Object of the Day

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pocket
Pick a pocket
Before the mid-19th century, pockets were not sewn into women’s clothing, but were an accessory. Pockets, usually worn in pairs, were tied around the waist between a woman’s under-petticoat and her petticoat or skirt. Openings in the side seams of these voluminous skirts provided a discreet way for her to access their contents. Pockets were...
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New Twist on an Old Motif
This sample book for the Paisley Collection is characteristic of the historic revivalism that was popular in the late 1960s. As the title suggests, all the designs are variations on the paisley motif. While many of the patterns show traditional styling, the designs have all been reinterpreted with a 1960s edge. The colors are vibrant,...
roundels
Elephants and Winged Horses
This Spanish silk, decorated with exotic and imaginary animals in pearled roundels, was most likely woven by Islamic craftspeople in 11th or 12th-century Spain. The roundels are bilaterally symmetrical and depict, from the top down, elephants, senmurvs (composite creatures with dog heads, lion paws, peacock tails, and wings), and winged horses. Patterns, like the zigzag...
Ducharne sample book
Fresh Floral Prints from 1940
François Ducharne (French, n.d.), owner of the luxury textile company Soieries F. Ducharne, sold his colorful printed dress silks in France and the United States. Ducharne started his business in Lyon, France in 1920, likely inspired by the successful and profitable collaborations between artists and textile manufacturers such as Raoul Dufy’s (French, 1877–1953) partnership with...
1987-24-25
A Painterly Warning
It seems only fitting that Anton Otto Fischer, an artist best known for seascapes, began his career working on merchant vessels and steam ships. After immigrating to New York, Fischer assisted the American illustrator A.B. Frost. This experience led Fischer to pursue an education in Paris, where he developed his personal design aesthetic. Fischer’s 1942...
Two designs epitomizing the fantastical asymmetric rococo spirit, possibly to be produced in gold or silver. At left, a vase-like form decorated with shell motifs, acanthus leaves and c- and s-scrolls. At right, an ewer form decorated with shell, leave and c- and s-scrolls. Two auricular fragments are placed between the two objects.
Over the Top
How wild can you go with design! These dazzling images of ewer-shaped ornaments by the German rococo designer Franz Xaver Habermann prove that German rococo can be pretty flamboyant. This sheet comes from an album of ornament prints of designs for mirrors, candelabra, wall sconces, console tables and other furniture. While Habermann was trained as...
On tan ground, imprinted in green, in a stencilled typeface (echoing stencils found on bales of tobacco), across upper edge: EL PRODUCTO / cigars. Lower right quadrant, imprinted in brown: for Dad... / with love / and kisses; three images of lips in red; at center left an image of a man in the form of a brown cigar, wearing yellow and red brimmed hat and holding a cigar in one hand and a cane in the other. A product label, in white, red and yellow, is wrapped around the upper part of the cigar.
A Cigar a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Throughout the majority of his career, comedian George Burns (1896-1996), was rarely seen without his favorite cigar in hand – the El Producto Queens. He reportedly smoked 10-15 cigars each day and lived to be 100. At 98 he was even quoted saying, “If I’d taken my doctor’s advice and quit smoking when he advised...
Tapering cylindrical form with circular mouth, broad shoulder; body decorated with horizontal grooves; creamy yellow matte glaze.
A Modern Wedgwood Unadorned
This austere vase embodies nearly the exact opposite of Wedgwood’s well-known decorative aesthetic. Founded in 1759, the firm developed a sophisticated earthenware, often either black to imitate ancient Greek ceramics, or blue with relief decoration featuring neoclassical husks, swags of flowers and pastoral scenes. Early wares made of this material were cheaper than porcelain, but...
Tharrakarre
The Dreamtime
The Utopia Women’s Batik group was formed in 1977 to empower the women of the Utopia Aboriginal Freehold Property to generate income from creative work. Batik, or wax-resist dyeing, is not indigenous to Australia, but among the many crafts the women were exposed to, batik was the most popular technique. Through the 1980s the group,...