256 pages, 13.1 × 10.6 × 1.11 in
August 22, 2013
The Monacelli Press
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1580932592
ISBN - 13: 9781580932592
Read from the Book
A Passion for FurnitureDavid LinleyWhen someone says to me, could you have chosen something to do other than furniture, I say no. Why? Because it is the most difficult world in the most difficult medium for the lowest amount of profit – in a nutshell, it appeals to my perverse nature. My personal motto is Always Do The Difficult Thing. What else could have given me so much pleasure by being so difficult? Furniture also brings together two passions in my life: mechanics and materials. From the time when I was very young, I loved taking things apart – my Go Kart, bicycle, and, when I was older, my motorbike and MG sports car. Even now, I go on a motorbiking holiday each year with a group of friends from Parnham College, and instead of riding sleek, reliable, modern machines, we use a motley collection of vintage bikes. The point is that one at least is bound to break down and part of the fun is waiting to see which one it will be and then having the joy of taking it apart and putting it back together again. Of course this is probably not everyone's idea of a great holiday, but for us it becomes part of folklore.My favourite visits as a boy were to the Science Museum in London, because everything from the power of steam locomotives to the finetuning of scientific instruments resonated with me. Inanimate objects over which you have full control, can find out how they work, how they were made and what they were made with, give huge pleasure. This pleasure is something I share with
Table of Contents
A Passion for Furniture
David Linley and Charles Cator
1 Why Furniture Matters
2 The Beauty of Furniture
Balance, Proportion, Form and Colour
The Magic of Mechanics
3 The Golden Ages of Furniture
Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome
Ming and Ch’ing
William and Mary
Newport and Philadelphia
The Court of Catherine the Great
Arts and Crafts
American Studio Furniture
4 The New Golden Age
5 How to Treat a Star
Commissioning your own Star Piece
Buying Antique Furniture
Designers and Galleries
From the Publisher
Furniture has star qualities unlike any other object:
It is both functional and decorative, yet it can connect us to history and far-flung places around the globe in the same way a Renaissance painting sends us back in time or a photograph takes us to a beloved overseas locale. Furniture also appeals to four of our senses at once: we see the way it makes an otherwise dull room into a glamorous one; we touch its sleek modern lines and soft fabrics; we hear hinges creaking; we smell the rich scents of antique wood and leather.
The authors, each of whom are experts on furniture, share their knowledge of its value and importance from an intellectual and emotional perspective, and describe how best to assess it from an aesthetic one, exploring styles, techniques and materials. They introduce twenty golden ages, from the ancient world to the twentieth century, by way of such rich moments as Ming in China, Italian and French Baroque, Chippendale in England, the designs of Newport and Philadelphia in America, Neoclassicism in France, Russia and Sweden, Biedermeier, Shaker and Art Deco. They also spotlight the most brilliant contemporary international designers, both those who see furniture as akin to fine art and those who simply enjoy the craft involved. They explain how your own star piece can enrich an interior with glamour, drama and personality and advise on how to commission a unique handmade piece and buy antique furniture.
Two of the field’s foremost experts – David Linley, who rose to the head of his profession after founding his own firm in 1985, and Charles Cator, who holds special responsibility in furniture and decorative arts at Christie’s International – provide unsurpassable guidance, with their intimate understanding of the subject from both a commercial and enthusiast’s perspective. Combined with Helen Chislett, who offers insightful comments from her experience as a writer on decorative arts, no group of authors is better suited to discuss these topics. Their illuminating text is supplemented by rich and varied illustrations – details of carving, ornamentation and upholstery, views of different styles of furniture used in historic and contemporary interiors, original drawings, and spectacular pieces, both antique and contemporary.
About the Author
David Linley is chairman of Christie’s UK and chairman of Linley, the bespoke furniture company.
Charles Cator, a respected furniture historian, is deputy chairman of Christie’s International.
Helen Chislett is a writer on interiors and decorative arts.
"[Star Pieces] is a story about the synergy of the arts in today’s world . . . The book is a beauty."
—New York Social Diary