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Updated: Dec 30, 2021

A chance find of a couple of old chairs inspired a mini art project

While clearing out the 'cantina' and disposing of decades or even centuries of debris and detritus, two nondescript small wooden folding chairs appeared. They were heavily coated in masonry dust and riddled with wood worm. It took only a second to decide that these were for the rubbish tip.......but just a minute.....what was that mark on the bottom.

The two chairs were a simple non-specific wood with no frills or decoration. They had probably been varnished in their youth, but that gloss had long faded. But on the base of the chair under the layers of dust could just be made out 'US ARMY'.

Barga has a fascinating world war 2 history with apparently five different armies fighting over the strategic vantage points of the Serchio valley (I think the five armies were Italian, German, American, Brazilian and British.......for more information search for the Gothic Line......or read the book Braided in Fire by Solace Wales).

Back to the chairs....they were saved from the tip and given a good wash. Then once dry, VERY thoroughly treated against woodworm, before being given a new lease of life. Multimedia painter Jane Richardson transformed these unwanted utilitarian chairs into a pretty Barga townscape using soft fresh happy colours which contrast with their military origins. They look great but whether we are all a bit bigger than in 1940 or perhaps it's the effect of the woodworm.....they seem more decorative than functional!

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