The Heritage of Upper Canadian Furniture: A Study in the Survival of Formal and Vernacular Styles from Britain, America and Europe, 1780-1900
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
Gerald J. Stortz is an assistant professor of history at St. Jerome’s
College, University of Waterloo.
Howard Pain is a graphic artist and former antique dealer. He is also a leading authority on Upper Canadian antique furniture. What he has produced here is a masterpiece, a work that gives coffeetable books a deserved credibility. Wisely, Pain included an introductory essay by University of Toronto historian William Kilbourn. The book itself is divided by era and ethnic tradition. Many Ontarians will be surprised — not that some of our traditions come from French-Canadian or German backgrounds, but that Poles, for example, have been influential in the type of furniture our ancestors used. The book is complete to the point of examining various types of reliquaries used by Ontario settlers.
Those, like myself, who are interested in the technical details of the furniture will be extremely pleased with the notes at the end of the book, which list details of dimensions and stains. The publisher also deserves praise. It would have been easy to do a cheaper version of this book by opting for black-and-white illustrations only. Those in colour, placed judiciously, give the reader a true sense of the worth and richness of individual pieces. For antique lovers and history buffs, the book is well worth the purchase price.