Object of the Day

SORT BY:
Print showing two elaborate tureens on either side of a rococo centerpiece
Surf & Turf: A Silver Tureen for a Duke
Eighteenth-century meal services were elaborate affairs, as exemplified in this print showing tureens and a table center piece designed by Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier for Evelyn Pierrepont, Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull in the 1730s. Meissonnier worked for Louis XV, becoming  orfèvre du roi (goldsmith to the king) in 1724. This engraving is plate 115 in folio 72 of...
Aluminum and steel streamlined meat slicer with rounded knobs.
A Slice of Design from the Local Deli
Designed more than 70 years ago, the Model 410 meat slicer, also known as the Streamliner, is not just a utilitarian object for the food service industry. It is also a wonderful example of streamlining, a style of Modernism that combines principles of aerodynamic engineering with geometry, often characterized by smooth rhythmic surfaces and forms...
2004-22-1
Britannia in America
The lovely lady featured on this late 18th century panel of wallpaper is Britannia: the United Kingdom personified as a classical deity (think the British version of Lady Liberty). The neo-classical “pillar and arch” design that frames her is a distinctly English style of wallcovering, and she was without-a-doubt manufactured across the pond. Despite her...
Woven souvenir based on the painting 'Portrait of Henry VIII' (c. 1540) by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543). "W.W.L. CO. 1963 DEL. H.H." appears below the portrait. Black, burgundy, golden-yellow, white, and salmon on white warp.
Not Just Any Label
In 1978, Cooper Hewitt received a gift of twenty-two jacquard woven souvenir portrait ribbons from Lisa Taylor, the museum’s director at the time. The series was produced by the Warner Woven Label Company, Inc. of Paterson, New Jersey, which every year made a single souvenir ribbon based on a famous master portrait painting in Western...
Drawing, Design for a Monument Commemorating Systematization of Weights and Measures in France, 17951800
For Liberty, Equality, and the Metric System
The infamous Bastille prison was demolished in 1789, in the first year of the French Revolution, an event that had great political as well as artistic consequences. This pen and wash drawing is a design for a monument intended for the Place de la Bastille following the destruction of the prison. The design has been...
Red leather holder with stamped gold decorations for five implements, holder fits into silver cup.
Have Spoon, Will Travel
Sumptuously crafted by the Paris silversmith Gavet, this cutlery set was a luxury object intended for stylish travelers in the early nineteenth century. Cleverly designed with nesting parts, the set includes everything an affluent city dweller could need to dine outdoors, including a fork and spoon with detachable ebony handles inlaid with silver, a folding steel...
chw4962
Teacher’s Pet: Bright, and Furry?
This children’s wallpaper combines both new and old thoughts on designing wallpapers for children. Introduced in the 1870s, children’s wallpapers were designed to be instructional, to engage children and help them learn. From the late 19th century until the early years of the 20th century, wallpapers were meant to be an interactive way for children...
Family Register Sampler, 1941-69-43, 1832
A Hartford sampler
Family register samplers, like this example by Sarah A. Chalker, were a way of documenting and preserving family histories. They were frequently worked by schoolgirls as part of the later phase of their needlework education. The information in this sampler is organized in rows and framed by a scrolled arch and classical columns, revealing a...
Poster depicting a town view with buildings and scaffolding in the background under large clouds. Large arms coming from above hold a book open to an audience of men (workers) holding signs. All look to a man, standing on a tall platform, pointing to the book.
From Lenin’s Lips to God’s Hands
You don’t need to read Russian to understand this Soviet poster. Two larger-than-life hands lower a huge book from the sky, holding it open for all to read. Crowds flock to the book, extending as far as the eye can see. In unmistakable visual language, designer Sergei Ivanov conveys the importance of literacy—a crucial issue...
Vining floral pattern, printed in black, with background of leaves forming bullets, printed in gray, on green ground.
A Diaper for Your Walls?
Wallpaper is a direct descendant of the elaborate tapestries that hung heavy on the walls of the wealthy since ancient times. Therefore, it is only natural that a significant portion of early wallpaper imagery closely correlates to patterns originally developed for textiles. This woodblock-printed paper is of English manufacture, dates to c.1765 and is clearly...