Since the summer months I’ve been sifting through every source I have to see if I have found a good idea for my next book, or just several thousand photos of furniture in neatly arranged folders on my laptop.
In some ways, I don’t really want to know the answer to the question.
Still, I keep amassing data from sources ranging from auction catalogs to the Early English Books Online (EEBO) data base. And after sorting through more than 10,000 images I think that things are coming into focus.
The thrust of the book is that there are several forms of furniture that haven’t changed significantly during the last 300 to 500 years. And those pieces of furniture, which show up repeatedly in the archaeological record, are the pieces of furniture that look simultaneously ancient and modern – depending on the context.
And that curious characteristic is important to people who want to make work that is divorced from style or fashion.
Today I stumbled on a great drawing that shows this idea fairly well. It’s of a trestle table – one of the 14 forms of “elemental” furniture I’ve identified. If you look at the drawing and ignore the style of the drawing – clearly early 20th century – you might just see what I see.
It’s a trestle table from the Tudor Renaissance – 1509-1603.
Or perhaps Lucy is slipping extra peyote into my coffee. Either way, it will be an interesting book.
— Christopher Schwarz