ANTIQUE LAP DESK
Shortly after I started my small business called “Snowflakes, Custom Designs” in 1997 my sister told me she wanted me to paint something for her. She had acquired this lovely antique lap desk and I was very touched that she would want me to design and paint it for her.
The “desk” was approximately 16 x 10 inches and the top was a perfectly plain piece of wood which was begging for something decorative. It was similar to having a blank canvas and I tried hard to find the perfect design. I have a huge library of Folk Art books and I leafed through them looking for an inspiration. I knew I had found my answer when I came across this sweet picture of two sisters in repose.
The picture was painted in 1854 by Mary Ann Smith and is titled “Portrait of the Tow Sisters”. I loved the colors and the stylistic folk art pose. You can see that it was a perfect match for the desk and it conveyed the feeling that my sister and I have always shared. She is just 14 months older than I am and we are very close.
Most of the designs that I create for furnishings are not direct copies, such as this was, but I felt that I was paying homage to the artist. She had conveyed the devotion of the two sisters in a way that I couldn’t resist.
My sister has a home in Gainesville, Florida and in Brewster on Cape Cod...so I’m not sure where the little lap desk is now. I don’t know if she ever actually used it or if it was strictly for show. It did give me an idea, however, and I had a local carpenter make me a dozen lap desks patterned after the original one. They proved to be very popular and I custom designed them as requested.
I hope the little antique lap desk will be a constant reminder to my sister of my love and regard for her for more than 73 years.