Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.
As some of you may be aware I had a chair selected for a gallery show at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford. The show was sponsored and presented by the SAPFM. Needless to say, I was surprised and honored and very excited to go.
The museum is housed at the Veeder Mansion in Hartford, at the edge of the University of Hartford. The house/museum is spectacular, built in the 1920's and finished mostly in Mission Style, above you can see the quarter-sawn white oak panels in what was the library. Mr. Veeder invented the mechanical counter and had a factory not too far from the house, where it remains to this day.
Here you can see the counter he invented, that's where the money came from. At my old work, we used this to tally the lumber, so this was really cool for me. Below you can see the linen fold carvings on the molding if you look closely.
Here is a beautiful painting of the Hartford area. This whole painting was on one wide pine board.
Rich Mallay, the head of collections, was nice enough to let me tag along when they went to the attic to get a piece for a show and I was blown away. There were racks and racks of Windsor chairs and high boys and tea tables and dressers and anything else you could think of.
The Windsor below was made by Ebenezer Tracey, a fairly well-known and very prodigious chair maker from Bristol, Conn. He built a lot of chairs, and I was thrilled to see a writing arm of his.
Another view, note the leg cut-outs.
Above you can see the trademark Tracey leg. Note how the bulb above the birds-beak forms a vase, not the straight you see today, and he also did not have a fillet and birds-beak at the top, he simply ran the vase up in what I think is a very graceful sweep, amazing. The stretcher is a little different, with a squarish swelling and nodes at the ends. I'm not sure if this is a typical Tracey feature or not.
A couple of gorgeous, stunning Continuous Arms. Look at the turning on the arm posts.
I will be doing another post ( or more) on this trip. Thanks to Rich Malley, and Kyle Sprague and Ben Gammel who work at this wonderful museum. And another thanks to Mickey Callahan from the SAPFM for putting the show together. More to come.
If you are in the area, or looking for a great trip to take, check out the museum and the show that runs through the summer.