Did you Know

This captivating brooch combines revered jade and precious gemstones to form a juicy peach

Bats and Peaches in Chinese Symbolism

In China, both bats and peaches are considered fortunate, and are often seen in artwork, furniture, clothing, jewelry and housewares. Bats are seen as benevolent because “fu,” the character for “bat,” is also the character for “good luck.” What’s… Read More »
Japanese Lacquer Document Box and Cover

The Art of Lacquering

The art of lacquering is one of the most labor intensive art forms in the world. Raw lacquer must be applied slowly and with great care, and each coat must be fully dry before the next one can be applied. Read More »
Girl in a Green Coat by Berthe Morisot

First Female Impressionist?

Berthe Morisot was the grand-niece of the renowned Rococo painter Jean-Honore Fragonard. She was also the only woman to exhibit with the French Impressionists at their first show in 1874 at the gallery of the photographer Felix Nadar. Edouard Manet painted more portraits of Morisot than… Read More »
Egyptian Masks

Egyptian Masks

Beginning in the 4th Dynasty, attempts were made to stiffen and mold the outer layer of linen mummification bandages to cover the faces of the deceased, and to empathize prominent facial features in paint. This fragile material was especially favored for creating masks and other… Read More »
Étui

Étui

Named from the Old French word "estuier," meaning "to keep or hold," an étui is a very versatile item. These ornamental cases could be made of any material, from precious metals like gold or silver, to exotic materials such as tortoiseshell or shargreen, or shark's skin. Though many were… Read More »
Enamel

Enamel

Enamel is not paint. It is actually a thin coat of glass applied to a metal which melts and becomes fused to the metal when heated. Careful consideration to melting point must be made when pairing enamels to metals, which traditionally were gold, silver and copper. The piece must be fired… Read More »
Oyster Veneer

Oyster Veneer

The sophisticated use of oyster veneer was a striking innovation that William III brought to English furniture from Holland at the end of the 17th century. In this process, paper-thin cross sections cut from the roots and small branches of trees, their concentric rings resembling oyster… Read More »
Davenport Desk

Davenport Desks

Originating in the 1790s, Davenport desks were first made by the renowned Gillows of Lancaster and London cabinetmakers at the request of a Captain Davenport. They were produced in all stylistic varieties of the period, but Regency versions are some of the most sought-after by collectors.… Read More »
Lorestan (Luristan) Bronze

Lorestan (Luristan) Bronze

Lorestan (Luristan) bronze refers to a set of Early Iron Age bronze artifacts that have been recovered from the Lorestan and Kermanshah areas in west-central Iran. Believed to have been produced either by the Cimmerians or by Indo-European peoples of Media or Persia, they include a great… Read More »
Glass

Glass

Glass was one of the most popular and useful materials in nearly every aspect of daily life in ancient Rome. Though the Romans did not invent glass, they revolutionized its production, particularly with the invention of glassblowing in the 1st century B.C.E., and mold-blowing, or blowing… Read More »
Paul Storr

Paul Storr

Without question, Paul Storr is considered one of history's finest smiths, and he is known for perfecting the works, styles and designs of the Regency period. From his Neoclassical masterpieces to his exuberant, ornate vessels, Storr imparted a level of craftsmanship and superior quality… Read More »

Reed & Barton

Reed & Barton, established in 1824, is one of the oldest silver manufacturing firms in the United States. They have long been an industry leader and pioneer in the art of silversmithing. The "Francis I" pattern is their most recognized achievement, featuring 15 different… Read More »

René Lalique

René Lalique remains one of the most popular sculptors of the Art Deco period, and glass aficionados and amateur collectors alike continue to marvel at the grace, magnificence and accuracy of his creations the world over. A significant contributor to the Art Deco movement, he is not… Read More »
Thomas Chippendale: A Name All His Own

Thomas Chippendale: A Name All His Own

Thomas Chippendale was the first cabinetmaker to boast such a strong following that an entire style bears his name and not that of a monarch. In 1754, Chippendale published The Gentleman and Cabinetmaker's Director, considered to be the "bible" of furniture design of its day. The designs… Read More »

François Boucher: Director of the Royal Tapestry Workshops

François Boucher was chosen as Director of the royal tapestry workshops in the mid-1730s. The French painter's fertile imagination and unified aesthetic turned out to be well-suited to the medium. In total, Boucher designed forty-five tapestries for Beauvais, including the current… Read More »

Patronage for Paul Storr

Though he held no official title, Paul Storr enjoyed patronage from many important and powerful figures throughout his career, including King George III. His first important commission came from the Duke of Portland, who requested a large gold font for his son's christening. Storr was 26… Read More »
The Fifteenth Army

General Patton: The Fifteenth Army

The Fifteenth was the last American field army to see service in Europe during World War II, and it was the last command of General Patton. After the end of the war, the Fifteenth was given the task of collecting historical information concerning the events of the European Theater of… Read More »

A Quick Look at Jasper

Josiah Wedgwood's jasper was the triumphant outcome of more than 5,000 experiments. Jasper was his most important contribution to ceramic art, and ranks among the most significant innovations in ceramic history since the Chinese invention of porcelain nearly a thousand years earlier. The… Read More »

The Vaults of Tiffany & Co.

The architects of Tiffany & Co.'s New York boutique on 5th Avenue wanted the building to remind visitors of the importance, rarity and preciousness of the treasures carried by the store. For that reason, all of the buildings doors were made to look like the doors of industrial bank vaults… Read More »
17th-Century Hungarian Hetman Mace

17th-Century Hungarian Hetman Mace

In the 16th-18th centuries, the bulava-mace was the main insignia of the Hetman, the highest military power in the land. Today, bulava-maces are classified by the manner of their manufacture and adornment. Four types are distinguished - Hungarian, Turkish, Persian and Armenian. The… Read More »
Victor Boivin French Silver Chocolate Pot Victor Boivin French Silver Chocolate Pot

Hot Chocolate History

It wasn't until the end of the 18th century that Europeans began preparing chocolate with milk and sugar to create what is known as hot chocolate. The drink became so popular that many of the leading European silver and goldsmiths began making specialized pots just to serve the decadent… Read More »
Chinoiserie Bronze Fire Screen

Fire Screens and Chenets

Fire screens and chenets were a staple of any well-appointed home, serving as both decorative and useful objects. They were placed in front of a fireplace to protect priceless rugs and flooring from rolling logs, and ladies' wide skirts from flying sparks and embers. Read More »
Grand Tour Souvenir of Temple of Vespasian and Titus

The Grand Tour

During the 19th-century, it was a requisite for young gentlemen of high social standing to take an extended, educational tour of the Continent known as their Grand Tour. Fine objects d'art were created by artisans as luxurious mementos of Grand Tours for those who could afford the… Read More »
Celestial and Terrestrial Globes

Celestial and Terrestrial Globes: Why the difference in dates?

There is commonly a difference between the dates of terrestrial and celestial globe pairings. Globe makers often made celestial models in advance, since the stars and constellations were considered established and unchanging. New lands were constantly being discovered around the world, and… Read More »
Symbols in Art: The Waffle

Symbols in Art: The Waffle

Waffles, as symbolized by the waffle iron in the magnificent painting, The Battle Between Carnival and Lent by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, were considered delicacies in medieval Europe. Invented circa 1377, the selling of these sweet cakes near churches was originally considered… Read More »
The Asscher Cut

Asscher Cut Diamonds

The famed Asscher cut, patented by Joseph Asscher in 1902, was inspired by the elegant table cuts of the Renaissance. Asscher is perhaps most famous for the work he performed on the Cullinan Diamond, the largest diamond in history. Entrusted by King Edward VII, Asscher originally divided… Read More »
Sancai Pottery

Sancai Pottery

Sancai pottery was used primarily in the tombs of the most affluent members of society. During the Tang Dynasty (618-906 C.E.), the demand and appreciation for ceramics in China was at its greatest. Not only did people want to enjoy these works of art in life, but also in death. The… Read More »
Paul Revere

Paul Revere

Paul Revere was truly a “jack of all trades.” In his lifetime, Revere worked as a courier, soldier, political caricaturist and magazine illustrator. He was the owner and operator of both a hardware store and an iron, brass and copper foundry, along with his more prominent roles… Read More »
Phillip Rundell

Phillip Rundell

Phillip Rundell did not enter his own maker’s mark to the London gold and silversmith’s guild until Paul Storr left the Rundell, Bridge & Rundell firm in 1819. He retired from the family business in 1823, meaning that there is only a four-year period in which Rundell used… Read More »
Sir Winston Spencer Churchill

Sir Winston Spencer Churchill

It was Churchill's sister-in-law, Goonie, who first encouraged him to paint. Winston and his wife rented a small country house in Surrey to escape the publicity of his political woes. His brother Jack and his wife would stay with them often. She was a gifted watercolorist and, upon… Read More »
Faberge Silver

Fabergé Silver

Fabergé silver was produced in the Moscow and St. Petersburg workshops, with the most spectacular designs created specifically for the Czar. Unfortunately, a substantial amount of the firm's works (including court and presentation pieces) were melted down to mint silver ingots and rubles… Read More »
Tortoiseshell

Tortoiseshell

Tortoiseshell has been prized for its exotic, almost mystical qualities since antiquity. The Romans and Greeks heralded the tortoise's shell as a symbol of fertility and the Earth. It was associated with Aphrodite and Hermes, deities of love and sexuality. Young women would often wear… Read More »
Gainsborough Chair

Gainsborough Chair

Gainsborough Chairs are so named, not in reference to their maker, but for their use in the paintings of the renowned Thomas Gainsborough. The 18th-century artist often had subjects sit in this style chair in his famed portraits due to the flattering perspective it gave the sitter in the… Read More »
Wine Cellarette

The Wine Cellarette

The wine cellarette was considered an essential piece of dining room furniture and was used primarily between the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries. These delightful fixtures were often displayed beneath a sideboard or side table where dining guests could easily view the evening's selections.… Read More »
Grandfather Clocks

Grandfather Clocks

Known commonly as "grandfather" clocks, it was not until the late 19th century that longcase clocks garnered this name. According to the origin tale, two brothers named Jenkins owned the George Hotel in Piercebridge, England. The hotel's lobby housed a beautiful, James Thompson longcase… Read More »
Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany had a discerning artistic eye, and his genius for design extended far beyond the exceptional lamps and windows for which he is known. Tiffany was also a talented interior designer and launched his decorating business, Louis C. Tiffany & Associated Artists in 1878.… Read More »
The Pedestal

The Pedestal

The first recorded use of the pedestal was as a decorative support for columns found in Roman temples in provinces such as Asia Minor and Syria. It was a very different story in Rome, however, where pedestals were solely used to elevate and emphasize the importance of figural… Read More »
Louisiana Purchase Exhibition

Louisiana Purchase Exhibition

The 1904 Summer Olympic Games were relocated to St. Louis in celebration of the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, after Chicago had already been chosen to host the games for that year. Organizers of the World's Fair did not want another major event happening that would compete with them, so… Read More »
Not Just for Decoration... Renaissance Furniture

Not Just for Decoration... Renaissance Furniture

Before the 16th century, it would have been unheard of to have a purely decorative piece of furniture. Decorative pieces, like the "Frick" Renaissance Sideboard, were considered truly luxurious, and were owned by persons of great wealth, almost certainly nobility, to display… Read More »