Nero Wolfe’s Office

The sketch and description below are taken from the Bantam Crime Line Edition of Fer-De-Lance Published in 1992. According to the book: These items are from Rex’s archives and have never been published before.

Wolfe's Office sketch by Rex Stout

Description of Nero Wolfe’s Office

Confidential Memo From Rex Stout, September 15, 1949

The old brownstone on West 35th Street is a double width house. Entering
at the front door, which it’s 7 steps up from the sidewalk, you are facing
the length of a wide carpeted hall. At the right is an enormous coat rack,
eight feet wide, then the stairs, and beyond the stairs the door to the
dining room. There were originally two rooms on that side of the hall,
but Wolfe had the partition removed and turned it into a dining room forty
feet long, with a table large enough for six (but extensible) square in
the middle. It (and all other rooms) are carpeted; Wolfe hates bare floors.
At the far end of the big hall are two doors; the first one is to what
Archie calls the front room, and the second is to the office. The front
room is used chiefly as an anteroom: Nero and Archie do no living there.
It is rather small, and the furniture is a random mixture without any special
character.

The office is large and nearly square. In the far corner to the left
(as you enter from the hall) a small rectangle has been walled off to make
a place for a john and a washbowl — to save steps for Wolfe. The door
leading to it faces you and around the corner, along its other wall, is
a wide and well cushioned couch.

In furnishings the room has no apparent unity but it has plenty of character.
Wolfe permits nothing to be in it that he doesn’t enjoy looking at, and
that has been the only criterion for admission. The globe is three feet
in diameter. Wolfe’s chair was made by Meyer of cardato. His desk is of
cherry, which of course clashes with the cardato, but Wolfe likes it. The
couch is upholstered in bright yellow material which has to go to the cleaners
every three months. The carpet was woven in Montenegro in the early nineteenth
century and has been extensively patched. The only wall decorations are
three pictures: a Manet, a copy of a Corregio, and a genuine Leonardo sketch.
The chairs are all shapes, colors, materials, and sizes. The total effect
makes you blink with bewilderment at the first visit, but if you had Archie’s
job and lived there you would probably learn to like it.

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