Furniture, Decorations, Culture and More<br>From Charles Wood
Item 16 is a bit of a whimsical book. It is Hints to the Bearers of Walking Sticks and Umbrellas. It is a partly serious and partly humorous account of the perils of these objects. If this seems an obscure field to be worthy of a book, this title must have been fairly popular at the time. Just a year after its original publication in 1808, this third edition was released. $400.
You probably never thought about the history of wallpaper. You may not have even realized it had a history. Well now you can learn all about it in Wall Paper, its Origin, Development, and Manufacture by George Whiteley Ward. There's no indication this title ever made it to a third edition. Item 113. $100.
Item 68 is not only interesting for what it tells us about mid-19th century furnishings, but is a fascinating political diatribe as well. This book is entitled the Speech of Mr. Ogle of Pennsylvania, on the Regal Splendor of the Presidential Palace, Delivered in the House of Representatives April 14, 1840. This speech was an attack on expenditures made in decorating the White House, although it was really an attack on the President, Martin Van Buren. Representative Charles Ogle was an Anti-Mason, a minor party about to be absorbed by the Whigs, Van Buren's opposition. Ogle's speech went on for three days, and in it he derided public spending on behalf of elected officials, a form of electioneering that has probably been used in every election since. In his speech, Ogle claims that the White House has become "as splendid as that of Caesar's..." He adds "the landscaping...was designed to resemble an Amazon's bosom, with a miniature knoll on its apex, to denote the nipple." Ogle's role in the campaign was not insignificant. It did much to cement the image of Van Buren as out-of-touch, effete, and unconcerned. Ogle's candidate, William Henry Harrison, would ride to victory on his "log cabin" image, despite the fact that he had grown up in a family of means and had never lived in anything resembling a "log cabin." Leaving the politics aside, Charles Wood points out that this speech, thorough as it was, gives a good view of the furniture and furnishings used in the White House in 1840. $125.
Item 11 offers an unusually long run of the late 19th century periodical The Decorator and Furnisher. While not complete, it includes most copies from volume one number one in 1882 to 1897. Wood points out that even individual volumes, let alone long runs, of this magazine are very rare. It was devoted to American furniture and interior decoration. There are numerous high quality illustrations and loads of information about decoration at the end of the Victorian period. Ironically, a May 1891 article talks about how Mrs. Harrison changed the interior of the White House. Her husband was President Benjamin Harrison, grandson of the aforementioned William Henry Harrison. Presumably Mrs. Harrison did not try to recreate the ambience of a frontier log cabin. $4,500.