Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Worth every penny for the smile on his face!

 


Well, this is the piece of furniture which brought  a huge grin to my husband's face last week.  We popped into a house clearance shop in town.  There was nothing there of interest to us until we spotted this poor unloved settle, though the lack of an arm wasn't obvious until a big box was moved off it.    Not that something like that bothered Keith . . .  It's 17th C, probably Welsh  and has seen better days. It looks like it may have been knocked over as the seat is split, but Keith will mend that and also the split panel on the back.  Apparently the arm was taken off by the landlady's behest so it fitted into a corner . . . I would have thought that would have weakened it, so I'm not taken in by that tale. The strengthening bars between legs and seat are added later too, and the back legs are replacements spliced in - probably to replace ones weakened by woodworm. 


This is the design, rather Palmette in pattern.  Haven't nailed it down yet though to a particular area.  The settle came from a Welsh pub, but not necessarily Welsh of course. . . I love the way the design is wonky showing a slight lack of skill - perhaps someone still learning their trade.   We'll never know for sure.


 
Theo saying, "It's not heavy, really!"  I love the original design along the front.  I have never seen the dot and lattice pattern before.  Again, perhaps repurposed from something else.  The seat looks later, so it's got quite a history!

The initials look to be a bit of an afterthought.  It may have been a marriage piece originally. 

Anyway, we got it for half the asking price as the shop owner was keen to get rid of last year's stock which had been lingering due to the Lockdowns. As I said, it was worth every penny for the pleasure it has given Keith, who has already drawn out the pattern for the replacement arm and found a suitable piece of wood.



18 comments:

  1. What a great find!!! I don't blame Keith for having a smile on his face.

    God bless.

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    1. It was good to see him like his old self again. A year of lockdown and health problems have not been conducive to great joy. It obviously had our name on it - most dealers wouldn't want to take on a piece which needed that much work.

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  2. Lovely. 17th and 18th century furniture is so amazingly inexpensive at the moment. If I had warehouse space I would be buying as much as possible. I think you do comment moderation? I tend not to go back to those who do, so forgive me if I don't respond to anything else.

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    1. If I tell you this cost just £75 you'll know what a good buy it was! Like you, had we more room we would be stacking it high too, but we've downsized to less than 2,000 sq. feet (from 4,500 sq. feet) and although we have a Victorian stable block, that too is full of "stuff" including useful bits of wood!!

      I do comment moderation because I got fed up with Spam.

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  3. In the U.S., that is so "old" that it would be in a museum somewhere! We just don't have much in the way of old things. What an amazing settle.

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    1. Oh there are thousands and thousands of pieces of antique furniture, some better than others, some virtual museum pieces but still in stately homes or with those that can afford them.

      Nice that you appreciate it and its guessed-at history.

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  4. Well, that's a cracking little find, and I am sure it will be lovingly and sympathetically restored to a new lease of life. You will share it's progress, won't you?

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    1. Of course, there will be updates on how it's progressing.

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  5. Wow, looking forward to seeing what he has done to it!!

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    1. You may have to be patient, as his right arm isn't working as it used to, but he'll get there.

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  6. What a curious piece, with the carvings along the front looking like they are sliced off something similar to the back panel.
    Have fun restoring - I expect a lot of people would have chopped it up for firewood years ago!

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    1. I think some of it is definitely repurposed - the Victorians were fond of this!

      Sadly, some of the best pieces of vernacular Welsh furniture ended up on bonfires when old folks died and the younger ones didn't want "that old rubbish" . . .

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  7. I can well see why you and Keith are happy with this purchase. All sorts of lovely bits of history embedded in the piece. The lack of perfection is what makes it special in its own way as you have noted in your description of its various aspects. Can just imagine Keith rubbing his hands together in anticipation of the challenge to repair/restore it. Well done!

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    1. He was delighted to find it! Furniture was our original stock in trade - Keith would buy something like this, do it up and sell it on. Back in the days when the antiques trade was totally different than it is now (lots more junk about now) and antique furniture, even the lesser bits, were valued.

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  8. What a great find! Having the carved initials makes it extra special, in my opinion. Could you trace the owners from the house it came from? Could the back's motif be a very stylised Tree of Life?

    lizzy

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    1. I think it could be a very stylised Tree of Life, but even in our swanky specialist vernacular furniture books, nothing like that design. Impossible to tell who S and W might have been as this has gone from pillar to post down the years.

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  9. Keith will make a handsome piece of that--and I trust we'll see photos of its reincarnation.

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    1. I will look forward to showing you in due course Sharon. So far all he's done is found the wood and made a pattern . . .

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