Manly Man’s Guide to Buying Victorian Antiques

by John Werry on December 17, 2007

Victorian Football Furniture 714504 Manly Mans Guide to Buying Victorian Antiques
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:

  1. 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.
  2. no Rococo 782972 Manly Mans Guide to Buying Victorian Antiques

  3. Buy lots of R.J. Horner. Seek out furniture with carved griffins and half-nude female figures. Avoid the man of the mountain pieces.
  4. HornerGriffin 717960 Manly Mans Guide to Buying Victorian Antiques

  5. Sphinxes and mythical beasts are winners, so Allen and Brother pieces will also work.
  6. AllenBrotherEgyptianRevival 708045 758449 Manly Mans Guide to Buying Victorian Antiques

  7. Avoid the tête-à-tête
  8. X 772120 Manly Mans Guide to Buying Victorian Antiques

  9. Ebonized furniture is generally a good choice due to the black color. Be wary of overly floriated Aesthetic pieces.
  10. 123 2308003 794031 792118 Manly Mans Guide to Buying Victorian Antiques

  11. Merklen pieces are good choices due to the spiral design, brass, and ball and claw feet.
  12. Merklen chair 781659 790561 Manly Mans Guide to Buying Victorian Antiques

  13. Hunzinger is tricky and requires an advanced eye. Avoid fringe elements, pieces of diminutive stature, and rockers.
  14. Hunzinger beaded 775346 Manly Mans Guide to Buying Victorian Antiques

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 …

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1881 Victorian December 18, 2007 at 1:55 am

John,

This is Jason Flatt’s wife here. He has shared your page with me many times and I’ve enjoyed it as well. I feel compelled to respond to your posting (hilarious by the way) about gender and Victorian antiques. On one level, I can “up” your humor by saying that I’m a big sports fan. (Jason could take it or leave it.) In our parlor are a bunch of baseball memorabilia pieces. When guests first arrive, they see all of the wonderful Victorian pieces Jason has found for us, and they see some baseballs. Let me say there have been several male guests who have tried to bond with Jason over their “shared love of baseball” who were then disappointed–and no longer interested in talking about baseball–once they found out it was I and not he who loved sports.

I’m usually able to laugh off such events. After all, I’ve had a lifetime of learning to deal with them. On the other hand, as a teacher who fights to allow men and women to live to their fullest without being bound by stereotypes, I can’t help but also feel frustrated with such types. If they could only open their minds a bit further they might find they’d enjoying chatting baseball with me. More importantly, they might find–as I have–that they could learn a lot from Jason about Victoriana, and they might even like it. So I’m glad there’s the internet so we can spread our nets a bit further and find people with whom we can chat. Let them pause when they enter our houses, let them wonder about who we are, and perhaps someday they’ll open their minds just that centimeter more and not be quite as surprised!

Cool use of the word ruminating, by the way. As an English prof, I revel in such random use of beautiful language.

And if my e-mail seems disjointed, blame not my education or degrees. I’m watching the Vikings-Bears game and am slightly distracted. :)

All the best–

Jennifer Flatt

Reply

John W December 20, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Jennifer, thanks for commenting. I was watching the same game when your post came through (Go Vikes).

I think women sports fans probably have it worse than us male Victorian fans. Not sure.

That was a fun post to do and I think I have ideas for a future reprise at some point. Manly Man Take 2.

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Michael April 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm

This is beyond hilarious!! My God, this is about THEE funniest page I have found in awhile.
I never though it was a big deal for a guy to buy Victorian! Now when I was younger, yeah of course I was not attracted to Belter pieces. Though I have always been deeply fascinated with Aesthetic Movement no matter how delicate or female in nature the piece could be. But now since I am fully a where of who I am and deeply in “touch” with the Transcendental” side of the Universe…(I am bi-sexual) Opps hope that is not a problem! LoL I mean I am straight looking and acting and possess a comical personality -Like John Belushi. Like I feel Victorian should be LIVED in, and not like a museum. If that’s what you like, no problem, But a case of beer or a flat panel TV or computer or a desk top synthesizer music work station would be JUST perfect on top of that table or Italianate cabinet JUST LIKE YOU SHOW IN THE PICTURE ABOVE! That’s AWESOME! Even better, a pizza box. LoL. The dragon legged piece IS VERY DARK and GOTH and MYSTICAL(Gothic) Now that’s REALLY nice!

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Michael April 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Oh an just to be on the “safe” side. I do not drink, though if any one else does, that’s just fine. Though beer and manlyness is Sooooo connected, I just had to throw that in. Of course if I REALLY set a drink or beverage or a hot food item on my Victorian table I would use proper care, with coasters or a pad or something to protect the table. I have a piece from the 1860’s. I regularly let my friends set there soda pops on the table with a coaster under it :-) Thanks for the very entertaining article. I LOVE it. YES I would set my pop corn bowl on my table with a place mat under it.

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Michael April 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

A Moog or ARP 2500 music synthesizer would be NICE on top of a Victorian table!

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