One of the books I stuffed into my bag on Sunday at the Book Thing was Objects of Desire: The Lives of Antiques and Those Who Pursue Them, by Thatcher Freund. This book is the story of three pieces of furniture that were shown at the 1991 Winter Antiques Show in New York.
He traces the history of these three pieces from the time they were made in the 1700s and 1800s, through to the show. Once piece is a blanket chest, one is a card table and the third is a sofa table. Each piece is treated biographically and is a lesson in the history of the United States in its early years, as well as the evolution of furniture making in our country.
The one disappointment is the total lack of pictures - there are cover pictures of two of the items, but not a third. I would have loved to see detailed photographs.
That wasn't the case in Leigh and Leslie Keno's book, which came to me via Coterie who was visiting Baltimore a few weeks ago. It's called Hidden Treasures, Searching for Masterpieces of American Furniture. Like Objects of Desire, The Keno's book also details the ins and outs of acquiring a special piece of American furniture and is filled with hundreds of photographs.However, it is a very personal book and talks about how the twins became interested in antiques during their childhood. It's also a behind-the-scenes look at the world of high end antiques, both at the Winter Antiques Show and at Sotheby's.
The twins take turns writing, often describing the same event from their different persectives, one as a dealer and the other as an auctioneer. The book is filled with pictures of the items they are talking about, so you get a good feel for the details of a piece.
All in all, both books were great reads and a good education!