1981-17-1-b lo res
A Transition in Trends
Vertically stacked archways and medallions made of Moorish tiles frame views of architecture from far off lands in this sidewall from the last quarter of the nineteenth-century. An Indian Gazebo, Turkish Mosque, French Chateau and even an onion-domed Russian church all make appearances. Palm trees, flocks of storks, waterfalls and elegant stone staircases add to...
00000658
Artful Text
Tausend und ein Anfangsbuchstaben – One Thousand and One Initial Letters – is a rare book designed and illuminated by Owen Jones in 1864, eight years after Jones published his influential design sourcebook The Grammar of Ornament. While the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library’s copy is in German, the book was also published in English...
1968-143-1
Bent into Shape
This chair was made in about 1900 in Catskill, New York, the region that inspired some of America’s greatest landscape painting. In the nineteenth century, artists, writers, and tourists travelled to the Catskills in awe of the falls, mountains, and landscape views, which Frederick Church among others so famously depicted. The rapid development of the...
1981-29-101
Tour de France
France is known for cycling, hosting the famous – and now infamous – Tour de France bike race each summer. In 1968 Peugeot jumped on board the notion of a Tour de France and promoted a trip by vélometeur (or moped) through various departments of the country. One section, pictured in this poster by American...
Placket sampler, cotton embroidered in cross, buttonhole, looping, and running stitches, Germany, 1871
Practical Sewing
Decorative embroidered samplers were made by daughters of the well-to-do for display in their homes, and were symbols of gentility as much as of skill. For daughters of the poor, instruction in needlework, while equally important, often had a more practical purpose: to prepare them for work as domestic servants. Going into service for a...
1956-5-5
Queen Anne’s Lace
Neutral tones and subtle pattern define this mid-century Scandinavian wallpaper. Large, airy blossoms of Queen Anne’s lace float like fluffy fireworks on a light gray ground. The larger blooms are composed of hundreds of tiny white flowers supported by a framework of dark gray stems. As in nature, a single bright red flower marks the...
68813709
Rustic Rocker
This rocking chair was made in Indiana, where Amish first settled in the 1840s, and boasts hickory twigs bent to form its symmetrical sides and oak slats evenly arranged to form its seat. The dramatic contours of this chair ensure that it is at once attractive and comfortable. This graceful form is achieved by bending...
Handkerchief, World's Fair, 1939, screen printed silk
A Souvenir from the Fair
The 1939 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens was themed the ‘World of Tomorrow.’ Visitors came away with visions of radio-controlled highways, mechanical milking machines, and the 7-foot-tall Westinghouse robot. Many also left with Fair memorabilia, from the pins given away at the Futurama exhibition that read ‘I have seen the future,’ to...
1956-5-4
I Slån, Slån you?
Gerd Göran’s Slån wallpaper design shows pale blue dots arranged in rows within an irregular, light-gray net on white ground. The pattern is at first reminiscent of bubble wrap, or maybe even caviar, if you’re feeling fancy. Swedish speakers, however, might realize that the name of the paper hints at the designer’s inspiration. Slån (sloe,...