February 2, 2009 | Blogs, it is sometimes alleged, trace their ancestry back to the early 1700s, to the brawling, gossipy, partisan broadsheet newspapers that spread-virally, you might say-through Britain's newfangled coffeehouses. Anyone trying to prove the link by means of a few strands of common DNA might look into a four-year-old blog by Clinton Howell, the American dealer in English furniture of the broadsheet era. "One should not speak ill of the dead," Howell began a post last spring, before doing just that, blasting the recently departed Thomas Devenish for, among other sins, once outbidding Howell on a tripod table that Howell told him he had put incontrovertible dibs on. In an earlier series of posts, he disparaged a pair of mid-1700s demilune inlaid consoles, sold at auction for a handsome price, so unsparingly that a friend finally called to remind him that the buyer had feelings.
[Compiled by Claudia J. Nahson, Morris and Eva Feld Curator at the Jewish Museum, New York. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazin» View All