I had a late night delivery of my most recent purchase a few nights ago. No, it wasn’t an Alexander Roux sofa ca. 1853 as is shown above.
Picture six heavily-laden cardboard boxes being shuffled into the basement under cover of night through the bilco door, an exchange of cash, and a vehicle driving away.
No, nothing nefarious was transpiring. I purchased 300-400 (haven’t counted yet) copies of “Magazine Antiques” going back to the 1920s and had them delivered to my home. I expect that I will find a fair amount of “lost” research that hasn’t made it into recent reference books and Rare Victorian visitors should be the beneficiaries.
I’ve only dug through one box so far and already I’ve separated out nine copies with 19th century furniture articles of interest. I’m toying with listing the castaway copies for sale somewhere.
The February 1968 edition has an article on Alexander Roux titled, Alexander Roux and his “Plain and Artistic Furniture” and the photo above of Alexander Roux’s sofa at the Crystal Palace stood out for me. Although I’ve most likely seen it before, seeing it again reminded me of a sofa that I had recently ran into in a local shop for about $1,000.
Both sofas have the Roux-style carved birds, though the one in the shop that I found has the birds surrounding a nest in the center crest and not placed as they are above. And no, I’m not going to fall for the old familiar “has birds = Roux” attribution trap. Seeing the similarities just makes me want to do some comparisons. They are obviously not the same sofa but makers made many design variations and it’s worth some investigation.
Please excuse the camera phone photos but it was all I had at the time. The birds and nest are very finely carved and the nest actually extends out from the sofa, floating in the air with three eggs.
I’m going to go back to the shop and study the carvings in a bit more detail and take a look at the front skirt and legs again as I didn’t take a photo of those areas. Here’s a photo of the carvings leading to the arm.
Getting back to the Roux article, there are more enlightening photos in it, including a walnut armchair known to be by Roux that I had not seen before. It’s now imprinted in the memory banks.
Five more boxes to go.