Archives for

Decorative Art

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Artist Profile: Angelica Kauffman

By Renee Corbino Wendy Roworth in “Woman, Art, and Politics in 18th century Europe,” a collection of scholarly essays examining the role of woman in art, titles her essay on Angelica Kauffman as “Ancient Matrons and Modern Patrons” and this title accurately encompasses Kauffman’s career as a historical painter who couched allegory, portraiture, and ancient […]

Those Little Bows: 18th-century Sevigne Jewelry

By Renee Corbino A few weeks ago I was watching the Today Show and one of their segments was Hot Trends for Spring and hidden amongst lip oil and nail polish were purses decorated with bows.  I was immediately interested, as bows have been a popular part of fashion for centuries, and really aren’t anything […]

Exhibition Review: Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848–1900

In a survey of art history, little attention is given to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  Generally, the majority of the nineteenth century is passed over in favor of discussing the Baroque and Rococo of the seventeenth century or the avant-garde of the twentieth century.  The Pre-Raphaelites are a casualty of this oversight with more attention given […]
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Collecting Folklore: The Easter Bunny

As a child, I always wondered how the Easter bunny knew that my favorite candy was chocolate malted eggs, and regularly left more than enough in my basket. (Really I think he was leaving enough for family to eat their fair share well)  As an adult, the Easter bunny rarely makes an appearance at my […]
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Conversation Pieces: Cellaret

Cellaret: A “chest, usually of wood and of ornamental design, to hold bottles of wine in a dining room.” (Dictionary of the Decorative Arts, by John Flemming and Hugh Honour, Harper & Row, New York, 1977. p. 158.) While this short definition is absolutely accurate, it does nothing to articulate the sheer volume of cellarets […]
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From Mad Men to My Mother-in Law: Mid-Century Hoop Chairs

By Renee Corbino My husband and I had dinner with my in-laws the other night, and as soon as we arrived my mother in-law shared this article with me, about a pair of chairs that she had submitted to The Washington Post for advice on restoring them.  She referred to them as olive chairs, and […]
Cloisonne Bowl

Technique: Enamel

Enamel: A vitreous substance normally applied and fused to copper, silver, gold or other metals.  Most are lead-load or lead-potash with or without color. When the objects are fired, opaque enamels are fired at a low temperate, while transparent enamels are fired at a higher temperature, giving them the names grand feu and petit feu. […]
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Vocab Lesson: Saddle Seat

Saddle Seat: A chair seat carved and curved like a saddle, especially one on a Windsor chair. (Source: The Dictionary of Decorative Arts, by John Fleming and Hugh Honour, Harper and Row, 1977)
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You Want to Set a Table Like Betty Draper? You can, and its cheap too!

By Renee Corbino You’re ready to host a formal dinner for a special occasion and you want to throw it Mad Men style?  Betty Draper in Season 2, Episode 8, titled “A Night to Remember” throws a formal dinner party for  several of Don’s business partners.  Her table is exquisitely set with fine china, silver, […]
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“It’s Toasted!”: Mad Men & Lucky Strike Collectables

By Renee Corbino The opening scene of AMC’s Mad Men introduced us to advertising executive Don Draper, who was writing notes on a napkin while sitting in a bar. He talks to a waiter about his preferred brand of cigarettes, and Don hopes to glean from the conversation why smokers are loyal to one brand […]