Parrish, Frederick Maxfield – American artist

Frederick Maxfield Parrish (1870 to 1966)

Frederick Maxfield Parrish was born July 25, 1870 in Philadelphia to Stephen Parrish, an American artist famous for his landscapes, illustrations and engravings and his wife Elizabeth Bancroft Parrish. It’s not surprising that, finding himself surrounded by the tools of his father’s trade, that Frederick (he would begin to use Maxfield as his name later in life) would begin to draw to amuse himself. Around 1881, the Parrish [...] Click here to continue reading.


Hires Root Beer, Googly Eyed Man

Hires Root Beer

While traveling in 1875, Charles E. Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist, first tasted root beer. Root beer, traditionally made with sassafras, was a popular “small beer” or low-alcoholic drink in the colonial era, and was becoming popular in an alcohol-free format. While root beer has a long history, it has a wide range of recipes that call for everything from birch bark to vanilla, molasses to juniper berries, so Hires set out [...] Click here to continue reading.


Moses, Grandma (Anna Mary Robertson) – American Folk Artist

photograph of Grandma Moses, photograph by Rudolph Rissland (p4A item E8981620) Anna Mary Robertson Moses ‘Grandma Moses’ (1860-1961)

Anna Mary Robertson, more commonly known as Grandma Moses, was born in 1860 in Greenwich, New York. She grew up in a large family, where the girls were taught how to perform a variety of domestic tasks. After she married Thomas Salmon Moses, Grandma Moses spent nearly 20 years raising her children on their farm. [...] Click here to continue reading.


Russell, Charles Marion

Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926)

Charles Russell was as famous for his personal character as he was for his artistic career. A simple and modest man, he left the Midwest to pursue a life on the frontier. While residing primarily in Montana for the remainder of his life, Russell, or “Cowboy Charlie”, went on to become the state’s favorite son and achieve great renown for his depictions of the American West.

An [...] 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.


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.


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.


Wild Bill Hickok (James Butler Hickock)

James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok

Unlike the Hollywood nice guy from 1950′s television, the real Wild Bill Hickok was a born killer and compulsive gambler.

Between his birth as James Butler Hickok in 1837 and his 1876 death, Hickok defined the fiercely independent Wild West peacekeeper that never stayed long in one place. Raised to anti-slavery parents in Illinois, Hickok developed a strong sense of loyalty and duty that lasted his entire life. [...] 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.


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