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.


Wilbur G. Adam – American Artist

Wilbur G. Adam (1898-1973)

A Cincinnati native and a decorated artist during his career, Wilbur Adam’s work has rarely surfaced on the market and has fallen into obscurity in recent years.

Collectors intimately familiar with the early 20th century school of Cincinnati artists might be surprised at Adam’s work and his association with many of the Queen City’s notables- including Frank Duveneck, Herman and Bessie Wessel, Lewis Henry Meakin, and Caroline Lord, to [...] Click here to continue reading.


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.


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.


Wood, Grant – American Artist

Grant Wood (1891 to 1942)

Grant DeVolson Wood was born February 13, 1891 in Anamosa, Iowa. When he was ten, his father died, prompting the family to relocate to Cedar Rapids, where he eventually found work in a metal-working shop. Finishing high school at Washington High School, he entered art school in Minneapolis in 1910. After a year in Minneapolis, he returned to Iowa and taught at a one-room school. In 1913, he returned [...] 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.


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.


The RMS Lusitania

WWI Poster, Irishmen Avenge the Lusitania, p4A item A032936 RMS Lusitania First class dining saloon of the RMS Lusitania RMS Lusitania

The ocean liner Lusitania was launched in 1907 by the Cunard company as part of their drive to dominate the North Atlantic passenger trade between England and New York.

The Lusitania, and her sister ship, the RMS Mauretania, were the largest ships ever constructed at the time of their launch, having fifty [...] 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.


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.


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