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June 04, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

OBJECTS OF DESIRE: The Lives of Antiques and Those Who Pursue Them by Thatcher Freund (Penguin: $12.95; 296 pp.). Thatcher Freund traces the histories of three rare American antiques that were sold in 1991: a Colonial blanket chest, c. 1750; a Chippendale card table made in Philadelphia in 1759 and an inlaid Federal period sofa table. The author sketches the creation of each object, explaining the details of craftsmanship that set a work of art (or artisanship) apart from mere furniture. He chronicles the various owners who lived with each piece over the centuries, and the colorful dealers who bought and sold these treasures. This highly readable account of the antique world would benefit from photographs illustrating the details Freund so carefully describes.

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