Wednesday, September 20, 2017


She hates Pottery Barn?

I know, she says it’s all mass-produced, nothing is authentic, 
and everyone winds up having the same stuff.


3 July 1965

In 1965, John Drake was in an African nation, undercover as a Major Sullivan during the lead-up to the election for prime minister.  He stayed with a Mrs. Manningham in her home where she had a lot of African art hanging on the wall, including that mask on the wall to Drake’s right.


1 January 1966

Six months later, Drake was on assignment in Haiti, trying to find a missing British couple who were nuclear scientists.  At the hotel where he was staying, that same mask could be seen outside the suite of his Soviet counterpart, Major Nicola Tarasova.

This is such an easy Zonk to splain away.  Mrs. Manningham (who may have been related by marriage to Jack and Bella Manningham of London in the late 19th Century*) probably thought her mask was an original work of art.  Her late husband Henry, who seemed to have shaped all of his wife’s opinions, probably bought a cheap knock-off in some tourist trap of a souvenir shop and passed it off to his wife as an original.

The manufacturer of that mask shipped them all over the world, perhaps even to Pottery Barn, which does have a televersion thanks to an episode of ‘Friends’.  (The show practically kissed the ass of that company for the product placement.)

Hotels are always looking for faux objets d’art to display in the rooms and hallways and the lobby.  That mask would certainly have fit the bill if they were trying for the ambience of voodoo.

I bet if Mrs. Manningham could tear herself away from her Tanqueray straight no chaser long enough, she could probably take that mask off the wall and look on the backside – where she would find a “Made In China” stamp.

Simple splainin.


* The Manninghams were the main characters in the play "Angel Street", later made as the movie "Gaslight".

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