1958-96-2-a_n
Boys Will Be Boys
This children’s wallpaper is based on the story of Max and Moritz, A Story of Seven Boyish Pranks, written by Wilhelm Busch in 1865. The illustrations are loosely based on the originals and show the characters of Max and Moritz committing one of their pranks; actually it is prank number three played on the friendly...
1903-11-28
An Unfinished Embroidered Picture
In the 17th century, amateur embroiderers or their teachers could commission custom designs from pattern drawers. In Thomas Heywood’s 1607 play, “The Faire Maide of the Exchange,” a character known as the ‘Drawer’ takes detailed instruction for a handkerchief: In one corner of the same, place wanton love, Drawing his bow shooting an amorous dart,...
Healey Gold Tableware; ca. 1893; Decorated by Emily Healey (American, born 1852) and Mary Healey (American, born 1854); Manufactured by Chryso-Ceramics (Washington, DC, USA); Gilt porcelain; Gift of Elizabeth Taylor, 1991-11-1/7
Healey Sisters Strike Gold
In the early 1890s science teacher Emily Healey was working in her laboratory in Washington D.C. when she accidently dropped a certain uranium salt into some heavy oil. When she fired this compound onto a scrap of china, the effect was a brilliantly colored surface. Many experiments with the uranium followed and Emily determined that...
44727_d617f4300fdd311a_b
All That Flitters…
This wide architectural frieze shows contains scallop shells rendered in high relief, set within arches outlined with egg and dart moldings, between which are wreath-enclosed torches. Above this is a dentil molding. This is printed in numerous shades of gray, with larger fills of complementary colors of red and green. There are also elements printed...
barberi
Drawing on the Past
This drawing by Giuseppe Barberi is a design for a church. But almost nothing about the structure is typical of 18th-century European churches. The briskly sketched cross that tops the dome announces the Christian nature of the building, but nearly everything below it is of pre-Christian design. The squat, round dome supported by a colonnade...
1952-161-198
Fanning the Flame of Love
This brisé fan (one consisting of rigid sticks joined with a ribbon) illustrates a story from ancient Greek mythology. Dionysus, the god of wine, finds Ariadne on the Island of Naxos. Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete, has fled away with Theseus, slayer of the Minotaur, and been deserted by him on the...
95882_53ef5bbb427ba0de_b[1]
Walking Beam Sidewheeler
One of the earliest areas where you see a social influence on wallpaper are designs with innovations in mobility. As people began exploring America’s scenic wonders in the 1820s, many Americans satisfied their wanderlust with river excursions, and the Hudson valley became a major destination. It was around this time manufacturers started printing designs that...
hensel
A Woman Uncovered
Researching a work in the collection can lead a curator to some very interesting places other than libraries. I was fortunate to have been in Berlin on May 14, 2015 which was the anniversary of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s death in 1847. I had corresponded previously with Thomas Lackmann, a descendant of Fanny Hensel’s and board...
1996-83-1
Textile by Testa
Although the name may be unfamiliar to some, American textile designer Angelo Testa (American, 1921–1984) made an important contribution to 20th century textile design. As the very first graduate of the Institute of Design in Chicago, Testa was at the vanguard of the “New Bauhaus”, alongside Lazlo Moholy Nagy, Marli Ehrman and George Fred Keck....