Image features a spherical red portable television with a convex screen at the front, sitting on a square base. Chromed metal control knobs and a chain for hanging and carrying the set are housed in an indentation at the top, with a telescoping antenna to the right. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
One Small TV Set for Man, One Giant Leap for Pop Culture
The Videosphere portable television is one of the late twentieth century’s most iconic electronic devices. Manufactured by JVC from 1970 through the early 1980s, it renders the postwar preoccupation with space exploration in plastic and acrylic—modern materials perfectly suited to the Videosphere’s cosmic aesthetic. The TV was designed to be versatile and mobile: it rotates 360° on...
Image features a length of woven textile with a deep blue ground and pattern of curved intersecting lines in medium blue. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Albemarle
Among Sir Paul Smith’s upholstery fabrics for Maharam, the dominant motifs are bolder and quirkier versions of classic menswear patterns such as stripes, plaid, herringbone, and houndstooth check. In a significant departure, the designer has based his latest on an iconic architectural feature. Named for the central London street address of the flagship Paul Smith...
Image features a blue wallpaper with alternating images of a naval battle and a portrait of Commodore Isaac Hull. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Wallpaper Commemorates American Naval Victory
This wallpaper commemorates Commodore Isaac Hull and the first important American naval victory of the War of 1812 in a battle between the USS Constitution and the British frigate HMS Guerriere. Commodore Hull was credited for the victory owing to his superior seamanship, even though the Constitution was nearly 50% larger with a better firing...
An interior scene showing Christie's Auction Room in the year 1808 from the print series 'Microcosm of London.' A crowd stands in a high-ceilinged room, with cool green walls and light streaming in through high windows. Paintings in ornate and gilded frames are hung salon-style, seemingly jumbled, with vaguely recognizable classical compositions: here an Annunciation, there an Adoration, a saint, or an equestrian scene, a portrait. A framed reclining Venus (nude woman) is displayed on the auction stand, next to an auctioneer who gestures with his gavel. A lively and colorful crowd fills the room, with detailed dress and caricatured features.
Caricatured Christie’s
Comprised of 104 individual plates and published in three volumes between 1808 and 1810, The Microcosm of London was originally issued in twenty-six monthly parts. Published by Rudolph Ackermann (1764—1834), it supplied the luxury print market with a comprehensive volume on contemporary London. Cooper Hewitt holds a large number prints from the Microcosm, including this...
Image features a full-bellied cup with spiral ribbing, a simple loop handle, and a domed lid with a knob at the top in the form of an apple with leaves. The pot and lid are decorated with naturalistic looking flowers in shades of pink, red, blue, yellow and green, all on a white ground. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A French Porcelain Cup for “English Cream”
On July 14th, France and many other nations around the world celebrated French National Day, also known as Bastille Day. The date is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, which took place in 1789, and marked a turning point in the French Revolution. These days, this national occasion is usually marked with parades,...
Image features a blue and white tablecloth with a central section containing eight blue rectangles, each with a single stylized floral element in white. Four squares with the same isolated floral motif are at each corner with rectangles between containing a dense arrangement of geometrical and floral elements. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Stylized Florals
Josef Zotti (b. Italy, active Vienna, 1882–1953), Austrian architect and furniture designer, collaborated with Herrburger und Rhomberg, one of the largest textile companies in Vorarlberg, Austria. The partnership began after the completion of his studies and extended until the 1930s. The earliest works were woven fabrics, particularly tablecloths, decorated with graphic motifs that were characteristic...
Image features a wallpaper printed in greens, reds, browns and yellows on a glazed cream ground, illustrating scenes from the poem "The Diverting History of John Gilpin." The vignettes include Gilpin riding his horse, and highway and tavern scenes in a random arrangement, with lines from the poem accompanying each one. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
John Gilpin’s Diverting Ride
Early children’s wallpapers were designed to be educational, with many based on popular books. This wallpaper illustrates four scenes from William Cowper’s poem The Diverting History of John Gilpin written in the 1780s. The story contains some silly antics that would capture the fancy of children. The nutshell version of the tale goes like this:...
Image features an ivory colored book cover featuring a pink rose on a leafy stem within a gold rectangle in the center. The word LANCÔME in gold capital letters below the gold rectangle. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
The Scent of French Elegance
In 1935, visionary fragrance pioneers Armand Petitjean and Guillaume d’Ornano opened a luxury boutique, selling a small selection of perfumes and beauty products, manufactured just outside of Paris.  This French perfume company was called Lancôme, its name inspired by the ruins of the castle Le Château de Lancosme near the region of La Brenne in the...
Image features a view of the Grand Canyon. Rock formations in the foreground and to the left are loosely sketched in pencil. The Colorado River appears as a white stripe winding through the center of the composition, between cliff faces painted with bright bands of blue, yellow, and rose washes. Dark clouds in the distance indicate an approaching storm. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Grand Scenery
This year, the Grand Canyon celebrates its 100th anniversary as a national park.  Cooper Hewitt is home to some of the earliest images of the Grand Canyon by Thomas Moran, an artist who accompanied Major John Wesley Powell’s 1873 expedition to survey areas along the Colorado River through Utah and Arizona. This expedition was not...