The golden boy.
Entering the pompous hall of Bacchus at the Neues Museum in Berlin, a golden boy comes running. Attentive but certainly not obsequious, he greets the newcomers. The jaunty curls crowned with a floral wreath, his lips slightly parting for a welcoming word. But the feet of the youngling are firmly welded to the bronze pedestal plate – leaving the visitor waiting in vain. Also the boy is missing his right arm, once probably offering a plate with refreshments. The “Xantenean Boy” is the first silent servant in the world. A particularly special piece of furniture, which once adorned the opulent Triclinium of an antique villa. Well two thousand years ago, in those festive quarters, where the master of the house would host and entertain his guests, the golden boy had begun his silent service.
At the choir of the Karmeliter church of the Archaeological Museum in Frankfurt stands a young man in clerical garments. His hands are holding a heavy console for the chanter, his eyes soulfully glancing to the heavens. The console once carried the big choir book, from which the chanter would intone the holy mass. “Atzmann”, the people called the lithic servant in St. Leonhard near Frankfurt. He had started his long service somewhen in the late middle ages. Elsewhere the silent ecclesial servitors were called “Levites” – holding the Holy Scripture, recited in Latin. A responsible and a rock hard job indeed – probably why the young man’s figure was carved from heavy stone. But just as the golden boy, the Atzmann would be persevering, faithfully devoted to his duties.
No clothes rack.
The classic men’s valet had many incarnations in many names. Some forgotten over the passings of time, in obscure corners of history. Others rediscovered in a glorious renaissance – as modern interpretations in contemporary designs. Historic or modern, old or new – the honorable guild of silent servants is multifarious. But honestly: Everybody has one. Sure, there is the wardrobe, the socks drawer, and the hat stand. But there always is that one piece of furniture taking over the duties of the valet stand: The day’s attire. In teenage years spread over the entire bed, in student life draped over some renegade chair – eagerly holding that carefully selected arrangement of clothes considered “currently in use”.
But becoming of the age of a gentleman, the clothes valet stand is authorised with order and tidiness: originally intended for the noble wardrobe of his master, readily receiving his clothes in the evening. He carefully drapes the shirt over the hanger in his hand, hangs the tie on a finger next to it, rolls up the fine leather belt and neatly tucks it into his chest compartment with the Swiss-made chronograph and the silver cufflinks. The hand-crafted leather shoes he sets on the pedestal at his feet. The hat, he puts on. Boldly cocked to one side even. And so he waits, in silent disposition, until he may dress his master the following morning.
A question of style.
Today the valet stand has ultimately returned to the hallways and private quarters. For not only is the man’s servant a confidently stylish utensil, but also a practical piece of furniture, with a long and eventful history. Modern arrangements re-envision the clothes valet as the sovereign companion, the trustworthy servant and the exclusive confidant for the sterling gentleman. BAUMONDI, for example, assembled a selected series of superb models and exclusive designs. Classic, casual and sporty: character and style deserve a name again: JAMES. And just as ancient Latin quotes: Nomen est omen – the name says it all. A sophisticated composition – genuine quality with delicate detail and a fine finish: Each JAMES has his own head. Giving the silent servant back a significant detail, that was indeed lost over the centuries.
Accents in gold and marble are reminiscent of the long tradition of taciturn servantry, a salute to the centuries. Noble woods and metals combine to the stylish composition of the silent servants of our time. Modern concepts envision the valet stand in contemporary surroundings – from lobbies to bathrooms. Ancient history with new appeal: The silent valet and your clothes. Attentive but certainly not obsequious – just like the golden boy, back in the days. Merely and simply, the JAMES of today.
In the end many a master might be quite grateful for his servant’s tenacious silence. Since it is purported that the servant staff have always had especially sensitive eyes and ears around the master’s private quarters.