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.


Jacquard coverlets

Jacquard Coverlets

Joseph Marie Charles (1752-1834) never really bore the surname that has been applied to his loom. Rather Jacquard was a nickname of sorts given to his family’s particular branch of all the Charleses in Lyon during the 18th century. Despite the family’s prosperity (his father was a master weaver), Joseph had very little education and did not learn to read until he was a teenager. Joseph’s father died when Joseph was 20, [...] 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.


Hunter, Clementine – American Artist – Louisiana

Clementine Hunter (1887 to 1988)

Clementine Hunter (pronounced Clementeen) was born to Creole parents, Antoinette Adams and Janvier Reuben, in late December of 1886 or early January of 1887 at Hidden Hill Plantation near Cloutierville, Louisiana. Hunter would never learn to read or write, later saying she only had about ten days of schooling, and was put to work in the fields when she was very young. At 15, she left Hidden Hill, which [...] Click here to continue reading.


Chief Sitting Bull – Sioux – Tatanka-Iyotanka

Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief (circa 1831 to 1890)

Sitting Bull, the man who would later become the Hunkpapa Sioux chief, was born in South Dakota, near the Grand River. His Lakota name was Tatanka-Iyotanka. In his thirties, he began to build his reputation as a warrior, leading war parties in Red Cloud’s War against a number of Dakota Territory forts. Although the U.S. negotiated with the Sioux in order to end the war and [...] 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.


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.


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.


Baleen – definition

Baleen, Plastic of the 18th Century

Baleen comes from a suborder of whales, Mysticeti, which includes, among others, humpback whales, gray whales, right whales and blue whales. What sets these whales apart is baleen. These whales do not have teeth, but have upper jaws filled with two rows of baleen plates fringed with fine baleen hair. These plates are so closely aligned that they act like a comb or a sieve; whales pull water [...] 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.


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