Bill and Florence Griffin Collection, Provenance – Brunk 5-30-09

Collection of Florence P. and William W. Griffin

Bill and Florence Griffin met at an Atlanta Bird Club meeting in 1945. Bill was a published amateur ornithologist; Florence was interested in all of nature – she knew the names of all the plants as well as the birds.

Both were from Georgia, and soon began to see their state changing before their eyes as the New South swept away the Old. They quickly became [...] Click here to continue reading.


The Moravians

Moravians

In the late 14th century, Jan Hus, a Roman Catholic priest in Prague who had been heavily influenced by reformer John Wycliffe, began to attract followers as he spoke out about indulgences (a key practice Martin Luther would attack again in 1517) and his belief that church members should be able, permitted, and encouraged to study the Bible themselves. Hus’s continual agitation would put him at odds with the Catholic Church and in [...] Click here to continue reading.


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.


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.


Clarice Cliff Pottery

Clarice Cliff (1899-1972)

Colorful & Quirky Ceramics

The Newport Pottery Bizarre Girls created bold Art Deco ware. Clarice Cliff’s hugely popular Art Deco era pottery features simple, streamlined forms decorated in brilliant colors and eye-catching patterns.

Clarice Cliff, one of eight children in a pottery making family grew up in the heart of Staffordshire pottery country in England. By the age of 17 she was working as a decorator at Wilkinson’s Royal Pottery where [...] Click here to continue reading.


Hummel Figurines

Hummel marks Hummel Figurines

History

Berta Hummel (May 21, 1909 to November 6, 1946) was born Massing, Bavaria, and the young girl exhibited artistic talents early, drawing little sketches with images of her friends or things she observed in nature. Her family encouraged her abilities, and by 1927, she enrolled in Munich’s Academy of Fine and Applied Arts. While still a student, Berta became friendly with two Franciscan nuns who were members of [...] Click here to continue reading.


Lithophanes – Definition

Lithophanes

Lithophane comes from two Greek words: lithos, meaning stone and phainein, which has a more shaded meaning that is close to making something appear quickly. The term refers to an image or scene that is etched or molded into very thin porcelain, so that the intaglio image “pops” when light is placed behind the porcelain. (Because of their windowpane-like appearance, they are sometimes mistakenly referred to as “lithopanes.”) This makes lithophanes three-dimensional, unlike [...] Click here to continue reading.


Battleship Maine – Spanish American War

The Battleship Maine

Construction of the U.S.S. Maine was authorized in August of 1886, and she was launched in 1889 and commissioned in 1895. After several years spent patrolling the East Coast and Caribbean, orders sent the Maine and her crew to Cuba in response to continued civil unrest on the island.

The photograph above is a 1896 image of the ship framed in a sheet iron frame made from remnants of [...] Click here to continue reading.


Drake, Dave – The Slave Potter

Dave Drake, the Slave Potter

The potter known as Dave the Slave was born circa 1800 in an area devoted to pottery making. The Edgefield District of South Carolina had the clay, workforce and demand to make it the area’s pottery capital. Large pottery factories dotted the district, most operating with slave labor. Their products were essential to life on the early to mid-19th century plantation where pottery served as refrigerator, Mason jar and [...] Click here to continue reading.


Gemel Pottery Jug or Bottle

Gemels

The pottery form known as a gemel, also gemel jug or gemel bottle, is one of the rarest forms in American stoneware. The word is derived from the Latin word “geminus,” meaning twin, double, paired, or half-and-half. The plural of this same word, “gemini,” is used to refer to the constellation composed of twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, of Greek mythology. The words “twin” or “double” definitely come to mind when one thinks [...] Click here to continue reading.


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