Tagua – definition

Tagua Nuts

Tagua nuts are the endosperm of a genus of South American palm trees that are found from Panama down through Bolivia and Peru. Tagua nuts, or more accurately, the kernels of tagua seeds, are left behind by the wildlife that feed on the palm’s fruit. The group of palms is often referred to as “tagua palms” or “ivory-nut palms,” because tagua nuts are so hard, they resemble elephant ivory. (In fact, the [...] 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.


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.


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.


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.


Estate of Peter L. Rosenberg of Vallin Galleries – Skinner 3-18-2014 Prov Note

Estate of Peter L. Rosenberg of Vallin Galleries, Wilton Connecticut

Discerning collectors, dealers, and museum curators of Asian art regularly made pilgrimages to a charming 18th century saltbox home in Wilton, Connecticut: Vallin Galleries. Owned and operated by Peter L. Rosenberg for nearly thirty years until his sudden death in December of 2013, Vallin Galleries was widely regarded as an outstanding source for the best of Asian art and antiques. Skinner is proud to [...] Click here to continue reading.


Linsey-Woolsey – definition

Linsey-Woolsey

Linsey-woolsey is a fabric that is exactly what it sounds like: a combination of linen and wool woven together to create a coarse, durable fabric, sometimes woven plain or as a twill (for twill, think the diagonal weave pattern often seen on denim). “Lin” is an old term for flax, the plant whose fibers are used for linen. Occasionally, it’s referred to as “woolsey-linsey” or by the blending of the two terms, “wincey.”

[...] Click here to continue reading.


Collection of Gertrude Dittmar – Pook Provenance 10-2013

Collection of Gertrude Dittmar, Colts Neck, New Jersey

In 1943, from the army camp where he was stationed, my father wrote to my grandparents asking them to store for him an 18th century table and corner cupboard he’d just purchased for the home he would make with my mother after the war. Once in that home, these two pieces were gradually joined by others, until the farmhouse my parents share for over half a [...] Click here to continue reading.


Collection of Joanne and Jeffrey Klein – Provenance Keno 1-22-2013

Collection of Joanne and Jeffrey Klein

Collectors Joanne and Jeffrey Klein enjoy the eclectic mix of American folk art, painted furniture and modern sculpture and paintings. They love the juxtaposition of modern with traditional ranging from symbolism to widely varying textured painted and weathered surfaces. Their appreciation of form, color and texture is exhibited in their collection of exceptional painted furniture, weathervanes, redware pottery, hooked rugs and wood carvings.

Information courtesy of Keno Auctions, January 2013.


Shakudo Definition

Shakudo – Definition

Shakudo is the Japanese term for a copper and gold alloy consisting of 2% to 7% gold and the remainder copper. This alloy can then be treated to achieve a blue-black color sometimes resembling lacquer. It was historically used to make and/or decorate Japanese swords. Contemporary jewelry makers have revived the use of shakudo for its unusual and beautiful coloring.

p4A editorial staff, March 2013


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