Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
I had planned on posting wonderful pictures of a stunning parcel gilt lacca povera console table from the first half of the 18th century this afternoon – but that will not be happening.
Picture this. You hand over to an artisan a table made between 250 and 280 years ago. The only thing you ask that person to do is fill in some missing decoration which has flaked off. When you finally go to pick it up, the formerly water gilt (with real gold, obviously) bevelled edges and central mouldings are covered in schlagmetal (imitation gold leaf) – which was applied with modern adhesive and scrapes off with your fingernail. Under this layer of fake gold leaf is new gold paint, and under the gold paint lies a completely ruined layer of what was once outstanding 18th century gilding. And just like that, poof, a table that was worth thousands is worthless. And for the privilege of having my property ruined I paid just 240€. Hurrah!
I’ve tried to move very quickly through the five stages of grief. Denial: When I first saw it I thought it must be the light. Anger: I stormed off. Bargaining: Maybe this disaster can be fixed. Depression: How stupid was I? And finally acceptance. I spent 40 minutes on the way back home thinking how in the grand scheme of things, we’re very fortunate. So I’m going to take the loss on the chin and move on.I made a mistake by trusting someone knew what they were doing, and sometimes mistakes can be very expensive. As Mr. Trump would say #sad.
To end on a high note here’s a Venetian console which hasn’t been ruined, and is available from a Connecticut dealer.