Zoar, Ohio – Society of Separatists

Zoar

In the 1810s, a group of German religious separatists left Wurttemberg in what is now southwestern Germany, after several decades of separation from the primary church in the region, the Lutheran Church. After years of persecution and oppression which included imprisonment and property seizures, the separatists, under the leadership of Joseph Bimeler (sometimes Baumeler), decided to flee to the United States in the hopes that they could establish a new community there.

One [...] Click here to continue reading.


Tagua – definition

Tagua Nuts

Tagua nuts are the endosperm of a genus of South American palm trees that are found from Panama down through Bolivia and Peru. Tagua nuts, or more accurately, the kernels of tagua seeds, are left behind by the wildlife that feed on the palm’s fruit. The group of palms is often referred to as “tagua palms” or “ivory-nut palms,” because tagua nuts are so hard, they resemble elephant ivory. (In fact, the [...] Click here to continue reading.


James, Jesse – Trunk Provenance

The Personal Trunk of Jesse Woodson James, American Outlaw

When Jesse James was assassinated by Bob Ford on April 3, 1882 his wife Zerelda notified three of Jesse’s cousins, brothers Joel Rufus & William N. “Babe” Hudspeth and their half brother Joseph Lamartine Hudspeth to come from their home in Lake City, Missouri to St. Joseph to help Zerelda with identification of Jesse’s body and the funeral. They immediately left home in a wagon [...] Click here to continue reading.


Baleen – definition

Baleen, Plastic of the 18th Century

Baleen comes from a suborder of whales, Mysticeti, which includes, among others, humpback whales, gray whales, right whales and blue whales. What sets these whales apart is baleen. These whales do not have teeth, but have upper jaws filled with two rows of baleen plates fringed with fine baleen hair. These plates are so closely aligned that they act like a comb or a sieve; whales pull water [...] Click here to continue reading.


Ormolu – non-furniture

Ormolu

Ormolu, an 18th-century English term, is from the French phrase or moulu, with “or” indicating gold and “moulu” being a form of an old French verb moudre, which means “to grind up.” (This French term for this technique is bronze dore.) This idea of “ground-up gold”refers to the production process of ormolu, where high-quality gold is finely powdered and added to a mercury mixture and applied to a bronze object. Modern usage often [...] Click here to continue reading.


The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

Derived from the Greek sarx, meaning flesh, and phagein, meaning eat, a sarcophagus is, essentially, a container for a body, much like a coffin or casket. Historically, sarcophagi were typically made of stone (though sometimes of other materials, such as wood or metal), with a relief-carved or pediment top, and designed to be above ground, and have been used by many cultures since ancient times.

An ancient [...] Click here to continue reading.


Buffalo Bill Cody

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody

The year 1883 neatly divides William Cody’s former life as a hunter, scout and guide from his later career as a showman. He was 37 in this year of transition.

The early life of William Frederick Cody (1846 to 1917) was colorful, adventurous and, thanks to Dime novels, exaggerated. He fought for the Union Army in the Civil War at 18. By 21, he earned his lifelong nickname [...] Click here to continue reading.


Cartouche – Definition

Cartouche – Definition

The decorative arts world has many “squishy” and vague vocabulary words, but few are “squishier” and vaguer than cartouche. Originally, the term comes from Egyptology and is used to describe a oval enclosing hieroglyphics and having a horizontal line at one end. (The line denotes royalty.) The oval had significance not unlike that of a closed circle, in that it was believed that an oval around a person’s name provided protection [...] Click here to continue reading.


Dovetail

Dovetail – A Definition

Examining a piece of furniture is like examining a crime scene – forensics play a role in unraveling puzzles about the who, what, where, when, how of each object. One of the “fingerprints” commonly found in pieces of furniture is the dovetail joint (also known just as dovetail or, in Europe, often called a swallowtail or fantail joint). The photograph here shows the front corner of a drawer in a [...] Click here to continue reading.


Marion and Donald Woelbing, Franklin Wisconsin – Provenance – Pook 4-2014

Marion and Donald Woelbing, Franklin Wisconsin.

Marion and Donald Woelbing were the solid citizen types that for generations have built American small businesses. They were a true partnership supporting each other in their diverse interests ranging from breeding and showing American Kennel Club grand champion prize winning dogs, to building with their own hands “Thorntree,” their home in suburban Milwaukee, to building an impressive collection of 17th and 18th century American antiques, to collecting [...] Click here to continue reading.


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