To sail the Pattaya Mail PC Classic was, indeed “To Experience A Legend”
Story by Peter Cummins
Photos by Brendan Richards
After four weeks of build-up and media hype, the long-awaited Pattaya Mail PC Classic Royal Cliff Resort International Regatta finally descended upon
an unsuspecting populace at the end of February. Even those who have had the temerity to follow the episodes in successive issues of the Pattaya Mail were somewhat
over-whelmed by the success of the event. And, of course, for those who sailed, it epitomized the Royal Cliff leitmotif: “to experience a legend”.
Multihulls in contention off the
Inaugurated in 1995 to celebrate the sixtieth birthday of Peter Cummins, the Pattaya Mail scribe and 10th commodore of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club
(1979 - 1980), the Seventh Pattaya Mail PC Classic sailed out off the splendid Royal Cliff Beach Resort was, indeed, a remarkable international regatta. It was a perfect
day, with a moderate southerly, a big fleet of almost 40 craft, excellent race management and, of course, a spectacular reception and Awards Ceremony, presided over by Panga
Vathanakul, managing director of the exotic five-star resort, right there on the seafront of the Royal Cliff.
Aussie Gary Baguley continued on his winning way(s), this time taking veteran German sailor Joseph Hoppen aboard the powerful Hoppen machine, the Nacra 5.8,
and making no mistake about who were the fastest multihull sailors on the Gulf. Second - and, perhaps, the rightful heirs to the perpetual ‘Tasmanian shield’ trophy - were
Tasmanians David and Susan Race who brought their Hobie Cat 16 in very close behind the Hoppen craft.
A Laser scuds along on Royal Cliff
Thereafter it was a Hobie Cat dominance of the multihulls, with Alain Brancart/Andrew Hurrell third, Simon Prattley/Susanne Merz fourth and Bob Garner/Stew
Ross fifth, sailing the Hobie Cat 17.
Champion Laser sailor, Morton Jakobsen, continued that way, winning - albeit narrowly - the monohull class from Shin Suenega, U Thiha, Charlie Zbinden,
Parron F. and Kevin Whitcraft.
The two non-Lasers among the monos were the Dave Wales/Gilbert Leemann Enterprise, finishing seventh and, of course, old PC himself who bolted home with a
first placing in the OK dinghy class, finishing 14th overall.
The band followed the majorette -
so did the sailors
Just ahead of PC, in 13th place, was Laser sailor Suwan Poopoksakul who had the misfortune to be close by when the OK went over - right in front of the crowd
on the Royal Cliff foreshore - capsizing on top of Suwan’s Laser and bringing him ignominiously down as well. But the crowd loved it.
The Optimists had their own battles and rising junior star Will Hamilton went forward to receive his first place award from Ms. Panga.
Monohulls manoeuvre off the Royal
Wing start line
The day started beautifully, with an Aussie flag flying from the Royal Varuna mast. It was easy to identify the origins and one was reminded of the time that
Gary flew a vegemite flag from the same place - but with a vastly different outcome. That time, he was seized by several of Royal Varuna’s bigger sailors and forced to
repent. No such punishment was forthcoming this time, however.
What a place for a regatta!
Richard van den Heuvel, the Royal Varuna sailing secretary, organized the racing for the monohulls, the multihulls and the Optimists off the Royal Cliff
Beach Resort, with starts and finishes close in to the hotel beachfront, thus ensuring maximum exposure of this environmentally-friendly and colourful activity for hotel guests
and other spectators on the shore.
Tidal conditions did not permit a landing in front of the hotel itself; rather, after the racing was over, the fleets proceeded to the Royal Wing Beach on
the northern side of the complex. There they were greeted by the flags of the 16 nationalities participating, a live band and a baby elephant, after which the participants,
race management team and supporters - almost 200 people in all - enjoyed Royal Cliff beachside hospitality, copious supplies of Carlsberg and Coca Cola and smart tee-shirts,
compliments of Coca Cola.
The Pattaya Mailmen pose with
In the mid-afternoon sun, with the tents of Carlsberg and Coca Cola erected on the marine walkway and the fleets of sailboats drawn up on the Royal Wing
strand, it was a blaze of colour.
President of the Pattaya Sports Club and managing director of the Pattaya Mail, Peter Malhotra, by placing the support of the regional newspaper
firmly behind the event, welcomed the very positive outcome to the regatta for all concerned and remarked that it was a well-timed promotion for the “shabby - but rapidly-
improving Queen of the Eastern Seaboard”.
Khun Panga with Royal Varuna Flag
Commodore Don Mackenzie (R) and other regatta supporters
The Pattaya Mail has come aboard the PC Classic, “For we believe that yacht racing, sailing and cruising are the most environmentally friendly
activities from which Pattaya can benefit,” Peter pointed out during the ceremony at the Royal Cliff.
“We are also extremely happy to continue our long association with the region’s best hotel,” he added, “this time as partners on the Gulf, jointly
sponsoring the event. We also thank co-sponsors Carlsberg and Coca Cola and the Pattaya Sports Club, for giving this race its imprimatur.”
Genesis of a yacht race
Actually, it all started in 1995, when the ‘PC’ referred to in the regatta name, reached the ripe young age of 60 and the Royal Varuna Yacht Club decided
to give its former Commodore (1980-1981) a real sail off into ‘glorious retirement’. Sail off, he did; but, retirement? - never! After some 30 years of dodging work, he
came to the Pattaya Mail as a photojournalist. Now, the only way he can avoid work is to flee the scene and go sailing. “Even then we can find him and load him with
new jobs!” Peter remarked.
“Strike up the band - the
“The sailor-cum-scribe will be 66 shortly,” the Mail managing director Peter Malhotra informed the gathering. We all hope that in 33 years, we can
turn these digits upside down and, by the time he is 99, he will have learned how to sail - at last!” Peter laughed.
“He finally left United Nations’ employment in 1995,” Peter continued. “He would not have remembered that particular occasion, except that it
happened to coincide with the first “PC Classic”. In fact - even now - he feels that not a lot of people at the United Nations in Bangkok REALLY KNOW that he has actually
left,” Peter suggested.
The sweet little ‘baby’ was
the centre of all attention: experiencing a legend!
PC has sailed with His Majesty the King - the ‘farang con dio’ - on two occasions and has written many publications on his experience, including a book
“King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great: Monarch for the Millennium”, published by the Pattaya Mail in December 1999.
“Finally, PC is an excellent photographer and a sharp, witty writer. He submits huge tracts for the Pattaya Mail editor to struggle with. The best
thing in his favour, however, is that no-one - including PC himself - really knows what he is writing about,” Peter added to a roar of approval from all present.
Some of the big crowd at the
Royal Cliff sea front
Apart from his birth 66 years ago - about which he claims to have very little recollection - Peter remembers two main events in his life which are of similar
The first was when he left his native Tasmania in February, 1956 on a ship bound for Europe. His departure helped raise the then appallingly low IQ of the
Royal Cliff general manager Andrew
Wood addresses the crowd
The second event was back in March 1995 when he was ‘eased’ out of the United Nations in Bangkok, having reached the mandatory retirement age. Likewise,
this departure also helped raise the IQ of the 2,000 remaining staff there.
“But these milestones were minor,” noted the scribe last week. “As long as there is an annual “Pattaya Mail PC Classic”, I will know that I AM
still alive - at least once a year!”
Pattaya Mail’s finest, Peter
Malhotra delivers his heart-felt tribute to the ‘birthday boy’
Royal Varuna Yacht Club flag commodore Don Mackenzie regards the Royal Cliff support as a most positive step forward in promoting sailing and yacht racing as
a means of furthering Pattaya’s image as an ideal haven for marine sports generally. Don also sees this regatta as a forerunner of other yacht racing events supported by both
the public and private sectors in Pattaya.
Panga Vathanakul, the able and very attractive managing director of the Royal Cliff, pointed out that there were some 16 nationalities taking part in this,
the Royal Cliff’s first venture into yacht racing since the regatta held in 1986, to celebrate the opening of the Royal Wing.
Even an Alphornist appeared from
the Swiss slopes
“The Royal Cliff is most concerned about the environment,” Panga told her assembled guests and, “For this reason, we are happy to join the Pattaya
Mail and the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in organizing this regatta in front of the resort. Furthermore,” Panga continued, “I note that the long-awaited Pattaya waste-water
treatment plant is now on line and am sure that old ‘Pattaya hands’ will certainly notice a cleaner water”.
Multihull champions Joseph Hoppen
and skipper Gary Baguley driving hard
The resort’s general manager, Yorkshire man Andrew Wood, enthusiastically supported the event which, he feels, is a very positive promotion for Pattaya.
Furthermore, by having the racing just off shore, it brought one of Pattaya’s most environmentally friendly activities closer to the people. Andrew was so intent on the
success of the venture that he personally sponsored the marching band, brought in the baby elephant and, even, supplied the resort catamaran, bedecked with the flags of the
participating nations, as a most attractive committee boat.
The Royal Cliff catamaran lent a
‘touch of class’ as a committee boat
David Holden, director of marketing and sales at the Royal Cliff, would be inclined to agree with his Royal Cliff colleagues, noting in an interview with the
Mail just prior to the regatta that, “Pattaya is well on her way to recovery”. David commended, “The city fathers and government officials who had the foresight
and the courage to push through the investment in the water treatment system. One day they will be seen as visionaries,” he added.
The new waste-water treatment plant has raised considerably the level of public awareness of the appalling condition of the waters – particularly in
Pattaya Bay - over the past few years. “Already,” according to some press reports, “Pattaya Beach has been declared safe for swimming” - a vast improvement to only a
PC tacks in towards the Royal
Cliff - a sure winner in the OK dinghy class
Actually, the Royal Cliff has never really been plagued by pollution – water or otherwise - for, with its superb location at Pattaya Point, the resort is
ideally situated to take advantage of the prevailing currents and winds. Whether from the south west or north east - depending on the season – the winds and tides sweep the
seas around the hotel clean. It is mainly in Pattaya Bay - especially in the southern pocket under the hill - that the pollution becomes intensified.
On presenting the awards, Panga thanked the co-sponsors, the Pattaya Mail, Carlsberg and Coca Cola and said that she, “Looks forward to further
regattas right off the Royal Cliff.” As she accepted a replica of the PC Classic trophy, which is a wood cut in the shape of Australia’s island state, Panga noted that,
“Just this month, the Royal Cliff has gone Tasmanian, with the first-ever Tasmanian Salmon Festival. Now we have our very own regatta, harking back to Tasmania,” the
smiling MD pointed out.
Keel’s eye view
by Dr. Iain Corness
This year’s International Regatta was only the second such sailing event I have ever attended. In the first I was a member of the crew and fell
overboard. This time I only fell over several tinnies of Carlsberg!
Undoubtedly from my point of view, after spending the majority of the afternoon under canvas (marquee), this was a much better choice than spending the
afternoon under canvas sails. The Royal Cliff Beach Resort’s crew, under the leadership of Admiral Andrew Wood, kept all the spectators well victualled and electric fanned,
while waiting for the yachtsmen and women who were doing a fine job of displaying what life on the ocean wave was all about, before they invented the outboard motor.
The intrepid helmsman and Pattaya Mail columnist Peter Cummins, after whom the regatta was named, showed a wonderful sporting gesture ten seconds
into the race by enforcing a handicap on himself. This was done by displaying the keel of his boat while introducing the mast to the sea floor. While treading water, Peter
noticed a small sign on the aforesaid keel which read “Other Side Up” and with some assistance from the crew of a powered rubber dinghy (outboard, not rubber powered
dinghy) righted his craft and set sail towards the next buoy. One boy who was not so impressed was the sailor that PC managed to convince, in another vessel, that he should
attempt synchronised capsizing with him. General score from the shore was only a 5.8 so the other sailor went home.
However, they all (minus the synchronised capsizer) made it back to the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, puff-powered craft of all sizes, to be piped ashore by
the Photisampan School Band and welcomed with cold tinnies of Coca-Cola or Carlsberg and a baby elephant waving its trunk with excitement. I am not making this up!
The sport of sailing must certainly be good for the appetite, because the salt encrusted helmsmen (helmspersons?) quickly ravaged Chef Fabian’s BBQ while
waiting for the trophy presentation, which was carried out in ship shape fashion by Panga Vathanakul, the MD of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, and Admiral Andrew complete with
campaign medals appropriated from the car park attendant. The winner was Christopher Columbus, closely followed by Magellan and Admiral Bligh.
All present pledged their support for next year’s Regatta, and it certainly was a very colourful and different event for Pattaya. Local TAT director,
Manit Boonchim was seen beaming with enthusiasm all afternoon, while SKAL president Murray Hertz posed for photos with the small pachyderm, which in turn managed to pee on a
It was a great event - I’ll be back. Even if it’s just to watch PC being keel hauled!
German Ambassador draws hundreds to Amari
Hundreds of German nationals turned out to visit with their ambassador to Thailand, HE Hermann Erath at a cocktail reception held in his honor at the Amari
Orchid Resort on Friday, March 2. The evening cocktail reception was the grand finale to the German Embassy’s “Open House” held at the Amari during the day.
On the same day, DaimlerChrysler and Mercedes Benz showcased their beautiful new products at the Amari for all to see and enjoy.
The German Ambassador to Thailand,
his consuls, representatives from DaimlerChrysler and Mercedes Benz, and the management of the Amari Orchid Resort at the cocktail reception for the ambassador.
His Excellency, German Ambassador Hermann Erath wanted to make it clear to all guests that the German Embassy is aware of the large number of German
nationals residing in or visiting Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard. However, “We do not have enough staff to send people down to Pattaya every week,” the ambassador said.
“Just this Friday at the Amari Orchid, consul Klaus-Peter Schick and vice-consul Guido Viehauser were able to assist some 140 residents of Pattaya who took the opportunity
to come with their questions. (It was) an incredible beginning,” the Ambassador said, “and maybe a step forward towards more regular appearances in Pattaya.”
HE Erath asked his fellow countrymen and women to, “Always remember that all these retired people here in Pattaya and everybody working in the Eastern
Seaboard are living the dream of 80% of all inhabitants of the Federal Republic of Germany. My dear countrymen, please, never forget you are living a dream. You are residing
in an Asian dream country, and you all chose to come here on your own, so please stop complaining, live your dream and make the best out of it.”
He then thanked everyone who helped to make the evening happen: his consuls, Mr. Schick and Mr. Viehauser, GM of the Amari Orchid Resort Michael Vogt and
his hard working staff, and most of all DaimlerChrysler (Thailand) Ltd., well represented through Mr. Karl-Heinz Heckhausen, President & CEO, Mr. Immel, GM Sales Planning
& Distribution, and Dieter Schwindenhammer, VP Sales & Marketing, among other executives.
The car show that Daimler Chrysler put up in the Lobby of the Amari Orchid Resort was also a dream come true, at least for the male visitors. Amongst the
exhibits were a Mercedes C 200 ‘Kompressor’, a Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 4.7 Liters, and the Mercedes Benz E 200. But this evening would not have been possible without the
sponsorship of this German company’s generosity, for DaimlerChrysler / Mercedes Benz sponsored beers, soft drinks and all kinds of German specialties, cooked to perfection
by the Swiss Chef Stefan Heller from the Amari Orchid Resort.
“Let our dreams go a little bit further,” Ambassador Erath requested, “Let us not forget that all of us are ambassadors of our country - Germany, a
country which has always had a very good relationship with the Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai people. So let’s make our country proud of us.”
The Blues Factory manufactures music
Down in the rabbit warren of watering holes off Walking Street, and opposite the Marine Bar, is a new live music bar/nightclub. Called the Blues Factory,
it is designed to be a little piece of Americana, with the musical direction heading towards the Blues but not exclusively so.
Greg Caro, front left, and the
band pose at the grand opening of the Blues Factory on Walking Street
Entertainment director, Greg Caro, well known around the traps for his booming voice and selection of mouth organs, fronts a five piece band with two
guitar players, keyboards, percussion and sax. Greg says the Blues Factory is for anyone who likes good live music, and on the opening night they certainly belted out a few
good numbers, from such favourites as “Suzy Q”, “Muddy Waters” and even an up-tempo renditions of some CCR numbers like “Proud Mary”.
The Blues Factory is a welcome addition to the live music and more up-market nightlife scene in Pattaya.
There’s a hole in the O’ Zone layer?
The latest entertainers to grace the stage at the Moon River Pub are the O’ Zone Band. This group is from the Philippines, but have been “on the
road” for the past six years, so they jokingly describe themselves as having no fixed abode. Last port of call for them was the Hard Rock Cafe in Beijing, but they have
quickly settled into the more relaxed atmosphere of Thailand, especially Pattaya.
The O’ Zone Band plays at the
Moon River Pub six nights a week.
With two singers out front, as well as the keyboards, percussion and guitar players this group can produce up-tempo cover numbers of any of the top 40
hits. On the night I attended, their best numbers were the Beatles “Hey Jude” and the Rolling Stones “I can’t get no satisfaction” done complete with the Jaggerian
frenetic foot stomping.
The Moon River Pub is in the grounds of the Thai Garden Resort North Pattaya Road. The band performs from 9 pm six nights (never on Sundays).
The Green Bottle is now a teenager!
The Green Bottle Pub is a hostelry that has defied the odds. For many pubs
in Pattaya, to last five years is a miracle - however, this March the 13th, the
Green Bottle Pub celebrates its 13th year of continuous operation.
Looking at the central location of the Green Bottle today, it is hard to imagine
that when the site was first proposed for a new pub for Pattaya, many said it was in the wrong place. Original Manager, Ian Harrington, recalls the general consensus all
those years ago was that it was “Too far out of town!” Pattaya has certainly grown.
Harrington also played a pivotal role in the formation of the proposed new enterprise, which was a partnership between Mrs. Sopin Thappajug and Charoon
Kasemsantitham. It was Ian Harrington who was the person who came up with the name for the pub. Looking for something British led him to the initials of his homeland
“GB”, and looking at the most popular beer at that time, he saw that it was in a green bottle. He was also aware of the stand taken by Mrs Sopin on environmental
“green” issues, and from all these factors the Green Bottle became the name for the new pub. Of course, Harrington does admit that the research did take some time as he
had to investigate all the existing local pubs to make sure there was no duplication!
What many people in Pattaya may not know is that the Green Bottle’s opening
day fell between Mrs Sopin’s and Harrington’s birthdays and the pair of them have been celebrating the Green Bottle’s birthday ever since.
The motto of the pub “If I fall over, send me back to the Green Bottle” is also based on real life. Harrington remembers the problems they once had
with some Europeans who would drink till they fell over and they would be lifted onto chairs, whereupon they would immediately begin drinking again!
Like any pub, the Green Bottle has seen its fair share of celebrities and silly
things. The World Darts champion John Lowe was a strong supporter of the pub, but not so much was the National Geographic photographer who was riding round the world on a
motorcycle. He only had one accident during the years it took him. That accident was right outside the Green Bottle. Another young lady, who should have known better, left
the pub a little under the weather, thinking that a ride in the cool sea air would help her sober up more quickly. Unfortunately she started the motorcycle in gear and shot
straight through the Green Bottle’s front window, rejoining her drinking companions sooner than she imagined. However, the champagne glass fountains, for which the Green
Bottle is famous, have only once ended up in disaster. Peter Malhotra, Pattaya Sports Club president (and everything else in Pattaya) managing to turn one into flying glass
instead of foaming bubbles last year!
The Green Bottle’s birthday will be celebrated by the many enthusiastic
supporters of the pub (and incidentally, supporters of Mrs Sopin and her many charitable projects in this community) with a grand “12 plus 1 Anniversary Party” at the
Green Bottle this Tuesday 13th of March. Free party snacks will be available between 6-8.30 pm and the fun will continue till the early hours of the morning.
Come along and enjoy reminiscing about the “good old days” and meet up with friends you may not have seen for years, while celebrating the long life of
Pattaya’s famous Green Bottle Pub.
The Pattaya Elephant Village
by Lesley Warner
I have always been in awe of the elephant - what a magnificent creature left over from the dinosaurs. Why don’t we protect them more? This why I think
it’s a good idea to support the efforts of those who are trying to maintain the population of this wonderful animal. The Elephant Village is literally a large gathering of
herds of elephants and you can witness the daily life of the elephants and their trainers.
They saved me the biggest animal
While you are watching the show the English-speaking narrator tells you about the elephant, information that I had never heard before, which I found it
For example, did you know that in the 18th Century there were 15,000 elephants in Thailand but now sadly there are only 6,000? Two thousand in the wild and
4,000 in captivity?
Gotcha! Lassoing and elephant by
the hind leg.
The most distinctive part of the elephant is its trunk, and is also the strongest part of the elephant’s body. Inside it has an incredible 40,000
muscles! Through the center is a pipe that allows the elephant to make the loud trumpeting noise; it can also hold 4 litres of water. An elephant can lift 700 kilograms, so
imagine what happens when two animals fall out and use the trunk to punch each other. There’s a small finger on the end of the trunk and they can pick up items as small as
a 1 baht coin. This I’d love to see: elephants can swim like a submarine and use this versatile trunk as a snorkel to breath.
I didn’t realise it but African and Asian elephants are a totally different breed and cannot be crossbred. Asian elephants have smaller ears but they
also have an extra toe bone giving them four toes, making it much easier for them to traverse awkward terrain. According to the narrator, who obviously loves his elephants,
Asian elephants are also far more intelligent than their African brothers.
Two elephants logging
When they want to catch an elephant it’s not as easy as you would think. To look at these animals one would assume they are slow, cumbersome creatures,
so to catch one should be relatively easy. Well we’re wrong, an elephant can reach the amazing speed of 40 km hour within 200 yards and can charge 30 yards in 17 seconds!
Using a man on an elephant and a rope lasso on the end of a long stick they demonstrated how they somehow got a rope around the back leg of the pursued animal. Although I
witnessed it I’m still not sure how they achieved this, it happened so quickly.
It’s along way down from the
back of this elephant!
After the show you have the chance to try your hand at getting on an elephant the natural way. When you see the Mahout do this it looks simple. So I
thought ‘yes’ I could do that. What a mistake, I’m only glad that my assistant was unable to get a shot with the camera until I was actually on the animal! They
especially saved me the largest animal in the place! Sitting on an elephant’s neck with only the ears as support is not so easy, believe me. All you have in front of you is
a huge prickly grey head and nothing to hold on to. It’s good fun but don’t wear shorts!
There’s also trekking for those that would like to try it. You go through water and up hills so it’s far more exciting than most treks available.
The show is at 14.30 hrs. Trekking every hour (booking 8 hours in advance is recommended). There are also longer treks available. For more information,
tel. 038 428645-8, fax: 038 423031, 249853, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Antiques, Are They Genuine?
by Apichart Panyadee
A lot of nonsense is bandied about when discussing distressing; some of it is highly imaginative; like thrashing a table top with chains, or firing a
shotgun at a chair frame to create the appearance of wood worm. If a piece is distressed to deceive, the activity is reprehensible. But if it is done to tone in a legitimate
restoration, it is arguably acceptable. If a chair must be restored with a new leg, or part of a top needs repair on a chest of drawers or table, the new part can spoil the
look of the whole unless it is harmonised. A skilful polisher can simulate virtually any surface, colour and condition. Simple staining will tone in restored pieces. But
large surfaces, the top of a period chest, for example, may sometimes be given the mellowness of age by bruising with a clinker, staining and polishing.
Hepplewhite period sideboard
No truly old piece will be evenly worn, but the faker has often proved himself incapable of self-restraint. Instead of simulating wear only on those parts
which actually receive a lot of use, he treats surfaces which would, if the piece were real, be in near pristine condition. Wear in improbable places is a bad sign.
It is worth looking at how you would naturally handle a piece you are appraising. Put your hands where countless others have put theirs, each time leaving
a minute trace of oil from the skin. Over the course of a century or two, this will result in darker patches. If you don’t see them, be wary. Note that polished surfaces
present far less of a problem to the faker than unpolished surfaces. They can be doctored. Plain wood is much more difficult to treat. The interiors of drawers, for example,
should never appear stained or greasy. It is extremely unlikely that anything could have happened to them to creat such an effect legitimately. On finer pieces of furniture
the interiors of small drawers, such as in bureaux, will look almost brand new, as they will have had little or no exposure to the air.
Slant-front writing desks with drawers below were made to stand on their own as well as to form bases for bureau-bookcases, and can be found dating from
the late 17th century. An early example of the two-part form has been for some time so desirable that is both tempting and profitable to arrange a marriage. A bureau made to
stand alone will differ in shape than one which was intended to support a bookcase. It will have a shallow top and a gentle slope. The bureau made to receive a cupboard over
it will have a deeper top and therefore a steeper fall. It is also unlikely that the top of the bureau will be veneered when hidden by a cupboard, though, admittedly, this is
not always a rule. It is preferable to find the retaining mounding where the two pieces join fixed to the bureau rather than the underside of the cupboard, since that is the
logical place to put it if it is to be more than merely ornamental.
Two fruitwood chairs
Another useful clue to a mismatch is that many cabinets made to sit on bureaux and secretaire chests were fitted with a row of small drawers at the bottom.
These should be of the same construction and of the same timber as the small drawers in the fitted part of the bureau or in the secretaire drawer. As with all two-part
furniture, check overall for compatibility of quality, timber and backboards.
In the 18th century, the average upper-middle class household would probably have had a set of 24 chairs, and certainly a minimum of 12. Over the years,
these sets have been divided by inheritance and it is now rare to find a set of 12 or even 10 dining chairs from the 18th or early 19th centuries. In the 1950’s and 60’s
long sets were not in demand. Sets of 6 are what the market wanted. This later fashion dictated sets which were made up of 6 singles, 5 singles with one carver, or 4 singles
with 2 carvers. At that time carvers bore only a small premium over singles, and all were relatively cheap. But demand changed and as large pedestal dining tables have become
desirable again, longer sets of chairs are required to accompany them. Now sets of 8 and 10 chairs are much sought after.
The simplest solution would be to copy up to the number required, but this is expensive with the cost of materials and labour. The alternative is to
scramble the set, perhaps not as authentic looking, but it is a possible solution. The easiest sets to scramble are those with over-stuffed seats and a minimum of carving. To
recognize a scrambled set of chairs, you will have to look for the incongruities. If, on a given chair, one leg is original and one is newly made, check for plausible scuff
marks at the bottom. Remember that although differences in timber would have been well concealed when they left the workshop, a few years’ use may reveal new stain and
polish. The scrambled set of chairs, providing you are aware of any alternations, is not necessarily a reason not to buy.
Copyright 2001 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand
Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596; e-mail: email@example.com
The Rotary Club
By The Sea