Mar 162015
 

 

Pictures machine woven from colorful silk strands were first produced in the 1860s by the Englishman Thomas Stevens. He adapted Jacquard looms, designed to weave intricate decorative patterns, to produce figurative designs. (Jacquard looms created their designs by means of a series of punch-cards that regulated the color and placement of the strands, a method that was, interestingly, an early ancestor of computer programing). The resulting “Stevengraph” process was quickly adopted by various manufacturers in Britain’s textile industry, and the resulting bookmarks, pictures, portraits, and postcards became very collectible — and still are today. 

This is a very rare and unusual example of a large landscape Stevengraph, dating from the early 20th century. The picture is the view from Victoria Peak, located in the (then) British colony of Hong Kong, looking out over Victoria Harbor to mainland China. Judging from the style of architecture and its density, this scene dates from the late Victorian era, c. 1890 — a view that looks rather different today! (See below.)

An absolutely fascinating example of art, industry, social and colonial history woven together in a single, beautiful textile.

 

status: sold

 Posted by at 6:41 PM
Mar 132015
 

 

October 28, 1893. A clean, crisp autumn day. Cocksure young bucks take to the track for the 880 Yards Run . . .  A pistol crack, and they’re off! It’s Yale against Harvard against all the other Ivy League schools, and it’s neck and neck to the finish, one break’s from the pack, and the trophy goes to Yale!

Awarded by the Yale Athletic Association to Samuel Scoville (grandnephew of Harriet Beecher Stowe, celebrated author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), first prize is this fabulous silver-plated loving cup — so-called because the two handles allow lovers to pass it back and forth to each other — but toady it’s just the lads, best friends raise a toast together after the race.

Beautifully designed by renown silversmiths Wilcox Co. of Meriden, Connecticut, this trophy is absolutely magnificent: a great bit of collegiate history, and a fine addition to any collection of sports memorabilia!


status: sold

 Posted by at 5:43 AM
Feb 222015
 

 

                           

The charm of Mexican folk art is in its combination of elegant stylization, humble materials, and remarkable craftsmanship. This brass and copper mobile is a perfect example. Reminiscent of the work of Sergio Bustamante, and of the same era, this piece is both stylish and whimsical, perfectly mid-century modern: a balancing peacock, decorated with enameled rosettes, gently swings on his perch under two revolving doves circling sunny medallions, each element handmade from copper and brass, hung from a wrought-iron frame. Una espléndida móvil!

status: sold 

 Posted by at 11:08 PM
Jan 212015
 

To think that this tiny teapot is over 300 years old is remarkable; crafted near the end of the reign of the Chinese emperor Kangxi (1662-1722), this very pretty piece of porcelain has crossed continents, sailed the seas aboard Dutch merchant ships, and certainly steeped countless cups of tea. Yet, it has retained its buxom beauty throughout — even displayed in someone’s front-yard amidst the detritus of more modern, disposable knickknacks, this diminutive teapot declared itself as something special.

Just four inches tall, the pot features a ribbed octagonal compressed balustrade form, a straight spout, “C” shaped handle. and beautifully delicate, hand-painted Imari decorations of cobalt blue underglaze with iron-red and gilt gold overglaze.

Now rescued from obscurity, it will soon be appreciated by a new collector, almost assuredly someone in China. It’s time for this little beauty to return home . . .

status: sold 

 Posted by at 7:24 PM
Nov 222014
 

 

The art of design . . .  Automotive firms and car enthusiasts around the world look to Mark Stehrenberger to imagine the look of automobiles of yet to be made. His dramatic, high-impact illustrations have been featured in all the major motor magazines; they offer an intensely colorful vision of the future.

This large-format, mixed-media rendering imagines the 1989 Chrysler Mojave: sleek, sporty, and undeniably sexy — a flash of lightning! As an unbuilt virtual prototype, this sports car streaks through the imagination at top speed!

Rare, one-of-a-kind original artworks like this are incredibly collectible — and not just by the legions of dedicated Stehrenberger fans; anyone with an interest in industrial design or automotive history will be keen to drive this into their collection!

status: sold

 Posted by at 2:41 AM
Oct 082014
 

 

                           

 

This is a rare, early abstract sculpture by San Diego artist, Jack Boyd (b. 1934 – d. 1982). The piece is an assemblage of various slabs of steel cut and shaped, then cast in bronze and welded together to form a masterwork of beauty and craftsmanship. This figural work appears to defy gravityand the laws of physicsas ridged metal seems to flow and undulate: a suspended moment perfectly captured, movement and motion immortalized!

 

status: sold

 Posted by at 4:03 PM
Sep 042014
 

 

From the Late Middle Ages to Louis XIV to Martha Stewart, the sunburst mirror has been a favored decorative accent for over 500 years. One if its earliest sightings is in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 painting Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife which features a strikingly similar mirror. Two centuries later, Louis XIV, the fabled Sun King whose chosen emblem was the radiant Sun, gave the Venetian Republic a run for its money by establishing the first Northern European glass and mirror factory at St. Gobain, France. However, Louis didn’t think to combine his love of bright mirrors and golden suns ― that innovation came from industrious craftsman working with the detritus from the looting of the French Revolution. Flash forward to 1940s Paris, and artists like Gilbert Poillerat and Line Vautrin began producing modern examples like the one you see here. And now they’re still popular with modern designers;  regal accents much admired for their timeless style and sunny disposition.

 

status: sold

 Posted by at 5:06 PM
Sep 022014
 

The Los Angles Biltmore Hotel in downtown LA was opened in 1923, and it quickly became the meeting place for Hollywood’s elite―so much so that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was actually founded just a few years later at a luncheon in the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom!

Of course, the hotel’s rich opulent style was the key to its charm and success, and this Gorham silver-plate creamer dating from 1924 (just one year after the Biltmore’s grand opening) is a wonderful example. The silver now tarnished black and its regal body battered, its patina speaks of decades of sterling service. This unassuming little object has felt the hands of countless beautiful starlets and handsome leading-men―and has probably overheard some of the juiciest gossip ever uttered! In fact, this creamer may even have been the one that tumbled to the floor when, in that legendary first meeting of the Academy, MGM’s art-director, Cedric Gibbons reached for Louis B. Mayer’s linen napkin to sketch on it the preliminary design for the now-famous Oscar statue!

Classic Hollywood Regency style steeped in Silver Screen history!

 

status: sold 

 Posted by at 7:46 PM
Aug 162014
 

Here’s yet another fantastic vintage pepper mill designed by the incomparable Jens Harald Quistgaard. Fitted with the famous, flawless Peugeot mechanism, this model is one of his earliest designs (made for Dansk before they brand-named their goods; this one is simply stamped “Danmark”). Wonderfully collectible, this is a quintessential example of artistic form combined with effortless functionality: perfectly Danish Modern.

status: sold

 Posted by at 12:11 AM

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