English Pawnbrokers SignPosted on Feb 13th, 2017 | Perma Link
A Pawnbrokers logo features the traditional symbol of the pawnbroker, which is three spheres suspended from a bar. As legend has it, this symbol traces back to the Medici family – a prominent family in Florence, Italy in the 15th century that was known for loaning and banking. The Medici family crest features the symbol of the three balls, because a member of the Medici family was supposedly working for Emperor Charles the Great and killed a giant with three bags of rocks. The Medicis were so well known as a finance family that other lenders and people in the finance business adopted similar coats of arms featuring the three golden balls. Gradually, the three balls came to signify the financial profession. Another story goes this way - Saint Nicolas, the patron saint of pawnbrokers, gave three bags of coins to the three daughters of a poor man so that they could marry. The three balls in the symbol represent the three bags of coins. Another lesser known possible origin is a coin dating to A.D. 68 during the Roman Empire. The coin, called the Silver Shekel or Shekel of Israel, was issued after a Jewish revolt against the Romans. The coin had an illustration of three pomegranates sharing one stalk. Whatever the exact origin, the symbol has staying power. It is a trademark of the industry, featured in numerous logos, including the logo of the National Pawnbrokers Association--the industry’s premier trade association. Also, the symbol is featured in pawn shops all over the world.
Venetian Gondola ChairPosted on Feb 9th, 2017 | Perma Link
Venetian Gondola Chair with Storage Area Under Seat and Nail Head trim.
Gondola:Italian: is a traditional, flat bottomed Venetian rowing boat, well suited to the conditions of the Venetian lagoon. It is similar to a canoe except it is narrower. The rowing oar, which is not fastened to the hull, is used in a sculling manner, also acting as the rudder.For centuries the gondola was the chief means of transportation and most common watercraft within Venice. It is propelled by a gondolier. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transport in the city, serving as traghetti over the Grand Canal. They are also used in special regattas (rowing races) held amongst gondoliers. Their primary role today, however, is to carry tourists on rides at fixed rates.
The History of Concrete Faux Bois (False Wood)Posted on Feb 9th, 2017 | Perma Link
The History of Concrete Faux Bois (False Wood)
It’s hard to describe how special concrete faux bois is without telling you about its history.
Concrete faux bois (false wood in French) began as an art form in France about 150 years ago. The discovery that cement could be sculpted over iron or steel reinforcement spurred a tremendous wave of creativity. Artisans fashioned whimsical garden furniture, bridges, fences and trellises to look like they were made of wood or sticks.
Numerous early faux bois works can still be seen in France’s public parks and on the grounds of elegant chateaux. Many years ago, wealthy Americans traveling to Paris fell in love with faux bois and hired artisans to sculpt furniture and garden structures for their own gardens. Beautiful examples of this bygone era can be seen at the historic Henry and Arabella Huntington estate in California and many parks in San Antonio,Texas.
The demand for faux bois waned when the Art Nouveau period ended and people migrated toward the bold, modern industrial, graphic lines of Art Deco. Faux bois as an art form nearly died out. Unfortunately, many faux bois masters took their secrets with them to the grave. A lot of knowledge involving the technical aspects of this mysterious art form disappeared and no records of their mortar recipes or techniques were kept.
Now, nature themes are again finding their own place, as they did 100 years ago. Each year faux bois garden furniture, sculpted by anonymous artisans in the early part of the last century, is imported into the United States by high end antique dealers.
History of the Bureau Plat (Flat Desk)Posted on Feb 8th, 2017 | Perma Link
Louis XIV’s Bureau Mazarin
When it came time to design a formal writing desk, the French did it to a grand scale. Conceived around the 1660s, the bureau Mazarin featured a huge, flat top, a kneehole-style body with 3 drawers on either side, a bow front, and 8 legs—four per pedestal, often with curving, Baroque stretchers. Named after Louis XIV’s principal minister, this was the first incarnation of the French-style “writing table,” a majestic piece with regal, vertical proportions and splendid brass inlay made famous by André Boulle.
Simpler versions of the bureau Mazarin existed, imitated from Holland to Britain, with tops inland with gorgeous marquetry. The French, however, always upped the ante.
Louis XV-style Bureau Plat
But the bureau Mazarin would be “out,” along with the rest of Baroque’s heavy style. The Rococo-style bureau plat (“flat desk”) was more like a table, with a slender row of drawers, cabriole legs, and serpentine curves. They were definitely status symbols for the aristocracy—beautifully outfitted pieces dedicated solely to the art of being educated. Eventually, Louis XVI style brought about the straight, tapered lines of Neoclassicism, and the bureau plat was modified to have the famous cylinder top—with smaller versions of both for ladies of the house. The bureau plat remains a popular form of desk today, adjusting well to modern minimalism and chic offices.
Pleyel et Cie of Paris Piano - Handpainted with Foral DesignPosted on Feb 8th, 2017 | Perma Link
PLEYEL PIANO COMPANY HISTORY: Pleyel is one of the most celebrated and renowned piano names in history. Ignaz Pleyel was not only a piano manufacturer, but also a successful musician, inventor, and publisher. Pleyel was a renowned musician and composer, beginning in the late 18thCentury. Pleyel moved to Paris in about 1795 and opened his first music store and publishing house. Seeing the fast rising popularity of the piano-forte, Pleyel founded the Pleyel Manufacturing Plant in Paris in 1807.
At his death in 1831, Pleyel had become an established supplier to the Empress Josephine and all the European courts. His pianos were exported all over the world and his name was celebrated among the highest of society. His son Camille, also a great pianist, gained control of the firm after his father's death, and continued to make the Pleyel firm an international sensation.
Pleyel played a significant role in strengthening and broadening the activities of the Pleyel brand. Firstly, Augustus Wolff who introduced numerous innovations improving the reliability of the company's pianos, creating new models such as the upright piano and Gustave Lyon, who took over in 1887. Pleyel continued with great success throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries, providing top quality concert instruments for stages all over the world.
Pair of Stone Statues was Property of The Hon Belinda Belleville of the Pensbury House, ShaftesburyPosted on Feb 6th, 2017 | Perma Link
Pair of Stone Statues was Property of The Hon Belinda Belleville of the Pensbury House, Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury is a town and civil parish in Dorset, England. It is situated on the A30 Road, 20 miles (32 kilometres) west of Salisbury, near to the border with Wiltshire. It is the only significant hilltop settlement in Dorset, being built about 215 metres (705 ft) above sea level on a greensand hill on the edge of Cranborne Chase.
The town looks over the Blackmore Vale, part of the River Stour basin. From different viewpoints, it is possible to see at least as far as Glastonbury Tor to the northwest.
Shaftesbury is the site of the former Shaftesbury Abbey, which was founded in 888 by King Alfred and became one of the richest religious establishments in the country, before being destroyed in the Dissolution in 1539.
Luxurious Leather Chesterfield SofasPosted on Feb 2nd, 2017 | Perma Link
It is believed that Lord Phillip Stanhope, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773), commissioned the first leather chesterfield settee with its distinctive deep buttoned, quilted leather upholstery and low seat base. ... The Chesterfield sofa is certainly a refined and mannerly example of a beloved luxurious style of seating.
Chinoiserie is derived from the French word Chinois, meaning "Chinese"Posted on Feb 2nd, 2017 | Perma Link
Chinoiserie, derived from the French word Chinois, meaning "Chinese") is the European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions, especially in the decorative arts, garden design, architecture, literature, theater, and musical performances. First appearing in the 17th century, this trend was popularized in the 18th century due to the rise in trade with China and East Asia. As a style, chinoiserie is related to the Rococo style. Both styles are characterized by exuberant decoration, asymmetry, a focus on materials, and stylized nature and subject matter that focuses on leisure and pleasure, while chinoiserie focuses on subjects that were thought to be "Chinese."
Gorgeous Sculpture by Germain JanssensPosted on Feb 1st, 2017 | Perma Link
Germain Janssens was born in 1920 into a modest family in Gentbrugge. In 1937 he joined The Post as a postman. From 1947 to 1955 he was a student at the Royal Academy in Ghent, drawing department, modeling and sculpting. In his works the human figure was his main source of inspiration, as well as the images of the English sculptor Henry Moore. The "waist direct" (working directly in hard material such as wood or marble) was taking one of his preferences.
Beautiful Wooden Sculpture by Ernest WijnantsPosted on Jan 31st, 2017 | Perma Link
Ernest Wijnants was a friend and fellow townsman of the Brabant Fauvist Rik Wouters, who has remained much better known by his more daring and innovative style. He was born into a working class family in Mechelen in 1878. When he was eleven years old, he had already started working in a furniture company. As soon proved his exceptional talent. The boy worked his way up ornament cutter, which meant that he could concentrate on sophisticated carvings. Leo Cups and lush festoons of flowers and fruit were his specialty.
But the decorative work did not satisfy him. Wijnants enrolled in the class character of the Malines Academy and continued in 1906, the decisive step towards the Brussels Academy, where he attended the classes of the then celebrated sculptor Charles Van der Stappen. His work initially betrays neo-classical and impressionist influences. On the eve of the First World War, he had found his own style, which was in line with the pure, silent figures of George Minne and the Gothic sculpture.
After several difficult years, where he could keep afloat thanks to the grocery store of his wife's career Wijnants continued in the right direction. He exhibited at the famous Brussels gallery Giroux, made an impressive series of bathers for a patron and became a teacher at the Academy and the Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Antwerp. He received several major orders. Still every day thousands of drivers pass the images of Wijnants on the bridge over the canal at Sainctelette in Brussels.
Naked girl figures were the favorite theme of Ernest Wijnants. His nudes are delicate and sensual, and bear witness to the quiet understated beauty. Much care he devoted to the style of the figures, like he accented it with a graceful jewel. In a time of artistic experimentation and extreme deformations, Wijnants remained faithful to the traditional beauty. Classical Greek sculpture, but also the Indian and Egyptian sculpture (including the image of Nefertiti) left clear traces in his work. Images such as "The Good Shepherd" and "The javelin thrower" illustrate that he could handle other issues.