Object of the Day

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28133_ecb92b9c6bb6bf5e_b[1]
The Always Delightful Alice
This charming children’s wallpaper illustrating the tale of Alice in Wonderland contains many of the delightful characters we remember from childhood: the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Queen of Hearts, the caterpillar, and of course Alice, both big and small. This was designed by Tony Sarg, artist, illustrator, puppeteer, and balloon designer for...
OTD_Defunkt
A Funky Front Cover
A man in a tuxedo holds a white fedora hat in this Defunkt album cover designed by Tibor Kalman. As in some of his other album designs, Kalman chose to alter the band’s name through reverse lettering. Printed in multicolor, the text is especially striking printed atop the black and white photograph. When reflecting on...
OTD_Crabeth
What’s Your Sign?
What do balls, goats, and turtles have in common? …They’re all symbols of a powerful man. In 1570, Cosimo I de’ Medici opened the Laurentian Library in Florence, realizing a decades-long project to house and promote his family’s vast collection of scholarly manuscripts.[1] This drawing shows a design for one of the library’s stained glass...
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...