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...
OTD_ignudi
Straining against the Void
Some of the most common elements found in grotesque designs are pairs of contorted nudes known as ignudi (plural of ignudo). In many designs, figures assume postures that are variations or counterposes of their lateral mate’s. Like the grotesque motif itself, these compliant figures invite the artist to invent, exaggerate, and rearrange their parts into endless...
OTD_bommel
Acanthus in Motion
A lion and a hare are composed entirely of scrolling acanthus leaves in this late-seventeenth-century engraving. It is the fifth plate from a suite of six designs for gold ornament, entitled Neu-ersonnene Gold-Schmieds Grillen (New Designs for Ornaments in Gold). The acanthus motif, whose origins date to ancient Greece and Rome, was omnipresent in European...
OTD_Salviati
Pleasures and Perils of the Tongue
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” warns a proverbial inscription on a knife blade imagined by Francesco Salviati. Knife handles further illustrate the tongue’s pleasures and perils, and these sensuous yet violent scenes seem to caution diners about to indulge. On one handle, a figure risks a snakebite to reach into...
OTD_Da Modena
Fragile Beasts and Where to Find Them
Have you ever wondered where you could find a spotted, two-legged creature with the body of a lizard, the ears of a goat, the wings of a bird and the claws of a chicken?  How about a monster with the head of a dolphin, ears of acanthus leaves, the body of a snake, and a tail...
OTD_Gallo
A View of “A View from the Bridge”
And this view, regardless of perspective, intends to invite the viewer into a daunting realm of judgmental voyeurism . . . Set designer David Gallo’s drawing for the 1998 revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge was used to make adaptations to the theatrical set when the production transferred from the Roundabout Theatre...
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Nancy McClelland: Making Antique New
The Colonial revival movement in the early years of the twentieth century prompted a number of wallpaper manufacturers to start reproducing antique patterns. The majority of the manufacturers were printing these copies using wallpaper printing machines, while most of the antique papers being copied were originally woodblock printed. While printing machines were the current technology...