (a verbal statement I must utter to I... and all... RIGHT THEN) I recall I said “15K”. I’m a player and we will get to that.
I’m lucky I have my photograph... ‘to check’. After peering at “SACK’S” I bet all ‘can see why’.
So that is that: A good -three drawer- plus; a little big (but not a ‘she’s a big girl’) and... ‘carrying that’. Classic form... balanced well... clean to the eye... and just a little... fancy... a little ...NEW ENGLAND male ...ish... but sized still ‘ok for her’. I bet if Sophia had picked it out herself it she would have picked a ‘lighter one’; a two drawer. The ‘CAPTAIN Merritt Kimball buys a desk’... does show. Doesn’t it? See how good YOUR eye is getting?
Where’d he buy it? I like saying “Salem”. But... this desk is not top tier Salem. Boston? Portsmouth? Portland MAINE? Newburyport? In that order. Anyone of them. It’s not New York. It IS New England. He went into the store, said “That one.” He put it on the boat and sailed it ‘home’. “Captain”. “Sir”. “For my wife”. Girls; don’t let him buy your (antique) desk. Study, get to know someone who ‘knows’ and... buy it yourself.
The shortest cram down is... it is shaken loose by a someone who does one of two things. ONE: Buy it, “restore it” (‘fix it up’; the tambours, etc., so ‘everything works’), “slick it up” (the finish) and sell it... to an appropriate retail collector for their ‘New England Sea Captain’s Mansion’. The key would be ‘buying it cheap, doing ‘the work’ cheap (‘yourself’) and.... AND... selling it ‘to that’ (the sea captain’s mansion).
TWO: Buy it, “restore it”...that is... ‘sophisticate it’. That is... give it a full makeover where EVERYTHING is ‘sophisticated’ including becoming ‘inlayed’.... AVOIDING THE ‘overdone – not properly placed’ noted by Sack... onward to even replacing the drawer front veneers with ‘something fancy’ (bird’s eye maple). Yeah; THAT grade of ‘sophistication’... GOT IT? It WILL BE Salem then. I promise. AND it... is worth doing to this desk for ‘there’s a lot there already’ to work from and... ‘she’ ‘can support it’. Especially with the balancing drawers at the top to ‘keep everyone’s eyes busy’. I’m not going to detail the procedure but a ...partnership... between the owner and the restorer on a restoration that ‘could take several years’ before ‘entering’ the market (as a ‘recently discovered New England furniture MASTERPIECE’). The rule to remember? When ever one is looking at an antique that is THAT GOOD... an ‘over the top’... with a THAT GOOD price tag too... just say ‘sophisticated?’ to one self. I do it all the time and... it works.
THIS desk... shaken loose... COULD HAVE THAT happen... to it. To ... ‘Sophia’s desk’. My grandmother would burst into tears? Her ghost is sobbing?
Then what SHOULD happen to ‘Sophia’s desk’?