Author: Cabelle Ahn

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Dreaming with Don Quixote
This Object of the Day  celebrates one of many treasured objects given by Clare and Eugene V. Thaw to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.  It is republished here in memory of Eugene V. Thaw. Click on this link to read more about the Thaws and their gifts to Cooper Hewitt.    This polychrome interior hides architectural, visual,...
Dreaming with Don Quixote
This polychrome interior hides architectural, visual, and historic secrets. The drawing depicts the bedroom of King Pedro IV in the Palace of Queluz in the municipality of Sintra, just west of Lisbon. The Palace was originally constructed in the eighteenth century under King Pedro III as a summer home. It remained within the Portuguese royal family...
Well Marbled
The Palais Royal lies just on the other side of the rue de Rivoli in Paris, well within eyesight of the Louvre. Among other things, this former royal palace is now the seat of the Council of State (Conseil d’État) and the French Ministry of Culture (Ministère de la Culture). Despite its regal name, it was...
Calendar for 1792, featurings six portrait vignettes on the top row
Guillo-TIME: Measuring Time in 1792 France
This print is a French calendar for the first six months of the year 1792. The days of each month are lined up in a column, with the top of the column featuring a roundel with a portrait. To the right of the numerical dates are respective saints as per the Catholic calendar.  The six...
Oversized Roman Ruins
An Italian Hotspot
In 1767 the French writer and critic, Denis Diderot expounded the ”poetics of ruins” writing, “a palace must be in ruins to evoke any interest.”[1] Diderot’s comments were directed toward paintings by the French artist Hubert Robert that often featured real and fantastical Italianate ruins. Such vogue for ruin paintings were inspired by sites frequented...
A large monument in the shape of a globe suspended above sculptural clouds
A Star-Studded Tour of France
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, many public squares required new monuments that celebrated Revolutionary ideals instead of the might of the fallen monarchy. Several fascinating proposals followed including a suggestion by Jacques-Louis David who suggested  in 1793 that a large statue of Hercules be erected on  Place de Pont-Neuf  with each limb of...
Dedication page for an album of metalwork, shows text surrounded by a rococo frame
A Royal Visit
Dedication pages are as old as the history of publishing—if not older. However, it is rare that we see a dedication page featuring a scene such as the one illustrated here. This print is a dedication page from Recueil des ouvrages en serrurerie (1767), an album of engraving featuring metalwork designs by the French ironmonger,...
Vase design with the lid in the shape of a tortoise
The Tortoise and the Vase
It may take a moment to figure out this eccentric vase design: is a tortoise sitting on a faceted plinth or are the two integrated into a single design? This eccentric print actually shows a vase, or an ewer with a lid shaped like a tortoise. Its mouth serves as the sprout, and its tail...
Ornament print showing 12 designs for a cup
Hot Chocolate, I Love You So
Hot chocolate has been a fashionable drink since the eighteenth century, and the popularization of the beverage also saw the rise of new designs related to its consumption and preparation. This ornament print by the French designer and printmaker Jean-Baptiste Fay shows twelve different designs for chocolate cups. Each cup is decorated with a diverse...