Since I took a picture of my crown treasure chest yesterday, and had a couple of comments about the desk behind it, I thought that the 'Friday Favorites' was the perfect category for telling you about it, since it IS my most treasured piece of furniture. My sister Julie found this amazing bit of folk art when she was approaching a junk store in Maryland where she lived and found the proprietor on the front porch with paint brush and paint stripper in hand.
The hard varnish finish on the 19th century combination desk had darkened and bubbled on top of the decorative painting, which dates back to the Victorian Era. (This picture shows the condition of the finish of the whole piece at that time as the sides have not had the varnish removed.)
You can see by the tiny scraped area in the photo to the left, that the desk is solid oak. The antique dealer had scraped it to be sure of the wood before he decided that it would be worth more stripped. Ouch!! My sister has amazing taste and a love of all things folky and funky. She told him she wanted it as-is, and was willing to pay almost as much as the stripped desk would bring ....
She took it home and lovingly scraped off the darkened varnish with a shard of glass from an old bottle. It was painstaking and a real labor of love. It was also her favorite piece of furniture. Where I got lucky is that when she decided to move from her lovely historic two story farm house in a college town in Maryland to a simplified existence in the hills of West Virginia she sold off most of her antiques.
She originally could not part with the desk, but later when she needed to be driven to California, after having cared for our mother in Utah, to move furniture she owned there, she used the desk as a bribe, a very effective bribe. I would have found a way to drive her to the moon if that is what she wanted. I spent a lovely week meeting her friends in Northern California. Definitely the best
knows it is just as beloved as it was when she was housing it. I have made a few changes, such as taking out the mirrors that once lined the book shelf section, and painting out the hot pink inside the desk cubbie area. Otherwise I feel like its caretaker, and smile every time I see it. It is definitely the crowing jewel of the parlor it inhabits.
It currently does a fine job of housing my children's bust collection. I hope you enjoyed the story of this great bit of folk art. I sometimes wonder about the loving care of the artist who created it. It is also a great bond between me and my sister who lives 2,000 miles away. Love you Sis!