Author: Gail Davidson

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The Chinese Drawing Room Looking Toward the Conservatory, Middleton Park, Oxfordshire, 1840
A Chinese Fantasy
This room portrait is one of two views of the Middleton Park drawing room in Cooper Hewitt’s Thaw Collection.  The interior was designed in the chinoiserie style and shows a room mostly filled with bamboo furniture, a Chinese or Chinese style painted or wallpaper of exotic birds sitting in trees, and a frieze of pseudo-Chinese...
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Is There a Gothic Cottage in Your Future?
This charming gothic interior was the private study in the Cottage Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia, of Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas I. Born Frederica Louise Charlotte Wilhelmina of Prussia, Charlotte, as she was known, was promised in a political alliance to Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich in 1814. They married three years later and by 1825...
Two designs epitomizing the fantastical asymmetric rococo spirit, possibly to be produced in gold or silver. At left, a vase-like form decorated with shell motifs, acanthus leaves and c- and s-scrolls. At right, an ewer form decorated with shell, leave and c- and s-scrolls. Two auricular fragments are placed between the two objects.
Over the Top
How wild can you go with design! These dazzling images of ewer-shaped ornaments by the German rococo designer Franz Xaver Habermann prove that German rococo can be pretty flamboyant. This sheet comes from an album of ornament prints of designs for mirrors, candelabra, wall sconces, console tables and other furniture. While Habermann was trained as...
Study for the Sculpture "Autumn" for the Château de Wideville
What Do the French Aristocracy and the Couturier Valentino Garavani Have in Common?
The purchase in 1995 of the château de Wideville outside of Paris by the Italian couturier Valentino Garavani, evokes an ironic mixture of art history and the contemporary obsession with fashion and fashionistas. What has become the latest destination for a fashion shoot and a fashion museum was once an elegant country villa built by...
Illustration of Design, cover
Lockwood de Forest Teaches Indian Design
This publication was written by Lockwood de Forest during the years of his retirement from decorating after moving permanently to Santa Barbara, California.  As he says in the preface, de Forest wrote the book for design teachers so they could teach the principles of Indian design to students, helping them generate pattern through using certain...
Horizontal rectangle. A part of the hill with two groups of trees and a seated Arab is shown in the left and central foreground. In the right foreground and in the middle distance view across the Valley of Jesophat.
Jerusalem: Frederic Church and Lockwood de Forest Paint the Sacred City
The landscape painter Frederic Church built his reputation on grand exhibition paintings of awesome views that for many mid-century Americans expressed a divine presence in the world. In search of majestic scenery, he traveled to South America (1853 and 1857), Jamaica (1865), and in 1868 to 1869, he, with his wife Isabel, their young son,...
An oil sketch of antique column fragments scattered on a hill, with a purple mountain arching in the distance.
Frederic Church and Lockwood de Forest Painting on the Acropolis, Athens
While slated to become a lawyer like his father and two brothers in the family firm of Weeks & de Forest, Lockwood de Forest as a young adult aspired to a career in painting. He was related by marriage to the celebrated and very successful landscape painter Frederic E. Church and the de Forest family socialized...
On a white ground of typographic diagrams, four images of a female dancer on Pointe in a black leotard. Across the poster is yellow text that reads: FELD BALLET TECH. In lower margin: APRIL 6 – MAY 9 JOYCECHARGE: 212-242-0800 JOYCE The Joyce Theater / BBAALLLLEETTTTEECCHH.
A Typographic Performance
Inspired by Paula Scher’s work for The Public Theater, the choreographer and dancer Eliot Feld first approached her about designing an identity for his dance company in 1997, when he decided to rename the company Ballet Tech.  Scher designed an identity using a typographic family of slab serifs, overlaying the typography on top of photographs...
Print, New Urban Ground, Proposal for Rising Currents Exhibition, 2009. ARO (founded 1993) and dlandstudio (founded 2005). Museum purchase from Architecture Research Office and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2013-52-1
Rising Currents
In 2009-10 five teams of architects, landscape architects, and other professionals were invited to take part in a workshop at PS 1, organized by MoMA and Barry Bergdoll, then Head of the Architecture and Design Department, to address the problem of global warming and its impact on lower Manhattan. This was three years before Hurricane...