A Delightful Day of Furniture Fellowship

Today was a crisp clear day in the Mid-Atlantic.  Whether it is the “calm before the storm” or the “calm before the slush” remains to be seen, as will be revealed over the next 48 hours.


One of our SAPFM Chesapeake Chapter (thanks Jonathan!) organized an informal gathering at the National Gallery for a gallery walkabout through the Kaufman Collection, probably the best easily-available-to-the-public exhibition of historic furniture in DC.

After first gathering at the Cafe next to the skating rink in the NGA Scultpure Garden, where we had a rollicking good time of swapping tales, we headed over to the Gallery.


I’ve been to the exhibit several times before, and am still struck by the amazing scagliola (inlaid marble) featured on this table at the beginning of the exhibit.


It wasn’t long before clusters of folks formed and flowed looking at the amazing furniture of those makers who went before us.


I find myself increasingly attracted to more restrained forms.  I can appreciate the ornate and opulent — I am working on the Roubo project after all, and what is more outlandish than some French marquetry? — but the understated expression of some Federal pieces is particularly strong in my eyes.


Just before we left the exhibit, Dan asked me about some of the detailing on this over-the-top Federal sideboard.  Fortunately I had already covered that ground for my friend Betsy Davison’s book on the idiosyncratic furniture maker John Shearer (it’s a great book; buy it!).  The feature in question was some incised and punched detailing on the marquetry, with the incising filled with either asphaltum or pitch to provide the black line accents.