Author Topic: Period Furniture Photo Library  (Read 13037 times)

bbaker143143

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Period Furniture Photo Library
« on: September 19, 2008, 10:58:12 AM »
First, has anyone heard if Irion is planning to publish or make available any of their information, photos, drawings, sketches on their Greatest Commission Ever, 90 Best Period Reproductions?

The second part of the question; has the SAPFM ever considered establishing an on-line photo/ plan / study library. We’ve all gone to the major web sites, MET, Winterthur,…, to study what documentation they have on period furniture as well as purchase $100-$300 books hoping for enlightenment, but I’m continuously disappointed in the dimensions given and the photos. The photos are not of the details or angles we as furniture makers would like and the dimensions are usually just overall widths and heights. Most of us don’t need full blueprints, but a handful of accurate dimensions on a piece and we’re off to the races. The other dimensions we need usually can easily be interpolated form the ones we have if the “exact” location of the dimensions is known.  I know that I’ve been allowed to take detail photos (from the angles and of what I want) and measurements on certain pieces that I would be willing to share and I’m sure other SAPFM members would also. If we all thru our photos/sketches/dimensions together it probably would make the worlds’ greatest reference for period furniture from a furniture makers perspective. Any thoughts?

Bob Baker

Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2008, 11:13:46 AM »
Good idea but most members do not have a photographic back drop nor proper photographic lighting nor a hi-tech camera to take accurate photos nor the experience to take high quality photos that you would like.  Just my opinion.

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Cartouche recipient 2009. Retired Dec. 2018.

John McAlister

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2008, 12:10:59 PM »
Bob, I agree with Dennis that really good, detailed, photos are a little hard to come by. I have varying amounts of details; photos, dimensions, sketches, etc on each piece I have made that I would be glad to share with any SAPFM member who asks. I can take and e-mail detailed digital shots of any piece in my house (where most of them are). These bits of info would not satisfy someone interested in an "exact" reproduction. Close maybe; but not all the way there. Contact me off forum.  It would be difficult to put it all together to go in a "plan pool".  Some would want lots of details; others, as you say, "with a hand-full of accurate dimensions------are off to the races!" John McAlister
Textile mfg, 30 yrs. Owner travel agency 10 yrs.
Hobbies other than furniture making include fishing, hunting and tennis. Flew P 51's WWII, 8th Air Force, Europe.

ASwartz

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2008, 12:18:05 PM »
Bob -- I think it is a wonderful idea -- a central repository with photographs, dimensions, and construction details.  Even if the photographs are not professional quality, something is better than nothing!  

Allan D. Brown

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2008, 02:41:34 PM »
I, too, think such a repository would be a great idea. We've recently started a google group -- Chips and Shavings -- devoted to period woodworking. I can't tell you technically how it works (Dean Jansa set it up for us) but it's an efficient way to share information. We're still in our infancy, but such a group or one like it, I think, would be a great way to store and share photos, videos, drawings, specs, etc.
Allan

ASwartz

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2008, 04:41:21 PM »
Allan, could you give a little more information on the google group?  I'm interested in participating.

Allan D. Brown

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2008, 08:00:11 AM »
Sure. Send your email address to me, and I'll have an invitation sent!
Allan

msiemsen

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2008, 02:59:00 PM »
I would think it a good idea for photos of actual period pieces to be described as such and reproductions given the same treatment. Sometimes people make changes without knowing it. It is always best to refer to the real thing, but not always possible. Good luck with this endeavor, it sounds very interesting.
Mike
Mike Siemsen
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There are II kinds of people in the world. Those that can read roman numerals and those that can't

Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2008, 07:55:07 AM »
Who would be willing to take on this huge intense task?

Dennis Bork
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Cartouche recipient 2009. Retired Dec. 2018.

Adam Cherubini

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2008, 10:18:46 PM »
I think this is like the fable about the stone soup.  It just must be started.  It will build momentum as people begin to understand it's use and power.

I'm working on a similar type of effort.  I built an excel spreadsheet of all known cabinetmakers, joiners, and chair makers who worked in Philadelphia in the 18th century.  At this point, it's nothing more than a list, and possibly an incomplete one.  My goal was to figure out how many of them were immigrants.  What I'm really interested in is the mechanism of a regional style.  How did it work, what were it's influences?  Did the buyers demand enigmatic features or did the craftsmen all come from the same place, have shared sensibilities, training, social pressure? 

I began Googling the names on the list.  Isaac Barnet worked for David Evans.  So I googled Evans.  Turns out Barnet may have been one of the 12 journeymen who worked for Evans, when Evans was 26!  Seasoned master indeed.  David Evans made many fine pieces of furniture.  Sold a piece to VP John Adams.  I thought David Evans might have been the son of joiner Edward Evans'.  Apparently not.  Many of you know Edward Evans as he built the "scrutore" that is currently in the Wallace Dewitt gallery in Colonial Williamsburg.  Bess Naylor made a brilliant copy of it a few years ago.

Anyway, it's surprising what google will turn up.  David Evans was born in Philadelphia, the son of a cutler.  He apprenticed under a pair of partners from his Quaker meeting (James Gillingham and Henry Clifton).  They split up during his apprenticeship and the master he stuck with died a year after his apprenticeship or a year before- can't remember.  So Evans got Clifton's shop somehow (we don't know how exactly).  Googled up some old maps.  Clifton's shop was on the North side of Arch street between Third and Fourth directly across from a Friends burial ground which was quite large.  So the front of his shop got good Northern Light, but morning light was obscured and evening light may have been as well. Not sure. Evans had an apprentice in his early years so we could be talking about 14 benches in that "Frame" shop without good light. 

David Evans probably lived in Cherry Street then. Cherry is like an alley and runs parallel to Arch, one block North.  Evans kept a cow.  This block was fairly well populated so I wonder where exactly he kept the cow.  Philly's blocks are large so there may have been enough space in his back yard or a "common" in the center of the block.  But the image in my head is of a much more agrarian life than I originally thought.

This sort of information can be helpful as we consider the influences on design features, the nature of period shops, how much day light they had, whether they lived where they worked, etc.  It began as a simple list in excel.  Nothing more. An hour on Google turned up the low hanging fruit.  If someone hosted databases like this one, others could add information, photos, links, as they became available or were of interest.  Like a wiki page, folks could add info. 

David Evans day book is owned by the Historical Society of Philadelphia.  Since I live near Philly, I could try to get a copy or take a picture of the books themselves.  Others in other areas could create similar databases of craftsmen in their regions.  It's really not that big an effort.

Pictures of furniture, lists and photos of tools, videos of techniques, databases of historical info would all be helpful and all of it can start very simply;  With a list or an outline.  In my mind it's stone soup.

Adam

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2008, 01:12:59 PM »
Adam,

I think it would be great if you would be willing to take on this task.

Dennis Bork
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Cartouche recipient 2009. Retired Dec. 2018.

Adam Cherubini

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2008, 09:15:43 PM »
This is a great idea.  And I can indeed help.  But someone has to address the issue of web reproduction rights.  If you take a picture in an Art Museum, can you post that photo on the web?  What if the photo is on a pay for access site?  Is that different than a non-profit?  If a non-profit .org like sapfm wants to have a members only area for this, would they still be considered a non-profit for this use?  How does the wikipedia do this?  I don't think they own all of those images.  I know last I looked, web permission was effected by the image size.  If we promised to use lower res images, could we post our photos then?  How is this different from FLICKR?

Assuming that this is all no problem, the next question is whether this is a sapfm project or not?  If not, I could do it on adamcherubini.com  But that is a .com and would be a very different sort of thing.  I wouldn't be for that, in fact.  I think the period woodworking community hears enough from me.  So would a new organization be formed to support such an activity?  What would that do to sapfm? 

So there are two questions that are above my pay code.  In terms of the actual doing part of it, the execution, I could easily do that myself.  Bob's right.  Like most period woodworkers, I have an awesome camera and an iPhoto library full of pictures of furniture that would be helpful to other woodworkers.  Finding a way to get that on the internet can't be that hard.  I like the open source wiki idea. 

I'll be interested to see how this pans out. 

Adam 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 10:01:56 PM by Adam Cherubini »

Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2008, 08:26:23 AM »
I do see problems with this.  Some people, like Bob, want only a  few dims.  Others will want detailed drawings and close-up photos.  Some members will want exact drawings from the original, others just ruff dims. Members may post their piece of furniture and state that it is not an exact copy.  Will others want to copy it knowing that it is not an exact copy?
Will museums let SAPFM post photos and drawing of their items knowing that they will be copied and possibly sold as a museum copy?

In my opinion it is a lot easier to buy a drawing from a know source, say Phil Lowe, or others or simply buy a book with drawings.  If you see a member's photo posted on this web site it may be a lot easier to simply ask that person for drawings.

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years. Cartouche recipient 2009. Retired Dec. 2018.

John McAlister

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2008, 08:36:57 AM »
Dennis: I think you've hit the nail on the head and your last paragraph says it all. This question of a plan pool or library has surfaced frequently since the beginning of SAPFM and after beating it around for a while the conclusion is reached; as well summed up by Dennis.
John McAlister
Textile mfg, 30 yrs. Owner travel agency 10 yrs.
Hobbies other than furniture making include fishing, hunting and tennis. Flew P 51's WWII, 8th Air Force, Europe.

Allan D. Brown

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Re: Period Furniture Photo Library
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2008, 04:47:13 PM »
Although lacking the credentials and experience of those that have commented on this issue so far, I must say I  would hate to see this effort so easily dismissed just because it's been considered before.

Why not try it and see? Sure, it may not be to everyone's liking, but this type of information sharing could easily  adapt itself to the demands of the user. It's difficult for me to see that the storage and dissemination of information would have anything but a beneficial effect. Might some of it be inacucurate? Likely. But those inaccuracies are probably already out there anyway...in drawings, pictures, plans, etc.  The scrutiny brought to bear on "problematic" pieces might go a long way in educating many of us aspiring period woodworkers about what is historically accurate (and imporant) -- and why.

And what could possibly be easier than consulting a reputable, on-line source for period furniture?

All of this assumes, of course, that there's no copyright infringement, etc. on works already published. As to the museums -- why don't we solicit their opinion? They might wish to participate knowing that they have a stake in preserving their exhibits.

Respectfully,
Allan