Picture This XLV Redux

How wrong can one be?

Following my (in my defence, not unreasonable – I thought) hypothesis regarding the function of the lopers in Elizabeth Carter’s bureau bookcase in Picture This XLV, I have received a communication from Celine Luppo McDaid, the Donald Hyde Curator at Dr. Johnson’s House.

Celine very kindly attached the following image which is fairly self explanatory.

SONY DSCElizabeth Carter’s bureau’s unusual sloping fall.

In all my years of selling and restoring eighteenth-century antique furniture, I can’t recall ever seeing such a fall and loper arrangement on a bureau of this stature.

On this occasion I am very happy to have been wrong and will add the images to my Anomalous Furniture folder.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in Antiques, Picture This and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Picture This XLV Redux

  1. Paul Murphy says:

    I’ve been kind of reflecting on a related topic for a while now. If I decide to build something that pleases me, but do not adhere to whatever accepted model exists for such an article, I would immediately be branded a “Worshiper of Baal.” If, on the other hand, an antique is found that breaks the very same rules, it is lauded as “important.”
    I’ve enjoyed some of your recent entries displaying traditional cabinets constructed of woods not normally employed in such cases. Heaven forbid I should do the same. I can almost hear the objections that would follow.


    • Jack Plane says:

      I occasionally torment myself when I can picture a particular item of furniture I want to copy, but, for the life of me, can’t remember where I saw it. If I don’t have at least a page of hastily scribbled notes taken from an original, I’m afraid I won’t take saw to wood.

      One of the reasons I like making the atypical items that I have images of, is that I can, on one level at least, quietly thumb my nose at convention.



  2. Graham says:

    This sort of arrangement never crossed my mind but it certainly explains something that confused me when you first posted a picture of this bureau. In Picture This XLV it seemed that the fall front was unusually high off the ground for what I assumed must be a sit-down desk. I thought it might just be a trick of the photograph’s perspective but in retrospect it appears to have been a clue as to the lopers’ function as the height now makes perfect sense given the slanted writing surface.


  3. Vincent Nobel says:

    I am just catching up wit posts. I am happy to see that they did come back to you. That is certainly an interesting construction that i have neve seen before. Not particularly practical without some sort of edge to stop papers or books sliding off.


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