Current & Coming | By Carolin C. Young

Farther afield: London’s leather alchemist: Gavin Rookledge, Rooks Books

January 12, 2015  |  Rooks Books produces books (and other leather-wrapped objects) that have a tactile, physical pres­ence while exuding a sense of otherworldly mystery. One might expect to find such volumes in the hands of Gandalf or on the walls of the library at Hogwarts. Each uniquely created binding, made from a vast variety of leathers and other natural skins, seems to say, “touch me, I hold the secrets of the universe.” And yet each commands enough respect to elicit a pause before leafing through the vellum pages, lest one be turned to dust for laying eyes on such knowledge without the proper initiation.

      

Photographs by Debbie Patterson.

These books are, in fact, not made by elves but are cre­ated today in south London by Gavin Rookledge and a team of experts trained in traditional techniques of bookbinding and printing. Some even contain secret compartments that can hide incongruously contempo­rary iPads for living wizards.

Rookledge, when lecturing to art students, defines the …» More

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Current & Coming | By Carolin C. Young

Farther afield: Highclere Castle: The real Downton Abbey

August 20, 2014  |  

The staggering luxury of Downtown Abbey's turreted house and lush grounds have mesmerized audiences as much as any of the adventures of the Crawley family and their staff

The real Downton Abbey is Highclere Castle, located in Berkshire at a crossroads between Winchester and Oxford, Bristol and London. The property's thousand acres of parklands include the remains of an Iron Age hill fort, and the current house stands on foundations that for roughly eight hundred years held up the palace of the bishops of Winchester.

Since 1679 the property has belonged to the Herbert family. Henry Herbert (1741-1811), a grandson of the eighth Earl of Pembroke, inherited the estate from an uncle in 1769 and shortly afterwards commis­sioned Lancelot "Capability" Brown (1716-1783) to redesign the gardens, a project that included moving an extant folly and creat­ing new ones.

In 1793 Herbert was granted the hereditary title o…» More

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Current & Coming | By Carolin C. Young

Farther afield: Philosophy in the museum

July 30, 2014  |  

In a refreshing new twist on how to bring new life to long-revered art and objects both the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam have invited philosophers to play the role of curator

DRESDEN CONSIDERS THE BOWL

Philosopher Wolfgang Scheppe has collaborated with the staff of the Dresden State Art Collections to present an exhibition in tribute to the American art historian George Kubler and his 1962 treatise The Shape of Time. The show focuses on a single form: the bowl. Ninety-nine examples drawn from many eras and cultures are presented in a long line and juxtaposed against a series of conceptual photographs, also of bowls, by the late Italian photographer Franco Vimercati. The human imagination cannot help but compare and contrast them according to the visual relationships created by their ordering. The bowl itself is revealed to be timeless and as utilitarian now as it was at the dawn of human c…» More

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The Market | By Carolin C. Young

Masterpiece London 2014

June 24, 2014  |  In the five short years since its creation, Masterpiece has established itself as London's most prominent and antici­pated fair. Its intent is to present the highest caliber art and antiques alongside a wide range of similarly distinguished luxury goods from cars to wine. However, because it was cre­ated by leading dealers from the former Grosvenor House fair, Masterpiece retains decorative arts firmly at its core.

Engraved map of London by Richard Bennett, London, 1760, mounted as a fan on bone sticks with carved ivory end-pieces. Daniel Crouch Rare Books, London.

This year's highlights veer toward unapologetic opulence. Ronald Philips features an astounding Charles II cream-japanned cabinet on a silvered stand; Chiale Antiquariato, a massive carved and inlaid table of 1905, which was made in Turin based on a design by Edoardo Smeriglio; and Anthony Outred, an entire suite of fan­ciful grotto furniture carved in shell forms made in Venice in the second half of the nineteen…» More

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Dealer profile | By Carolin C. Young

Dealer profile: Lawrence Steigrad and Peggy Stone

February 25, 2014  |  In 1989 Lawrence Steigrad and his wife and business partner, Peggy Stone, began dealing in Old Master paintings backed by only a thousand dollars and a few credit cards. For the first year, in case things didn't work out, Stone continued to work as a cataloguer at William Doyle, returning home to help with research and catalogu­ing late into the night. Their astonishing gamble paid off. The New York-based dealers are now in their twenty-fifth year as leaders in the field and are firmly established exhibitors at TEFAF Maastricht, the world's preeminent art and antiques fair.

In 2011 Steigrad and Stone had the honor of hav­ing one of their paintings chosen from among the innumerable great works offered at the show as the cover of the TEFAF catalogue and its promotional materials. That exquisitely rendered portrait of 1667 by Hendrick Berckman depicts a young boy of about two so finely dressed in starched lace and colorful ribbons over his silken skirts that the picture was mis…» 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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