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Eighteenth-Century Jewelry

April 1, 2013  |  By JOHN HAYWARD; from The Magazine ANTIQUES, April 1955.

Most aspects of eighteenth-century arts and crafts have been the subject of detailed and exhaustive research in the course of the past fifty years. The jewelry of the period, however, has been somewhat neglected in favor of Renaissance jewelry (so called, though much of it dates from the first half of the seventeenth century), the very name of which has romantic appeal.

 

Jewelry set with rose-cut paste brilliants: (left) gold and silver turban ornament, Turkish, c. 1730; and one of a pair of silver pendants, French, eighteenth century. Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration. 

Renaissance jewelry is clearly the creation of the goldsmith, the worker in precious metals. Precious stones, though they may be imposing in both size and quality, are introduced to add splendor to a composition which would be complete without them: they may decorate the costume of a figure, or enrich the body of a monster but they can…» More

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How America found its face: Portrait miniatures in the New Republic

April 1, 2009  |  By Elle Shushan; from The Magazine ANTIQUES, April 2009.

The stunning events of July 1804 were almost unfathomable for the citizens of the new American republic. One Founding Father had fatally wounded another. Alexander Hamilton was dead and Aaron Burr  would be indicted for murder. The duel and its aftermath marked a turning point in American culture.

Five days before the Burr-Hamilton duel, Edward Greene Malbone arrived for a week's stay in NewYork. Considered the finest miniaturist in the United States, Malbone was attractive, popular, already exceedingly successful, and only twenty-six years old. As Hamilton's massive funeral snaked up Broadway on July 14, he was meeting twenty-five year-old Anson Dickinson for the first time. A fledgling artist, Dickinson had commissioned Malbone to paint his miniature, hoping to learn by watching the more experienced artist at work (Fig. 1).1 So absorbed was Malbone in the painting "that he neither paused himself to view the pagea…» More

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Reverie on a pair of Japanese screens

July 1, 2001  |  By Michael R. Cunningham; from the Magazine ANTIQUES, July 2001

The idea of landscape in the West has historically been aligned with geography. The appearance of a given earthbound place in a painting or photograph normally initiates for the Western viewer an immediate response of physical orientation. We wish to understand the particular environmental conditions and perhaps the terrain of the place. Using personal experience, we gauge what it might hold in store for the actual-or the imaginary-viewer: its air, light, dampness or dryness, the presence of other beings, and so forth. Customarily, we associate ourselves with being there, feet on the ground, prepared for the elements and the delight or challenge of the site. Even if other, more evanescent qualities-such as light-constitute the central feature of a landscape image, as in some seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, we still inevitably parse the landscape setting in order to orient ourselves topographically so as to…» More

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Dated English delftware and slipware in the Longridge Collection

June 1, 1999  |  By Leslie B. Grigsby. Originally published in June 1999.

The Longridge Collection of ceramics is English pottery Valhalla. Nestled in a New England house with rare English and Continental treen, medieval ivory and metalwork, and early furniture and carvings, this extraordinary collection of ceramics can be divided into two main groups: about 440 pieces of tinglazed earthenware (delftware) and 100 pieces of lead-glazed earthenware with slip decoration (slipware). Many of the pieces are quite rare, and all reflect the owner's fascination with bold shapes, decorative motifs, and inscriptions. Conspicuous is almost unheard of number of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century dated pots and dishes: 132 of delftware and 55 of slipware.

Many of the dated pieces in the collection can be organized by decorative subject: Chinese and Japanese (kakiemon) motifs and European themes, including neoclassical and commemorative designs, company arms, landscapes, and religious and everyday subje…» More

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Beatrix Potter, scientific illustrator

June 1, 1996  |  By Robert McCracken Peck

Originally published in June 1996

At a time when many house museums have difficulty keeping their doors open, a small cottage in the English Lake District can barely manage to close its doors at all.  Hill top (Pl. VII), the two-hundred-acre farm where Beatrix Potter lived for the last thirty-eight years of her life, is so overwhelmed with visitors each summer that the National Trust, which has owned and operated the property since Potter's death in 1943, has imposed a limit of eight hundred visitors a day to avoid overcrowding.

Potter’s house Hill Top, near Sawrey, England. National Trust; photograph by the author.

To the eighty thousand visitors who traipse through the tiny cottage annually-some from as far away as Japan-Hill top represents a nostalgic return to the comforting childhood world of Jemima Puddle-Duck, Squirrel Nutkin, and the many other animals whose adventurous lives filled the pages of Potter's books.  Although it is Peter Rabbit w…» More

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NYG 2013

[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi

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