White, Stanford – American Architect & Artist

Stanford White (1853-1906)

Stanford White (November 9, 1853 – 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.

White’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.


Newcomb-Macklin Picture Frame

Newcomb-Macklin Company

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 McElswain’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.


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.


Ormolu – non-furniture definition

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.


Marly Horse Sculpture

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.


John Ritto Penniman (1782 to 1841)

John Ritto Penniman (1782 to 1841)

Born in Boston, John Ritto Penniman came from a talented family—his father was a physician and entrepreneur, and his ten siblings include booksellers, an artist and inventor, and a teacher. Penniman trained as an ornamental painter in Roxbury, Massachusetts, which was, at the time, a community of artisans, including clock and furniture makers. Some of his early work was as a dial painter for noted clockmakers Aaron and [...] 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.


Hoosier and the Hoosier Group

Hoosier and the Hoosier Group

The word “Hoosier” is one of those words whose origins are lost to time. Even The Oxford English Dictionary offers no real guidance about where the word came from. What we do know is that “Hoosier” was first documented in the mid-1820s, and within a decade, it had entered general usage. John Finley, a Hoosier himself from Richmond, write a poem titled, “The Hoosier’s Nest” that was published in [...] 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.


Antique, Vintage & Modern Paperweights

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.


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