Prior, William Matthew – American Artist

William Matthew Prior (1806 to 1873)

In the decades just before the advent of photography, a solid middle class began to form in America, a middle class that sought to aspire to and attempt to replicate some of the finer things of the upper class. Portraits were some of the most visible and sentimental of these objects, and as a result, portrait painters (or limners, as they were sometimes called) began to flock to [...] Click here to continue reading.


James, Jesse – American Outlaw

Jesse Woodson James, American Outlaw

Courtesy of James Julia Auction Company, presented in conjunction with the sale of Jesse James’ personal Colt revolver and holster rig (p4A item # D9737835)

Jesse Woodson James was born Sept. 5, 1847 in Clay County, Missouri. He had an older brother, Frank and a sister. His father, a minister, left soon after Jesse was born to go to California to “minister” to the 49er miners. He died in [...] Click here to continue reading.


Vermeil – definition

Vermeil

“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.


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.


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.


Newcomb College Art Pottery

Newcomb College Art Pottery

Before it was revered for its art, and more specifically for its art pottery, Newcomb College was the country’s first degree-granting college for women within a major university. Its founder, Josephine L. Newcomb, envisioned an environment in which women would learn both practical skills and academic knowledge when she proposed the creation of the college in the memory of her daughter H. Sophie Newcomb, who died at 15. New Orleans’s [...] 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.


Grisaille – definition

Grisaille

Grisaille, from the French word gris meaning grey, is a term used to describe works of art painted entirely in a monochromatic palette. Technically speaking, there are other terms that apply when the monochromatic palette used is of a different color (brunaille for brown, verdaille for green, for instance), but grisaille is often misused to cover all monochrome works, regardless of hue. There are also plenty of works that are considered grisaille that [...] Click here to continue reading.


Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola

Dr. John Stith Pemberton (1831 to 1888), an Atlanta pharmacist, invented Coca-Cola in 1886. A year earlier, he had introduced an alcoholic beverage called “Pemberton’s French wine coca”, but the temperance movement was then gathering momentum in the United States, prompting him to develop an alcohol-free product. Pemberton mixed a combination of lime, cinnamon, coca leaves, and kola nuts to make the famous beverage. When Coca-Cola was first introduced, the syrup was mixed [...] Click here to continue reading.


Gouache – Definition

Gouache vs. Watercolor

Gouache (sometimes referred to as body color and pronounced “gwash”) and watercolor paintings are often not clearly distinguished as being different, perhaps because making the distinction just based on a visual examination can be difficult, perhaps because both techniques are often used in the same work, but they are different in fundamental ways. Watercolors have pigment, a binding agent, any additives an artist might use to manipulate durability and texture, and [...] Click here to continue reading.


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