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Books 255 The C l o c k Book. Wallace Nutting. (Reprint of 1935 ed.) Gale Research Co., Detroit, Mich., 1976. 312 pp., illus. $15.00.Early American FurnitureMakers:A Social and Biographical Study. Thomas Hamilton Ormsbee. (Reprint of 1930 ed.) Gale Research Co., Detroit, Mich., 1976. 183 pp.. illus. $11.00. Reviewed by Mike Nevelson* Naive persons now pose the perplexingquestion ‘Isthis art? and ‘If it isart, isit good art? Why? At the beginningof thecentury in the U.S.A., the situation was much simpler, for then art was thought of in terms of the country’s antiques rather than of nontraditional painting, sculpture and architecture. And if Nutting was the ‘pope’ of those interested in antiques, Ormsbee was at least a ‘cardinal’. Nutting, born in 1861,told one in his book what was ‘good‘, and, because there was less awareness of ‘conflict of interest’, what he said was ‘good’ might have been in his personal collection or been a product of his workshop. Nutting’s best-known work in three volumes, Furniture Treasury (Mostlyof American Origin),containing ‘fivethousand illustrations with descriptions on the same page’ was published between 1928 and 1933. Despite the Great Depression in the U.S.A., the country’s antiques continued to gain in price, as people with money were looking to the past for security. When The Clock Book was published in 1935,Nutting was 74 and less ambitious, for the book contains only 250 illustrations, most of which are poor, fuzzy photographs. There is a list of clockmakers in the U.S.A. and in Europe and a few short essays on clocks and their significance.Since the illustrations of clocks are separated from their descriptions, the reader is hard pressed to make the correct match, and, furthermore, the descriptions often fail to givefor a clock its size,the speciesof wood used and pertinent construction details. But the book has a redeeming featureit was written by Nutting! He was a shy and knowledgeable gentleman of good humour, with a 19th-century attitude-he believed that hard work is rewarded and is its own reward. If owreads Nutting’s books when one is age 25 one might be well content with life at 60. Thebook by Ormsbee has 122illustrationsof good quality but again lacksadequate descriptions asto dates, sizes,materials and construction details, whichmight aid the reader in identifyingthe objects illustrated. There is a chronological list of only 52 furniture makers and 25 clockmakers in the U.S.A., whereas, Nutting lists 1258clockmakers, each with a date, location and a description of the type of clocks made. Ormsbee personally interviewed those who knew or worked with some of the renowned 19thcentury furniture makers and, thus, provides interesting evidence and anecdotes, plus material from items in hisbibliography, which includesbcoks by Nutting. Nutting once said: ‘A clock isthe only article of furniture with a face and hands and voice.’ Thomas Lister (1760-1802), clockmaker, Halifax, British North America, placed the followingprinted doggerelinsidethedoorsof histall-caseclocks: ‘Lo! Here I stand by thee/To give thee warning day and night;/For Every Tick that I do give/Cuts short the time thou hast to live,/Therefore, a warning take by me,/To servethy God as I serve thee:/Each day and night be on thy guard,/and thou shalt have a just reward.’ Wonders of the Stereoscope. John Jones. Jonathan Cape, London, 1976. 126 pp., illus. f12.50. Reviewed by Roger FerragpUo** This is a book designed to be enjoyed as much for its content as the way it is presented. When removed from its slipcase, Part 1, presents a generously illustrated history of 3-dimensional photography. Part 2 is a neat package containing 48 individual reproductions of originalstereoviewsfrom the author’s collection that are carefully keyed to the plates and text found in Part I. There is a good plastic fold-out stereoscope provided to view the stereographs. Both Parts cleverly arouse nostalgically the *3 Milltown Rd., New Fairfield, CT 06810, U.S.A. **5765 Harbord Drive, Oakland, CA 94611, U S A . excitement provoked when the stereoscope was made available to the public. Jones provides an art historian’s insight to the wide range of subjectsapproached by...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 255-256
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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