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Q1: How long did it take you to write the book on Linke?

A: It is impossible to calculate accurately. I came up with the concept in 1981 but it only became possible to start seriously in 1997. However, because of the lack of information about Linke’s early work, the book was only going to cover the period from circa 1900. It was only in 1999 that I was able to track down the first Linke daybooks that he kept in his pocket that I was able to start with any real confidence.

Q2: Do you have a collection of Linke’s work at home?

A: If only I could afford it! However I am lucky enough to be the curator of a private collection that I have formed for clients so I am handling Linke and his contemporaries every day at the office.

Q3: Will there be an exhibition of Linke’s work one day?

A: I hope so but such events are extremely expensive to organise – the cost of shipping large items of furniture around the world alone would be a challenge. It would be nice to be able to mount an exhibition of some of Linke’s extensive archive material.

Q4: What do the ‘Linke Archives’ hold?

A: The information is in the book! I do not know of any records of a leading cabinetmaker that are so comprehensive. Linke really was a hoarder; his family and heirs preserved just about everything. It really has been a dream project for me as a researcher.

Q5: Are there any outstanding documents?

A: I must have amassed and read just about everything on Linke. I still have thousands of post cards to sift through but these are personal and do not have any real relevance to his business life.

Q6: Will you be publishing any more work on Linke?

A: Certainly not another book! However I want to contribute to the web site as often as possible and update information. The archives are so rich that I am constantly discovering new points, none significant enough to justify a second edition but relevant to academics and collectors. I hope that other people will also be persuaded to contribute from their own experiences.

Q7: Do you think that there is any more information in other hands?

A: I hope so, I have so enjoyed researching this book and would welcome other contributions but I would frankly be surprised. Detailed analysis of this period is so rare that I anticipate the book will inevitably stimulate comment.

Q8: Do you think that museums will take more interest in Linke with the publication of François Linke 1855-1946 The Belle Epoque of French Furniture?

A: Again I hope so. Although I anticipate that prices will rise considerably, they have left it late to purchase important pieces. The Ringling Museum and the Flagler Museum in Florida were the institutions where I was able to find Linke furniture on public display. Linke’s Grand Régulateur in the Flagler Museum at Palm Beach in Florida is on display as a part of the house furnishings rather that as an exemplary part of Linke’s oeuvre and at the time of viewing was in need of complete restoration and is missing its large decorative bell. www.flaglermuseum.us

Q9: What do you recommend to people with such furniture to restore?

A: Take advice and take your time and remember, conservation is the key word today. I have supervised restoration of many pieces in my workshop in London and sent others to a specialist house in Paris, although I now use Yannick Chastang Ltd. in Kent. Inconsiderate restoration can ruin a piece and devalue it.

Q10: Will you restore Linke furniture for clients?

A: Not presently in my own workshops but I am happy to advise people if they come to me for help, either by personal introduction or through the web site.

Q11: You are in possession of a great deal of the master patterns for Linke’s bronze mounts. Will you make those available to other restorers?

A: If I have the master patterns for a missing mount I have in the past arranged for a new piece to be cast and if necessary chased and gilded. Obviously there will have to be a fee for this unique service. There are so many bad casts on the market and even fake Linke bronzes. At least I can complete a piece as Linke himself would have replaced a missing part and thus keep its authenticity. At present the archive is closed for such work.

Q12: Will the archives be available for perusal?

A: Ideally yes but, as with a museum, handling is such a problem, especially for paper material. Initially it would be better for people to approach me for more information and I would do the research. As with the master patterns this could be done through personal contact or through the web site. At present the archives are in a dedicated space in a private collection and not open to public gaze.

Q13: Are you writing more on this period?

A: Yes, as time permits! My 1981 work Nineteenth Century European Furniture has been at the publishers for some time, waiting to be updated for a long awaited second edition with 300 new colour photographs through the kind offices of Christie’s. I hope that this will be published in 2012/13. For years I have been compiling notes for a book on the other major makers, contemporaries of Linke’s in his early years in Paris, such as Beurdeley and Dasson but this will take some time to complete as i now have other writing projects in hand.

Q14: Is your work entirely confined to French late nineteenth century furniture?

A: No, not at all. I curate a large collection of furniture of all periods and nationalities and am presently helping to put together a collection of English furniture. One of my greatest joys is to be involved in forming a collection of contemporary furniture, with a wonderful pair of desks and a whole room commissioned for two different clinets from a Belgian cabinetmaker and designer, Denis Bruyere – a truly superb craftsman.