Not all stories in this blog are about furniture, but someway I find a connection.
There I was at the movies with my wife, drinking water because we are trying to be good, eating popcorn because we aren’t that good.
The movie, The Lost City of Z, based on a true story, one about British explorer Lieutenant Colonel Percival Harrison Fawcett, DSO, (played by Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the turn of the 20th century and discovers an unknown, advanced civilization of Indians. No not Machu Picchu, which is mentioned to give the movie an air of verisimilitude.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie and 88% rating. My wife agreed, I took exception to the broad time scope of the movie (from the Boer War through World War I and the Roaring Twenties), but liked the performances, especially Hunnam as the indefatigable Fawcett.
James Murray – the foil
Every good movie has a foil, a spoiler who messes things up, and gives us a role model for what not to be. This time the role went to Angus Macfadyen, who played James Murray, second fiddle on the Shackleford Expedition, and stick in the mud on Fawcett’s quest for the lost city of Z.
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE, and FRGS
Names have a tendency to stick in my mind, like gum on the bottom of my shoe. And so it was with the reference to the Shackleford Expedition. Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE, and FRGS, was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. The Discovery Expedition of 1901–03 was famously unsuccessful with Shackleford’s ship becoming ice bound, the crew abandoning the ship, and heroically marching across the barren ice bound landscape to rescue. Shackleford would return to his quest, heading to the South Pole, and achieve some success.
Back to the Lost City of Z.
Fawcett’s foil, James Murray, was, according to the movie, second in command on one of Shackleton’s ventures. This, and his money, gave Murray the gravitas to both finance and join in a second attempt to find Z. This attempt was a flop due to Murray, and a third attempt was necessary, resulting in the movie’s last few scenes. Fawcett is joined by his son and they go off in what appears to be a quixotic search.
Here comes the hook
I like adventures. I like true stories. I liked Shackleford’s.
I loved Percy and his story, part Horatio Alger, part Captain Ahab, part David Copperfield and a few other Charles Dickens characters.
I mention all this because of the Studio by Stickley dining table and sideboard below, which are part of the Shackleford collection.
Both pieces have that weathered distressed look that reminds one of the furniture one would find on a trawler plying the South seas, and I can picture Percy Fawcett and his son heading south to Amazonia on their final quest to find the Lost City of Z.
The city is there, I am as sure of it as Percy. And we should go look for it.
“Ah, but…” as Robert Browning said, “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”