Stanford White (1853-1906)
Stanford White (November 9, 1853 â€“ June 25, 1906) was in his day best known for his Beaux-Arts work with the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, in which he was a partner, work which typifies what is thought of as the American Renaissance of art and design.
Whiteâ€™s family had no money, but were still well connected in the art world of New York in the 19th century, and [...] Click here to continue reading.
S.H. McElswain founded a framing company in 1871 in Evanston, Illinois, but the name by which it is known to collectors today comes from a partnership that began twelve years later in 1883, with McElswainâ€™s bookkeepers Charles Macklin and John C. Newcomb, who formed a partnership in order to assume command of the business.
The company, which would have enough success to support showrooms in Chicago and New York as well [...] Click here to continue reading.
Cartouche – Definition
The decorative arts world has many â€œsquishyâ€ and vague vocabulary words, but few are â€œsquishierâ€ 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 personâ€™s name provided protection [...] Click here to continue reading.
Baccarat glass paperweight dated 1848, p4A item D9706638 Paperweights
Compact and colorful, artistic and affordable, paperweights have been popular with collectors since the mid 19th century. These circular works or art are created individually by glassmakers who create unique paperweights in a thick, domed case which serves as a magnifier for the figures within. The most popular are Millefiori, but collectors also value advertising, political, and cameo scenes and subjects by Baccarat, Clichy, [...] Click here to continue reading.
“Vermeil” is a French word co-opted by the English in the 19th century for a silver gilt process. Vermeil is a combination of silver and gold, although other precious metals are also occasionally added, that is then gilded onto a sterling silver object. The reddish (vermilion) hue of the addition of the gold gives the product its name. Vermeil is commonly found in jewelry, and a standard of quality (10 karat gold) and [...] Click here to continue reading.
Scandal & the Story of Bakelite Bakelite hit the market in 1907, heralding the arrival of the modern plastics industry. Bakelite was the first completely man made plastic, as until then, plastics such as celluloid, casein, and Gutta-Percha all had as a base a natural material. It was developed by Belgian-born chemist Dr. Leo Hendrick Baekeland who started his firm General Bakelite Company to produce the phenolic resin type plastic. Bakelite was inexpensive [...] Click here to continue reading.
“Cassolette,” the diminutive form of the French word “cassole,” means small container. While the word has other meanings, in the world of decorative arts, it refers to a small covered vase meant to hold perfumed substances or incense. A cassolette normally has holes pierced in the shoulders and in the cover to allow the scent to drift out. Frequently, mounted vases that were not originally designed as cassolettes have had a pierced metal [...] Click here to continue reading.
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.
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 Marly Horses
“Marly Horses,” paired sculptures also sometimes known as “horse tamers,” or just “horses restrained by grooms,” have their origins in France, probably by way of ancient Rome. Since the early days of Rome, a pair of sculptures, each of a man with a horse, have been on Quirinal Hill in the city. The spirited horses and the men seeking to control them are a discourse on power that has appealed to [...] Click here to continue reading.