189454_0b20a60d84c4b73b_b[1]
A Wallpaper Double Take
On first glance the B 100 wallpaper appears to be a woodgrain design. The knots, woodgrain pattern, and individual planks are all clearly visible. But the ominous gray color makes one stop to reconsider, maybe there is more to this than just a woodgrain pattern. Woodgrain designs, usually printed with earthy colors, impart a warm...
2008-27-1
The Midas Touch?
Is it possible for a chair to be organic, imaginative, and even a little bit sexy? Perhaps, if it is one of the works by American designer Wendell Castle. Castle’s Triad chair is a piece composed of curvilinear sweeps of gilt fiberglass that make a strangely inviting seat. At the risk of pushing the pun...
Trade Catalogue. Katalog Nr. 60 [&65].  Art Deco Lighting. Meissen-Glas.  Dresden: Circa, 1930.  Smithsonian Libraries
Uplighting, Deco Style
Two rare Art Deco period catalogues, newly acquired by the CHM library, include illustrations with accompanying specifications and cost for more than 100 glass lighting fixtures manufactured by Meissner Glasraffinerie of Dresden dating circa 1930.  Their factory was located at Coswig on the river Elbe situated between Meissen and Dresden, Germany. Not much is recorded...
Cushion cover, ca. 1900, England, embroidered by May Morris (British, 1862–1938), silk embroidery on linen plain weave, Gift of Mrs. Curtice Hitchcock, 1975-19-1
The Titan’s Daughter
May Morris will forever be in the shadow of her famous father William Morris, the chief protagonist of the English Arts and Crafts movement, and of her mother, the Pre-Raphaelite beauty Jane Burden. Yet she was an accomplished artist in her own right, a fact evidenced by the skillful design and craftsmanship of this cushion...
1938-71-1
Transferable Skills
Imagine it is Georgian England and you are curled up in front of the fireplace after a long day of damp English weather. Nearby, a family member reads out loud from a recently printed book of fables by the ancient Greek story teller Aesop: “The lion, hearing an eerie voice but seeing nobody, started with...
Table frontal, China, 18th century, silk and metallic tapestry or kesi, Gift of Mrs. A. Philippe Von Hemert, 1958-69-1.
Dressing the Table
Table frontals were used on numerous types of Chinese tables: altar tables, dining tables, and magistrate’s desks. They covered the fronts, sides and legs of tables, and often coordinated with a set of matching chair covers. Such furnishings made furniture more flexible: the decoration could be adjusted for the season, the type of festivity, and...
This is a vinaigrette. It is dated early 19th century. Its medium is silver, niello.
Faint of Heart
Fainting was a common occurrence among nineteenth-century women who tight-laced their corsets, thus restricting both deep breathing and the sufficient consumption of food. Victorian publications warned that fainting could also be induced by sudden and violent emotions, powerful odors and “derangement of the bowels” (a wonderful phrase). Recovery was accelerated by lying horizontally while sprinkling...
OTD_Sphinx
Taming a Scaly Sphinx
An oarsman reclines on a sphinx’s scaly tail in this design for a pendant. Enameled, bejeweled, and dangling from a noblewoman’s gown, the imperious sphinx would appear fully tamed. Like the other marine monsters in this series of pendant designs by Hans Collaert, she symbolizes the sea’s abundance, harnessed by Flemish fishermen and merchants. These...
2015-33-4
Cubist Visions on Mylar
Baroque is delicately formatted and creates a sense of mystery or intrigue in the way it appears to fade in and out, almost as if receding into a shadow. This pattern is from Frank Tjepkema’s first wallcovering collection for Wolf-Gordon called Tjep. Cubism. Based on the cube format Baroque contains stylized foliage that intermingles with...