Saturday, December 21, 2013

Antique writing furniture

Until the middle of the 17th century items of furniture used for writing were often extremely primitive. The first writing furniture specifically designed as such was derived from French and Italian furniture of the 16th century, and took the form of a cabinet (with a fall front) on a chest or stand, with drawers, known today as escritoire. The front of the cabinet could be let down to serve as a writing surface, hence the term "fall-front escritoire".
Lady´s escritoire, England, George III
The escritoire was popular on the Continent of Europe, although not in America, throughout the 18th and well into the 19th century. In England its popularity was fairly short-lived.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Object of the day: French enamel scent bottle

Antique French Enamel Scent / Perfume Bottle Flask

19th century

An antique 19th century French enamel on copper scent / perfume bottle. Charming scene of a lady dressed in a blue and pink gown with a small bird on her shoulder. Set on a dark background accented by foliage. Exquisite enamel work! Hinged gilded silver mounts. 

Retains a stopper. 

Measures 2 1/2" in length. 

In good antique condition, there is a tiny flea-bite nip located on the back of the scent bottle near the edge of the base. 

White saltglazed stoneware

From c. 1740, English stoneware underwent a vigorous phase of development in response to competition from Chinese porcelain, the Staffordshire potters leading the way in evolving a whiter body for inexpensive utility wares such as bottles, jars and preserve pots.

the basic improvement was to add white Devonshire clay and powdered flint to the ingredients. These additions, combined with a new method of slip cast moulding, allowed the production of a lightweight, durable, white body capable of being cast in delicate, detailed shapes, and of withstanding the impact of boiling water. As with brown saltglaze, a pitted "orange peel" surface is characteristic.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Antique Seljuk ceramics

Ceramic tiles made in 12th and 13th century in empire of Seljuq Turks, who overrun persia, Iraq, Syria and Asia Minor. Tiles are known from the Seljuq period, which use the Minai technique. The technique involved the usage of seven colors, with blue, green and turquoise applied on an underglaze and fired. Other colors such as yellow, red, white, black and sometimes gilt were then applied on top of this, and re-fired at a lower temperature.

Although tiles are very common in Seljuk architecture, ceramic ware was much less common in that period. Finds in recent years have shed light on this subject which include the extensive discoveries of ceramic fragments found during excavations carried out at Kubadabad, Kalehisar near Alacahöyük, Ahlat, Eskikahta, Adiyaman (Samsat), Korucutepe near Elaziğ and in the Keban and Atatürk dam areas in southeast Anatolia. In these excavations, a large number of vases, ewers, bowls, plates, decanters and similar artifacts in unglazed, reddish, greyish and yellowish soft clay were discovered. Some were painted with grey or reddish stripes and had grooves and embossed crenated strips. Large, unglazed, earthenware jars, decorated with figures are on display at museums in Diyarbakir, Mardin, Adiyaman and in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art in Istanbul. These objects are decorated using the barbotine technique with rosette, animal and foliate motifs.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Vintage annuals

The idea of an annual was a canny one if you were a publisher at the turn of the 19th century. Made up from a run of weekly or monthly magazines bound in a plain hard covers, and with a few added extras in the form of the pictorial title pages and advertisements, annuals offered printer-publishers a second chance to engage with their audience. The result was standalone book that seemed fresh and perfectly timed for Christmas.

One of the earliest examples was The Youth’s Magazine; or, Evangelical Miscellany (first published by W Kent in 1804), a predictably pious tome, although ‘youths’ were treated to some tales of travel and adventure. Peter Parley’s Annual followed on, and thrilled readers for over half a century (1840 – 92), setting new quality standards with its steel engravings by noted artists and, from 1846, its printed colour illustrations.
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