Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dracula desk

The desk at which Irish novelist Bram Stoker (1847-1912) wrote his enduring 1897 work, Dracula, has been restored and will be auctioned next month. The American auction house Profiles in History expects to entertain bids as high as $80,000 for the desk and explains in a Halloween press release that Stoker had given it to his close friend and frequent guest J.S.R. Phillips, editor of the Yorkshire Post, in the early 20th c. According to the website for the BBC TV program "Four Rooms," a neighbor of the Stoker family who had owned the desk for several years brought it on the show and accepted an offer of £2,000 for it from London furniture dealer Andrew Lamberty (account here, then click "Dracula's desk"; video of Lamberty discussing purchase here). Despite the apparent conflict in its provenance, the battered piece (2nd image) has been refurbished by British-based furniture maker and designer Mark Brazier-Jones, who was commissioned to restore it. Brazier-Jones turned it into a stand-alone art piece (1st image) by adding embroidered bats, hound, and thorny rose vines; red velvet- and leather-lined drawers and secret compartments; fittings in bronze and burnished steel; and a newly designed candelabra appropriate to the theme. His intention was to preserve and enhance the cultural artifact, and he states, "Even as a new desk, in its day, this was a modest item of furniture, a place for a man to work, and yet possessing a noble honesty.  I wanted to keep the desk complete and intact, to save all its scars and broken varnish, this history alive with its gnarled textures..." It is now a collector's item - and will make the seller a pretty penny.

In other Dracula news:

The cape that English actor Sir Christopher Lee wore in his roles as Dracula fetched £26,400 at auction in June 2009 and in October 2011 the great-grandson of Bram Stoker, Noel Dobbs, discovered a journal in which the author sketched out his most famous novel.


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