Recently I saw a painting that really should not have featured any furniture at all. My reaction was, “Well that was unexpected.” Have I become more attuned to the presence of furniture (the non-upholstered kind) after reading and indexing several books for Lost Art Press. Have I been spending more time finding images of furniture and woodworking than watching cat videos? Yes, I think that must be it.
So, I did a review of some of my saved images, a few books and films and started noticing…Windsor chairs. I guess in the past the birthday cake and the cats in 1950s-era dresses distracted me.
One of my favorite books is “Under the Cherry Blossom Tree – An Old Japanese Tale” retold and illustrated by Allen Say. Maybe I should have noticed this before with all the time I spent on “Campaign Furniture.”
In my 1968 copy of “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame and illustrated by David Stone I stumbed on this cozy scene. Previously, I focused on all the cute little mice crowded together and warming themselves by the fire. Now, all I can see is the (Furniture of Necessity) settle.
In Hitchcock’s 1954 film “Rear Window” James Stewart lives in a really neat studio apartment. The focus is on him, what Grace Kelly will wear in the next scene and what are the neighbors up to. Did you know he had a tansu in his apartment? In 1954?
I have a tansu so maybe I’m a little tansu-sensitive. But did you notice the two in last year’s animated “Big Hero 6”? A fairly large tansu with sliding doors and multiple drawers was in the workshop where Hiro is putting armor on Baymax.
The better tansu is in Hiro’s bedroom. The bedroom is stuffed with detail and it was hard to get a good long look at the tansu. By watching one clip about 30 times I did get the configuration figured out. The top two-thirds: five square equal-size drawers run lenghwise on the right; on the left side there are four drawers with the top three of equal size, the lowest one is about half again as deep. The next section has sliding doors; the bottom section is one full-width drawer.
You might be wondering which painting started this whole thing. It was an 18th-century Korean painting with tansu. Since this is a somewhat family-friendly blog only the edited version can be shown:
I was searching for examples of traditional Korean furniture and this painting was in the search results. It is from “An Album of Erotic Paintings.” There’s no need for furniture in this type of painting! By the way, the giggling girl is pointing at something hilarious.
I’m going to make my searches much, much more specific in future.