shawl border
Passion for Exotic Fashion
When Napoleon presented Josephine with a shawl that had been given to him on his Egyptian campaign (1798–1801), he started a fashion craze that lasted half a century and had major economic impacts on several nations. Fashionable ladies wearing the extremely lightweight Neoclassical gowns of the period went wild for the soft, beautiful and very...
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...
paisley-form pierced brass foil with punched decoration
A Glittering Design by Lockwood de Forest
This brass foil decoration in what we know as a paisley form represents an example of the designs created by Lockwood de Forest, the foremost exponent of Indian design in America during the last quarter of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. De Forest went to India in 1881 on his honeymoon to see first-hand...
Green painted wooden frame with metal wires, modeled after the Rialto Bridge. Intricate wire scrollwork; four doors; two feed cups; hinged panel at either end for removal of trays (trays missing).
Birds of a Feather Collect Together
Every year the fun-loving Hewitt family toured Europe, where they purchased books, prints, textiles, and objects for their budding collections. This photograph shows the Hewitt sisters, Sarah, Amy, and Eleanor, on a gondola in Venice in the 1880s. Perhaps the inspiration for this birdcage, the Rialto Bridge, is just behind them. The oldest bridge to span the...
A ship-shaped bowl, supported by two mermaids, is surmounted upon a base representing the sea. The bowl is flanked by two high columns with mermaid finials connected to each other by a pole entwined with ribbon. Traces of framing lines are visible at the edges of the sketch.
An Ornate Boat with a Mysterious Purpose
As the artist for the ducal court at Mantua in the early sixteenth century, Giulio Romano designed everything from architecture and stage sets to fresco programs and metalwork. But the purpose of this drawing remains a mystery. It features a vessel in the shape of a ship, supported by two mermaids, who rise up from...
Square, 3rd4th century
Spellbound
Knots were an apotropaic motif in late Roman Egypt, meaning that they were thought to protect against evil. The Greek word katadeo means both to physically bind and to spellbind. The presence of knot motifs on this burial pillow represents a hope for protection in death. Similar designs ornamented painted burial shrouds. While in late...
Matt Flynn 002
Bandboxes Get Political
William Henry Harrison was thrust into the limelight for his Indian campaigns while a territorial Governor in the mid-west. After the war he served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1816-19), the Ohio State Senate (1819-21) and the U.S. Senate (1825-28). Harrison was the candidate for the Whig Party in 1840 and for his election...
Black cast iron radiator (b) in the form of a podium surmounted by an arch forming a niche for a standing draped figure (a) of a woman- the goddess Hebe- holding a Greek drinking goblet in either hand (d,e). A composite entablature is surmounted by a Doric cornice crowned by a semi-circular tympanum. The podium base is decorated with bas-reliefs of columns alternating with Greek vases surrounded by drapery at the lower level and repeated scene of a griffin and man pouring liquid into a bowl in the upper level. The arch itself is decorated with bas-reliefs of rosettes and scrolls on two supporting pilasters with fluted capitals. The tympanum has a bas-relief of an eagle clutching a staff from which springs ribbons bearing "Stratton" and Seymour". Stars decorate tympanum, following the semi-circular curve. Radiator stands on four detachable scrolled legs (f/i). The fender (c) is comprised of grille work formed by scrolls, acanthus leaves and rosettes. Flat circular flue key (j) with stylized foliate handle fits on pipe behind tympanum.
The Warmth of the Hostess Coming From the Radiator
The whole idea that a radiator could be as large or as decorative as this one seems extraordinary to most twenty-first century viewers. However, if one thinks about it, Joris Laarman created the Heatwave radiator in 2007, formed of rococo-like scrolls in a newer medium, poly-concrete, to decorate a wall. To correctly appreciate the context...
Design for stomacher in diamonds and pearls with alternating rows of blossoms and bows in the center.
A Gem of a Drawing
When the Hewitt sisters founded the Cooper Union Museum in 1897, they sought to provide a rich visual resource for students who were destined to become architects and designers. As they assembled the works of art and design that would enter the museum’s collection, the sisters recognized that drawings offered unique opportunities to learn how...