Today whilst conducting post-work errands, I stumbled upon a peg-built Windsor-esque chair featuring what appears to be the logo of Harvard University – three open books displaying the word “VERITAS” set within a shield and oak leaves. I recalled seeing chairs just like this in my childhood during a year my family spent in Boston while my dad was a guest instructor at that institution.
I last had the memory tickled on seeing “Mystery Street,” a middling noir featuring a very young Ricardo Montalban as the world’s most improbable Cape Cod police detective. The movie featured a number of scenes actually shot on the campus. In one scene, Montalban rises from this specific style of chair, which prompted me to exclaim to Viv in surprise at my recollection.
I have highlighted the seat.
Today on returning home with my prize I was startled to find no readily available knockoff of these seats available online, prompting me to wonder if my recall was faulty. Looking at the DVD, as seen above, resolves my curioasty but prompst a new speculation. I had assumed, having paid under $100 for the chair, that I had purchased an inexpensive knockoff of the seat I recalled.
On closer examination, there are a number of features that make me thing I have the real thing. Among these are what appears to be shrunken and crazed lacquer, crazing within the “VE RI TAS” seal, and clear evidence of hard wear on the lower legs of the chair. Additionally, there are worn edges on every hard-cornered surface of the furniture, which I initially took to be ‘antiquing,’ manufactured distress.
As I post this, I am pleased to report that I think my family is now endowed with a genuine Harvard chair – of eating!
(I apologize for this hasty, ill-considered, and underdeveloped pun – but the chair really does appear to be identical to the seats I recall, and which one sees in the film still above!)