Is it possible that English furniture is making a comeback in the world of fashion? Did it really go out of fashion? The two questions are of great interest to me for obvious reasons. The second question is more important, however. Because fashion, like Iraq’s WMD’s, is insubstantial and often imaginary, it is all to the better when the hullabaloo created by the press and auction houses subsides and people can think about what they want to live with, not with what some magazine says is hot.

Every English furniture dealer thinks that their inventory is the greatest and that is how it should be no matter what anyone else says. I certainly think mine is and yet it can always get better. Are their better inventories out there? It is the wrong question. What a buyer should focus on is understanding what they are buying and have some form of personal, intellectual or emotional, attachment to what they buy. Hotel lobbies are allowed, even strive to, be impersonal. Homes should not be.

Ultimately, decoarting is not about catching any old wave, it is about catching THE wave and feeling comfortable once the ride has begun. It takes confidence to know what you want, particularly when it is anything but cheap. People are showing that confidence now. I hope that there are a lot more surfers coming down the pipe line.


I was half expecting Gaudeamus igitur to be sung at my daughter’s graduation from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It wasn’t, but the band played, “On Wisconsin!”  probably the most famous fight song ever written. It was, I believe, offered to Michigan who turned it down. Big mistake.

My lone English furniture contact in Madison lit out of town for the weekend, probably to avoid the crush of graduation and general escape of the academic year end. I have never purchased anything from him, but he knows his onions and I was always hoping that the odd piece would turn up just prior to one of my Madison visits. No such luck.

Speaking of onions, one of the great satirical newspapers, “The Onion” was started by two Wisconsin undergraduates in the 1980’s and is available everywhere in Madison. It is funny though I regret to say aimed at a slightly younger demographic than I fit into these days. Nevertheless, it is a testament to a student body that is quite extraordinary. On Wisconsin!


There is so much in the world to write about and yet I have been unable to put together my thoughts for several weeks. The reason is balance, of course. The antiques business is, at times, exceedingly busy with travel and getting to places, but there are troubles of all sorts from breakage to audits from governemnt agencies to jury duty and the balance seems quite out of kilter.

What I would like most of all is to have things run properly. What a concept! Do something and get a result. Seems like it should work, but human beings are not inert chemicals and bureaucracies are even more byzantine. There are no straight lines in human endeavors.

The English furniture business, however, is alive and well as all sorts of people have been coming in despite the chaos that my normal life provides. Perhaps redemption, or at least a buffer to the chaos, comes in the form of being busy. I don’t know yet so I will have to get back to you.