Object of the Day

SORT BY:
Imaginary view of a prison interior
The Interior of Nightmares
Prison design has been a topic of debate and a site for innovation, even in the eighteenth century. This etching is Plate 14 from a series of imaginary prison interiors designed by the Roman architect, designer, and print maker, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720- 1778). This print is both an exploration of the limits of the...
Two columns of scaled dots in pale yellow printed against a background which shades from light to dark orange. The largest dot is printed against the darkest orange. This is the cantaloupe colorway.
Taking Wallpaper Back to its Roots
Infinity is a pattern of dots that scale from small to large back to small, printed in two columns across the width. When seen from a distance the design is slightly reminiscent of crocodile hide. I find a great energy in this crescendo of dots over the ground painted with a mottled finish, and the...
Three tiers of fountains of glass descend from the top, set off by swags of glass drops, the blown glass stems delicately engraved; gilt lower ring with six candle arms and an upper ring connected by the glass-surrounded stem and by three chains, all of metal, the lower ring supporting a blue glass disc at the base of the stem.
The Neoclassical North
This three tiered chandelier in the form of a cascading fountain is garlanded with swags of cut glass drops. Three delicately blown baluster-shaped pieces of cobalt glass are linked by chains of gilt metal. The reserved neoclassical form and use of blue glass strongly indicate that the chandelier was made during the last quarter of the eighteenth century in...
Drawing showing female personification of Truth and Fame on a spandrel
Between Fame and Truth
This drawing is a design for a spandrel, the roughly triangular space between the left or right exterior curve of an arch, by the French academician and painter François Boucher.  The drawing is executed with black chalk, pen, brown ink and wash and represents the personification of truth and fame honoring Louis XV. In the...
1931-45-59 lo res
The Delicate Balance of Nature
This figural landscape paper contains four different views and is printed in about 13 colors. This is a cleverly rendered pattern with a complicated format that was inspired by arabesque designs of the late nineteenth century. The earlier arabesque designs contained landscape scenes or activities placed upon thin plateaus, each delicately balanced and supported by...
abstract pattern and soft texture
Quarry Spider
Sheila Hicks’ Quarry Spider (2003) is an artistic achievement in color, structure and technique. The small weaving, measuring only 9 ¼” x 5 7/8”, is one of almost 1,000 works included in her series Miniatures – an enduring project that began over 50 years ago. Each was created on a small loom constructed from painter’s stretcher...
Chinoiserie pattern in blue on a cream colored ground. Two figures, on carrying a standard, mount a fantastical staircase toward a pagoda. Flowers and figures are in the style of French artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement. Rococo style scrolls throughout. Bottom edge bound with white braid. Blue warps at each edge.
Chinese Figures
This textile’s whimsical chinoiserie scene was inspired by the work of French artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement (1728 – 1808), and printed by Bromley Hall, a prominent textile printing manufactory in Middlesex, England. As discussed in a previous Object of the Day post, Pillement’s fanciful illustrations inspired myriad textile designs, especially in the late-eighteenth century. Although this...
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...