Sunday, September 23, 2012


The similarity between Maple and Co and IKEA,  is in the world coverage and popularity but Maple and Co had their own manufacturing facility in one place in London. And it was enormous. Ikea has no production place of their own and they move their production to the factory anywhere in the world where they can do it the cheapest. That is how they can keep such low prices.
Picture from here.

"With a warehouse that was one of the “sites of London”, Maple and Co was once the largest furniture retailer and manufacturer in the world, attracting visitors from near and far. The company was most prolific in the late Victorian and Edwardian era, specialising in fine quality Arts and Crafts Furniture, designed and produced in their own workshops. However, they continued producing fine quality furniture up until the 1980s.
Maple and Co was established by John Maples shopkeeper from Horley, Surrey, who later opened a furniture shop in Tottenham Court Road. However it was his son, John Blundell Maple who made Maples and Co a success. With exceptional business skills, John B. Maple took over the company while still a young man. By the 1880s they were the largest furniture store in the world, exported their fine furniture to every continent.
Maples manufactured their luxury furniture entirely in-house, at a huge modern complex. A timber importer and furniture exporter, they landed prestigious contracts furnishing fine houses, hotels, embassies and palaces in Europe; among them Tsar Nicholas’s Winter Palace and the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna . With his own empire established, John Blundell Maple achieved further fame in politics and horseracing – some lines, such as the Atherstoke antique cabinet having racing connections in the titles." (The text above from here.)

Funny how one never sees these anymore. Did you have to duck to get in or what?

"Inexpensive Artistic Tableware"
One can get an old Maple & Co  calalogue on a disc here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Jascha Golowanjuk Picture from here.
Literary critics have a tremendous influence on book sales. But people cannot be forced to love a book they have bought on recommendation. When I grew up many years ago, the Swedish Literary critics were snobbish when judging the immensely popular Swedish writer Jascha Golowanjuk (1903-1974). He had a new book out almost every year for over thirty years. He was one of the most borrowed authors in Swedish libraries but that did not impress the critics who labelled him an "entertainer writer". But people did not care what the critics said, they bought and borrowed his books in masses.

I must admit that I was influenced by the American literary critics' love affair with Jonathan Franzen (his father is Swedish). I first read "The Corrections" and liked it,  and then "Freedom". I enjoyed it, but felt that the book was perhaps constructed to tickle the critics in just the right places. 
People cannot be forced to love a book they do not like. These days you can find out what people like on Amazon. You could at the time this was written see that 1.081 people had written a review of Jonathan Franzen's book Freedom. A rewiew can get 5 stars.

There are almost the same amount of 5-star reviews as 1-star reviews. This is an unusual proportion, possibly due to people being influenced by critics, then being disappointed. People are very harsh in their criticism. Tough stuff. Maybe that is the price one pays when one is the darling of the critics?  
Which is best, to be a Jascha or a Jonathan?

Friday, September 7, 2012


For many years, I would see a small ad in the New Yorker Magazine  for a "Greek Fisherman's Cap". I always wondered who bought these caps in the US. Now many years later, just for the fun of it, I searched for "Greek Fisherman's Cap" on the net and lo and behold a mass of images appeared. That cap is popular. And there are a lot of places to get them too. Here and here and here. So there!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Read more about the Swedish company Mjolby Intarsia (Fanerami later) that produced the fine pieces below.

Göteborgs Auktionsverk

This picture from here.

Stockholms Auktionsverk

This table from here.

Details from the table above.

If you like these, you might also like to see some Swedish engraved glass from aroudf the same period.