Author: Rebekah Pollock

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This is a coffee pot. It is dated 1670–1695. Its medium is tin-glazed earthenware with cobalt decoration.
Persian Blue
The decoration of this coffee pot, with its solid ground of cobalt blue, is of a type known as “bleu persan”, after a style of Persian ceramics imported to Europe in the late seventeenth century. Cobalt is one of the few compounds capable of withstanding high kiln temperatures, and consequently is the ideal medium for...
Three jewelry designs, each below the other. The watch chain has three balls connected by thin pieces of chain. The first bracelet has six sheild-like disks connected by joints. The second bracelet has a center section inscribed "VBI AMOR / IBI ANIMA."
Emulating the Ancients in Gold
Capitalizing on growing nationalism after Italy’s unification in 1870, the Castellani jewelry company coined the term “Italian archeological jewelry.” Their copies of ancient Etruscan, Greek, and Roman works appealed to erudite consumers in Europe and America, accommodating nineteenth-century tastes for revival styles. Although based in Rome, the company promoted their designs abroad and won acclaim at...
Door Boss And Nail; Spain, ca. 1500; Wrought iron; Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt; 1931-88-11-a,b
Iron Will
Since the ninth century, pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela in Spain have followed a route marked by scallop shells. The Way of Saint James has lead thousands of pilgrims on foot across the Iberian Peninsula to visit the relics of the Apostle James, who was martyred in 44 C.E. The journey became especially popular...
View across a meadow toward a grotto in the Boboli Gardens which features a fountain. The central portal is flanked by sculptures. At left a wall and the corridor leading to the Uffizi. Beneath it, a tree and bench with a figure. At right, a wall with a view of houses in the distance. A group of figures approaches at extreme right.
Grotto-esque
In the eighteenth century, many Italian artists produced views of popular tourist destinations to sell as souvenirs to travelers on the Grand Tour. This drawing by an unknown artist shows the Grotta Grande in the Boboli Gardens of Florence. Visible within the grotto’s chambers are Paris and Helena, sculpted in 1560 by Vincenzo di Rafaello...
1977-52-30-a,b
Why Gild the Lily?
The unpainted surface of this perfume burner draws attention to the milky whiteness of the ceramic body. In the mid-eighteenth century, the right to use gold on ceramics was the exclusive privilege of the Vincennes manufactory, compelling Mennecy and other French factories to focus on the sculptural aspect of their production. Unpainted, glazed porcelain became...
Dark-skinned youth dressed as Turkish Sultana sits cross-legged on mound of rugs and cushions. His cloak edged in fur and wears elaborate turban of feathers and jewels, with more jewels at neck and waist.
Dressing the Part
In preparation for the festivities of Carnival in 1748, a group of students at the French Academy in Rome conspired to dress collectively as Turkish men traveling in a sultan’s caravan to Mecca. The pensionnaires crafted homemade costumes, painting linen to resemble sumptuous brocades and hanging oversized turbans with faux pearls and feathers. Their fantastic...
Panel from a firescreen, 1859–1869, Halifax, England, worsted threads adhered to linen ground, Bequest of Mrs. John Innes Kane, 1926-22-339.
A Curious Carpet
By the middle of the nineteenth century the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. British manufacturers of all kinds developed innovative techniques to produce goods for an ever-growing global consumer base. Many successful companies developed artistic sidelines that utilized their established resources in experimental ways. John Crossley & Son was one of the largest carpet...
Presentation drawing for the Comte de Rambuteau: At the fountain base, at the center of the main basin, are six nude figures personifying the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and four symbols of maritime fishing industries; these figures sit on prows of ships. Above them (and between the basin tier and the crowning cap) are four genii, between each of which is a dolphin (below) and a swan (above) sending jets of water into the basin tier. At the top of the fountain is a mushroom-shaped cap from which water spills to a basin tier, which in turn spills a profusion of water to the larger main basin at ground level. At the perifery of the fountain are nereid figures, each holding a fish which spouts a jet backwards towards the center of the fountain.
Place de la Concorde
This splendid presentation drawing was prepared for the prestigious civic commission to redesign the Place de la Concorde, one of the great public squares of Paris. When the viceroy of Egypt, Muḥammad ʿAlī, offered France an obelisk from the reign of Ramses II as a gift in 1831, the German-born designer Jakob Ignaz Hittorff was...
A drawing of a tomb with a sarcophagus in a rounded-arch niche. A robed figure of Death stands before the sarcophagus holding a smoking lamp. The tomb is flanked by 2 recumbent lions carved in stone.
Simply Macabre
In this atmospheric drawing, the robed figure of Death holds a smoking brazier and presides over a tomb cast in a gray wash. Stark shadows describe the geometric forms of a massive sarcophagus and sepulchral niche. The simplicity of the somber interior evokes the proportions of Egyptian architecture, as well as that ancient culture’s fascination with death. Louis-Jean...