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October's update features two Buchschmid and Gretaux pictures we have not had the pleasure of seeing before. Humorous subjects are not that frequent with Buchschmid and Gretaux wood inlay pictures, but these two are delighful and somewhat unusual - we hope you will enjoy seeing them as much as we have.
Our second Buchschmid and Gretaux piece this month displays one of the popular and sought after pear shaped tables which Buchschmid and Gretaux were so famous for. This table is suffering with the oft encountered problem of the varnish or finish cracking over its entire surface. Modern living conditions are generally the basic cause of this problem, and we attempt to explain the reasons why it happens and the basic prevention methods you should take to avoid the problem happening.


Our October 2011 update brings some interesting new finds featuring a couple of those very attractive Buchschmid and Gretaux smaller wood inlay pictures.

Let's see what out B & G experts have to say about them:

"Here we have two Buchschmid and Gretaux pictures which we have not encountered before.

They are two reasonably simple designs, but they are attractive and well presented nonetheless.

The owner, Kelly Toth, acquired these pictures from a local estate sale of a retired colonel who had been positioned in the Rothenberg area of Germany.

There are no titles with these B & G pictures (they usually have small information labels on the reverse of B & G pictures, but these two appear to have lost them over the years) – but from what we can assume from checking our catalogue lists is that they are quite likely “Angler’s Prey” and either “Forest Ranger” or “Old Peasant”.

If anyone else has one of these pictures, could they confirm or correct our assumptions?

These are a very nice complementary pair of B & G pictures and we are sure Kelly will be appreciating and enjoying these pictures for many years to come.

___________

The Buchshmid and Gretaux pear (or kidney) style table you see here is owned by Mrs. Jim Eaker and has an interesting tale to tell.

It was originally bought in Germany by Mrs. Eaker’s father in 1946 for the princely price of a carton of American Lucky Strike cigarettes and ten American dollars. (If memory serves correctly, weren’t Lucky Strike the radio sponsors of such superb comedians as W. C. Fields and Jack Benny? I feel sure they had just that sort of association – do please correct me if I’m wrong)

Anyway, getting back to Mrs. Eaker’s story; her father purchased the table for her mom as a wedding present. At the time they were stationed in Germany after the end of the Second World War.

Mrs. Eaker’s father passed away in 1973 and her mom wrapped the table in an army blanket and stored it under her bed.

The table shows signs of the varnish cracking, but it is basically still in good shape, especially after performing its principle task as a usable table, and considering that there were also five children in the house (well built those B & G tables!). Amazingly, these much loved and very serviceable tables were virtually handmade and were not produced in any significant quantities, so they are relatively rare.   

Living in Colorado, Mrs. Eaker is somewhat concerned about the effect the hot and dry atmosphere is having on the table.

As well as the varnish cracking, there are also small pieces of the finish coming away from the surface. Mrs. Eaker asks what can be done to prevent any deterioration of the table. Otherwise, if prevention is not possible, she may well feel compelled to try to seek a purchaser who will be able cherish and keep it in a sympathetic temperate atmosphere where conditions will be more suited to such antique furniture as this.

Well, we would say the first thing Mrs. Eaker should do is to try to provide a level of humidity in the vicinity of the table. Buchschmid and Gretaux themselves recommended placing a couple of small containers (about egg cup size) of water in the near area of the piece in question – say around about 4 to 8 feet if possible – and, through the process of natural evaporation, the invisible extra level of moisture in the air would be sufficient to be naturally absorbed by the table and thereby rehydrate the cellular structure of the wood and hopefully prevent any further levels of deterioration.

Make sure the containers don’t run dry because the table will start to lose its vital moisture content once again if they do.

This process would probably take a level of time to resolve the deterioration problem, but unfortunately it will not cure the cracking and flaking of the varnish that has already occurred, however it should help to prevent further problems.

One important thing though – don’t try to rehydrate the table by applying water directly to its surface – this will only swell the surface area and will cause heavy localised damage. Natural absorption as described is the only remedy here – but as we say allow plenty of time for this “cure” to work – it could well take a good couple of months at least!


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Forest Ranger
Forest Ranger by B & G
(Photo courtesy of  Kelly Toth)


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Angler's Prey
Angler's Prey by B & G
(Photo courtesy of  Kelly Toth)


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Pear Shaped B & G Table
"Four Seasons"
A 'B & G' Pear (or sometimes kidney) shaped coffee table

(Photo courtesy of  Mrs. Jim Eaker)


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Part of table design
Detail from the wood inlay design of the table
(Photo courtesy of  Mrs. Jim Eaker)


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Part of the table design
Detail from the wood inlay design of the table
(Photo courtesy of  Mrs. Jim Eaker)


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Part of the table design
Detail from the wood inlay design of the table
(Photo courtesy of  Mrs. Jim Eaker)


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Part of the table design
Detail from the wood inlay design of the table
(Photo courtesy of  Mrs. Jim Eaker)


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Part of the table design
Detail from the wood inlay design of the table
(Photo courtesy of  Mrs. Jim Eaker)


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Showing the varnish cracking
Showing the effect the dry conditions have had on the varnish
(Photo courtesy of  Mrs. Jim Eaker)


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Information on the valuation of Wood Inlay or Marquetry pieces

Please note that we (The Marquetry Society) are unable to give market reference valuations on any marquetry, or wood inlay works, or pieces of any kind.

Any such value information as we do give on this web site has been derived from references to published information made available by the appropriate auction houses.

If you wish to obtain an accurate valuation for your wood inlay or marquetry piece/s, we would recommend you approach a relevant auction house for an up to date and accurate current valuation assessment.

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