It’s funny to watch the faces of friends and coworkers as they take a tour of our house for the first time. When they learn that it was me and not my wife that selected all of the Victorian antiques that we own, you can see the wheels turning in their head for a few seconds before they rejoin the conversation. One of my close friends remarked as she walked through the house, “John, if I didn’t know you were straight…”. Good thing I don’t mention that I cook and garden, too.
The implication is that men are supposed to be golfing, watching football, and drinking beer and not ruminating on where the epergne should go. I know where they are coming from. As the image above demonstrates, there is something incongruous between exhibiting proper levels of testosterone and doing so while sitting in a Meeks Rococo sofa.
After years of extensive research, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are ways to maintain your manliness and simultaneously collect Victorian antiques. I’ve put together the Manly Man’s Guide to Buying Victorian Furniture to share what I have learned:
- No Rococo. I know you buy Rococo because you are an admirer of laminated furniture techniques, but you need to resist the Belters and Meeks.
- Buy lots of R.J. Horner. Seek out furniture with carved griffins and half-nude female figures. Avoid the man of the mountain pieces.
- Sphinxes and mythical beasts are winners, so Allen and Brother pieces will also work.
- Avoid the tête-à-tête
- Ebonized furniture is generally a good choice due to the black color. Be wary of overly floriated Aesthetic pieces.
- Merklen pieces are good choices due to the spiral design, brass, and ball and claw feet.
- Hunzinger is tricky and requires an advanced eye. Avoid fringe elements, pieces of diminutive stature, and rockers.
Hopefully this guide will aid all the men out there who, like myself, enjoy collecting Victorian antique furniture. Now, I’m off to Ebay to sell some Rococo …