September 21, 2009 | Portrait miniatures, dressed fashion plates, and fabric pictures have been found in France, Italy, and England with eighteenth- and nineteenth-century examples also appearing in the United States. Dressed prints—the embellishment of fashion illustrations with fabrics to make them appear dressed—have been dated to the 1690s.
The American artist Mary Way specialized in creating dressed portrait miniatures in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. She was born in New London in 1769 and first advertised in the Connecticut Gazette in 1809 that she had opened a school where lessons in painting, embroidery, lacework, and tambour along with reading and writing were available. Two years later she was in New York City where she offered her services as a portrait and miniature painter in the Columbian, a New York newspaper. Examples documented and attributed to Mary Way show that she cutout paper profiles, attached them to fabric backgrounds, rendered the facial features in w…» More
June 1, 2009 | Elizabeth Lahikainen and Associates specializes in the conservation and restoration of the upholstery of objects in museums and private collections, and since 1990 has been affiliated with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Her firm concentrates on interpreting the historical evidence presented by a piece of upholstered furniture and then selecting accurate fabrics for its restoration. In some cases most of the original materials survive on the frame, as was the case with the settees in the east parlor of the Museum's Peirce-Nichols House. Very often there is but scant information. For example, only fragments of the original fabric remained on the sofa shown in the detail at the right, but Lahikainen was able to determine that it was a wool moreen that had been installed in a sideways fashion called railroaded.» More
April 24, 2009 | Cybèle Gontar and Stephen Harrison are writing an article on paper-lined bed testers. Decorative wallpapers have traditionally been placed on walls, ceilings, and folding screens. Less commonly, wallpapers were also used to cover valances and ceilings of bedsteads in the late eighteenth century. Bed and window valances covered with paper were advertised by Francis Delorme, a French immigrant craftsman in the Charleston City Gazette and Advertiser on July 6, 1793. Gontar found a notice in the February 1831 edition of the New Orleans Courrier de La Louisiane that A. L. Boimare's Book Store "has received by the latest arrivals from France a large assortment of paper hangings of the newest style...and also received paper and borders for bed tops." Ronald Hurst, Chief Curator at Colonial Williamsburg noted in The Magazine ANTIQUES in January 1995 that when a 1798 bedstead at Prestwould in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, was changed in 1831, the tester was lined with a neoclassical wal…» More
March 9, 2009 | The first musical clocks were invented in the Netherlands in the fourteenth century. Two hundred years later European royalty and aristocracy were commissioning them. At the palace of Versailles Marie Antoinette possessed a musical clock that played ten of her favorite tunes. (It was discovered at the palace in June 1914, two weeks before the start of World War I.) Musical clocks were also available in colonial America. Benjamin Willard, one of the first American clockmakers, advertised in a February 1773 issue of the Boston Gazette a musical clock that played a new tune for each day of the week.
American musical clocks and their tunes are the subjects of a forthcoming catalogue raisonné—a complete record of the known musical clocks designed to play recognizable tunes on racks of bells made in the United State prior to 1830. It will include detailed illustrations, pertinent physical descriptions, biographies of the makers, and identification of the music played. Even if a cloc…» More
February 1, 2009 |
Information about and photographs of labeled or stamped nineteenth-century Irish furniture is being sought for publication in a companion volume to a new survey of Irish cabinetmakers.
The author wishes to illustrate a wide variety of furniture by Irish cabinetmakers including Eggleso, Kirchoffer, Murray, Gillington, Strahan, Jones, Scott, and Pasley, and carvers Kearney, Del Vecchio, and De Groot. Examples of furniture sold at auction from Ballyfin House, county Laois in 1923 (including a massive mahogany serving table supported by carved eagles and a later matching pair sold at Christie's in 1998), dining room furniture sold at Ballynegall, county Westmeath in 1964, and a center table sold at Christie's in 1998 are being sought. Both Ballyfin and Ballynegall were furnished by the Dublin firm of Mack, Williams and Gibton (1812-1829).
[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi» View All