The Sunday Magazine of The St. Louis Republic, November 20, 1910
Three young boys are sitting or kneeling around pumpkins, carving them into jack-o-lanterns. The boys are wearing early 1900s attire. Behind them is a banner that reads: “Thanksgiving 1910,” with wishbones and two boys holding axes with turkeys behind them on a lead. 1
The St. Louis Republic was published daily by George Knapp and Co. between 1888 and 1919. Its weekday editions consistently featured reports on local, national, and international politics; local or statewide criminal investigations; society news; financial news (particularly reports on the price of grain and local markets); classifieds, marriages and deaths; and editorials. Its Saturday edition typically consisted of two news sections with longer articles, poetry or fiction. Sunday editions included three or more news sections, a comics section, and a magazine featuring society news and events, literature reviews and excerpts, and articles about travel and culture. 2
“The English wing chair, in which we sit protected and alone and enclosed, facing the warmth of the fire, embraced by wings as if those of a soft sheltering angel. The wing chair’s heaviness and solidity stipulate a different form of life, one of security, of solidity, of immobility, of peace. The wing chair goes with the bourgeois interior, the hearth, with an Englishman’s home being his castle. One is padded, buffered, cosseted, soothed. One’s chair is one’s signature.” 1
The wing chair is a high backed, upholstered easy chair with side wings, or ear pieces, on either side of the chair back. It was originally a mid 17th century design. Sometimes referred to as a library chair, grandfather chair, forty-winks chair, or saddle-back chair— the wing chair would often be situated alongside or in front of the hearth. The “wings” would shield it’s occupant from drafts, muffle unnecessary sounds and distractions, and perhaps best of all, trap the warmth from a fireplace into the area where you’d be sitting. 2
Here: A handsome mahogany frame upholstered wing chair with rams head carved legs, English, circa 1880. on Queen Anne legs and pad feet, a distinctive split double-scroll ram’s head motif on the two front legs. height: 43 in. 109 cm., width: 34 in. 86 cm., depth: 32 in. 81 cm. seat height: 18 in. 46 cm., arm height: 26 in. 66 cm.
Often, buying holiday gifts for well-to-friends is like ‘bringing owls to Athens‘. We suggest a unique bronze owl inkwell from the late nineteenth century now mounted as a table – desk lamp with a painted metal shade .
The idiom, “to bring owls to Athens”, is an ancient Greek proverb ascribed to Plato by Diogenes Laërtius (d. 180 – d.240) biographer to the Greek philosophers. 1
It is said that an abundance of owls famously roosted in the rafters of the original Parthenon (before it was burnt down). The owls became a symbol of the city over the years and were sacred to Athena the goddess.
The silver coins of local Athenian currency featured an owl. The Athenians mined their own silver and from this they minted their own coins, so they had need of nothing more. The proverb is stating that to bring owls (either the birds or coins) to Athens would be a pointless exercise, because they have plenty of their own, anymore would be superfluous. 2
The owl symbolizes wisdom, intelligence, protection, and vigilance. During the Victorian period of the 19th century, owls found their way into nursery rhymes. Lamps and andirons were decorated with owls; the birds came to be associated with libraries and learning. The depiction of owls was just as prevalent during the Arts & Crafts movement.
Further readings and sources:
Diogenes Laërtius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Diogenes_Laertius/Lives_of_the_Eminent_Philosophers/3/Plato*.html ↩
The Idioms https://www.theidioms.com/bring-owls-to-athens/ ↩
Considering the living conditions in such camps and ship hulks, this extraordinarily beautiful work is a celebration of the human spirit over adversity. The technical expertise and the design sense displayed on many pieces are remarkable. Furthermore, the sensitivity of composition, color, and use of material on the best work is breathtaking. The humble materials in the hands of people brought low by circumstances were transformed into treasures reflecting a world of imagination and culture. It is as if the prisoners’ intellects soared while their bodies were confined.
The prisoners sold their wares in the prison markets, where they had the opportunity to interact with the world outside and earn some money towards their keep. Work was sometimes directly commissioned, with the patron providing some of the more specialized materials, such as dyes. There are traditional recipes using chemicals and natural processes and materials for dying straw, as well as theories as to when the straw should be gathered and how it should be kept. However, by the end of the eighteenth century and in prison circumstances, the dying was done by more direct methods.
The prisoners, who were French or Dutch, brought the knowledge of straw work with them. Straw work had been practiced in many parts of the Far East and Europe for centuries.
The technique of straw marquetry appears to be more or less universal. Basically the straw was split, flattened, sometimes bleached and dyed, and then glued onto the wood, or first on paper which was then glued onto the object. Care had to be taken in the application of appropriate pressure to insure the adhesion and flatness of the delicate material. Blotting paper was used to absorb the extra moisture from the glue. Sometimes geometric shapes such as herringbone, lines, chequered squares, and other designs were cutout of long strips of straw that were first glued on paper. For example, lines cut diagonally could give long lengths of sharply defined herringbone designs. These were inspired by traditional tapestry designs, such as the Italian bergamot pattern
The designs on the boxes follow the traditions of other arts. Early boxes on the whole represent scenes typical of period painting and tapestry, framed by designs within contemporary conventions. From the end of the eighteenth century, some boxes follow the neoclassical traditionof arrangement and ornament, although the motifs are often more realistically depicted than in similar wood marquetry. Geometric patterns are also strong within straw work tradition. Sometimes they are used as part of a complex design incorporating representational parts and sometimes as an overall cover for a complete box. Such designs make use of the particular quality of straw, which reflects light according to the way it is arranged. Subtle eﬀects of color and sheen can be achieved by clever juxtaposition of straw following diﬀerent directions.
After the first two decades of the nineteenth century, straw marquetry became less fashionable. Perhaps the departure of the prisoners meant a ready supply was no longer there. However, if the demand had remained strong, English craftsmen would have continued the work. Instead, as the nineteenth century progressed, the craft continued to decline. It is more likely that the rise of the middle classes and the demand for goods which looked more “manufactured” spelt the end of this fine craft, which allowed for more idiosyncratic and at times playful interpretations of the world.
Another factor could have been the cost. A box, or a picture, decorated by prisoners was sold for 20-40 shillings, as much as any quality box was sold for at the time. Free craftsmen could not have competed in a field that needed so much personal time. In spite of presses and mechanical devices for splitting straw, the work still needed skill and hours of exacting work.
For many decades straw work has been neglected. On account of the fragility of the material and the fact that it cannot be refinished, most old pieces show signs of ageing. This has meant that it was only sought after by connoisseurs who had the confidence to display antiques as antiques and not as over restored pieces from centuries past. With the recent advent of the ever more sophisticated collector who demands genuine period pieces, straw work is showing a rapid and sharp increase in price
Exceptional prisoner of war work and early pieces, which are very rare, command considerably higher prices. With scholarship identifying artists and areas of work, these small treasures are fast disappearing into museums and important collections.
Wandering through neighborhoods in Paris, you’ll notice that doorways are often flanked by low structures made either of stone or metal. These guard stones are called chasse-roues (French lit. “wheel chaser“) or bouteroue (“to push the wheel out of the way“). These projecting metal, concrete, or stone exterior architectural elements are usually located at the corner and/or foot of gates, portes-cochères, garage entries, and walls. They function to prevent damage from vehicle tires and wheels. During the period of horse-drawn vehicles, the wheels, including the hub, would protrude beyond the vehicle’s body, and were thus prone to collide with and damage a corner of a building or gate. Chasse-roues were developed as a warning signs: ‘keep back‘, ‘keep your distance’, ‘don’t brush up against me’, and as traffic bollards––or, in the common parlance, ‘traffic cones’ ⚠️😄. They are a historical item of street furniture and some are still in use today. 123
Stone was the favored material for chasse-roues during medieval and Renaissance times but many different cast iron designs were installed during the Haussmannian transformation of Paris. 4 Of the surviving chasse-roues in Paris, many are from that age of economical iron and steel. Cast iron was often preferred because it’s affordablity and versatility. Initially, a pattern or mould of the design––the most expensive part of the process––would be made. Then the molten cast iron would be poured or ‘cast’ into the mould and could take many decorative forms with each subsequent casting being relatively inexpensive to produce. Many ornamental cast-iron pieces from the late 19th and early 20th centuries survive today. These decorative artifacts represent a perfect union of form and function projecting a sense of strength, durabilty and good design.
When automobiles replaced fiacres5, chasse-roues no longer served their purpose being replaced by objects meant for automobile traffic, such as curbs and guard rails. They were, in fact, undesirable but because they were unusually difficult to remove, most of them were just left in place. Those that remain stand as silent sentinals to earlier traffic on those historic roads. 6
Today these architectural artifacts are treasured for historic reasons and are often protected as part of a city’s cultural heritage.
On August 16, 1972 Roman diver, Stefano Mariottini, made a “macabre” discovery. He was diving at a depth of 8 meters in the waters of Marina di Riace (Reggio Calabria), when he noticed a hand sticking out of the sandy bottom. He began digging in the murky sea floor until it revealed at first a face and then a full body. Indeed, there were two bodies; one lying on his back another lying on it’s side. These are what are now known as the Riace Bronzes. Both statues are almost two meters in height.
In the following days municipal divers tied ropes to balloons that were then filled with air lifting the bronze statues to the surface. Statue B was recovered on August 21st, while Statue A was retrieved the next day (It had previously fallen back to the bottom once before being brought safely to the beach). 123
The Riace Warriors (also referred to as the Riace bronzes or Bronzi di Riace) are two life-size Greek bronze statues of naked, bearded warriors. The statues are currently housed in the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia in the Italian city of Reggio Calabria. The statues are commonly referred to as “Statue A” and “Statue B” and were originally cast using the lost-wax technique 4.
These two warriors are an example of the severe style. The Severe or Early Classical style describes the trends in Greek sculpture between c. 490 and 450 B.C.E. Artistically this stylistic phase represents a transition from the rather austere and static Archaic style of the sixth century B.C.E. to the more idealized Classical style. The Severe style is marked by an increased interest in the use of bronze as a medium as well as an increase in the characterization of the sculpture, among other features. 5
The two statues are thought to represent Tydeus (Statue A) and Amphiaraus (Statue B), two warriors from Aeschylus‘ tragic play, Seven Against Thebes (about Polynices after the fall of his father, King Oedipus) 6 and may have been part of a monumental sculptural composition. The statues have lead dowels installed in their feet, indicating that they were originally mounted on a base and installed as part of some sculptural group. 7
Currently, we have an imposing and detailed cast bronze torso and head modeled after the Riace Warriors, Warrior B. on display in our gallery at 1700 16th Street in San Francisco 8 ^jh
In the midst of a creative crisis, the British actor impulsively purchased Kilcoe Castle, a long-abandoned fortress near the water. VF Writer, David Kamp learns how a magical retreat came to be. Inlaid in the wall of the courtyard, was a pale stone slab. Etched into the slab were the following words
MANY HEARTS LIE IN THESE WALLS.
FOUR YEARS WE WORKED, AND WE
JUST DID THE BEST WITH WHAT WE KNEW.
AND WHAT WE DID YOU SEE.
The hard work of making Kilcoe habitable again began in 1998 and took six years, wrapping up in 2004
Kilcoe, while not remotely a faithful re-creation of what it was 600 years ago—it offers such modern features as hot and cold running water, electricity, and Wi-Fi—is a magnificent place: at once stately-home beautiful and slightly mad, a 360-degree immersion in its owner’s eccentric psyche.
As Irons took on the massive project, his wife, the actress Sinéad Cusack notes: it was no coincidence that Irons, who was born in 1948, was soon to turn 50. “I did see it very much as Jeremy’s midlife crisis, and that he should get on with it,” she said. “Also, I understood where the need came from. Jeremy can’t bear waste. He can’t throw things out. I think he saw that castle as a beautiful ruin that needed to be saved, that needed not to die.”
But generally his instincts proved sharp. Early on, Irons noticed twig-like striations in the mortar on the barrel-vaulted ceiling of the main tower’s second floor, which is now a game room occupied by a large snooker table. Doing some research, Irons learned that, in medieval times, builders formed arched ceilings by bending into place a series of large wicker panels made of pliant, weaving-friendly woods such as hazel and willow, and holding these panels aloft from below with strong timber posts. The builders would then lay stones and mortar above the panels. Once the mortar squeezed through the woven panels and dried, the arches would hold themselves, and the underlying timber posts were removed. This backstory warmed Irons to the idea of using wicker panels as a decorative element throughout Kilcoe. He found a German-born weaver based in Cork, Katrin Schwart, to make such panels for the game room’s ceiling, and the results proved so spectacular that Schwart’s ornate wickerwork is now a motif throughout the castle, appearing on guest-bedroom ceilings, in the headboard of Irons’s own bed, and even on the outer frame of his bathtub.
“There’s something about the castle that generates the most extraordinary energy,” Irons said to me. “Everybody stays up ‘til three, four in the morning—talking, listening to music, drinking. You just want to go on, go on. It takes a bit of getting used to, this place. Because it does somehow produce an energy. Have you felt it?”
Article by David Kamp.
Photographs by Simon Upton.
Keep Calm and Carry On is a catchphrase that originally appeared on a World War II-era British public safety poster. After one of the original posters was recovered and placed in a British bookshop in 2000, the inspirational message was shared online, sparking a series of image macros centered around the phrase template “Keep Calm and X.”1
The Keep Calm and Carry On poster was commissioned in 1939 by the temporary Ministry of Information in England, following the printing of two other inspirational posters stating “Freedom Is In Peril. Defend It With All Your Might” and “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory.” It was intended to be used to strengthen morale in the event of a large-scale attack or occupation, which many considered inevitable at the time.
Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) was charged with printing the posters, costing approximately £20,600 for printing and storage of 5,000,000 copies, with an additional fee of £225 for the artists who designed them; the designer of the poster remains unknown. These were kept in storage in case of a dire attack on the country, while the other two designs were circulated that September. Since there was not a large-scale attack or occupation, the design was never used. Most of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters were destroyed or lost in time, with the exception of 7: 6 found in 2009 that are in storage at the Imperial War Museum, and 1 that resides in a British book shop.” 23
On This Day in 1204, Eleanor of Aquitaine died ( 1122 or 1124 – 1 April 1204) Eleanor (Aliénor) of Aquitaine (1122 – 1204 (82)), Queen of France then England and one of the most remarkable women of the high middle ages, lived her last years in and died at Fontervraud Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages inheriting the Duchy of Aquitaine from her father, William X, in 1137, and later became queen consort of France (1137–1152) and of England (1154–1189)
She was married first to the King of France (King Louis VII) — and divorced from him in part because she had no sons — she went on to have sons and daughters with her second husband, King of England (Henry II). One of her sons by Henry was Richard the Lionheart.
Eleanor of Aquitaine is said to be responsible for the introduction of built-in fireplaces, first used when she renovated the palace of her first husband Louis in Paris. Shocked by the frigid north after her upbringing in southern France, Eleanor’s innovation spread quickly, transforming the domestic arrangements of the time.
“West Point, New York” is one scene from the scenic wallpaper “Views of North America” first produced by the French firm Zuber et Cie in 1834. This scenic contains 32 panels and shows some of the natural wonders of the continent: New York Bay, Boston Harbor, West Point, & the natural bridge of Virginia. Scenic wallpapers were introduced around 1804 and remained popular with new designs being introduced until 1865. Scenic wallpaper allowed the viewer to visually access an historical moment during the July Monarchy (July 1830- 1848) in which America was idealized as the future of France.
“Vues d’Amérique du Nord” offers an idealized view of Jacksonian America as conceived by its designer, Jean-Julien Deltil, who may never have visited the United States and based hiswork on the designs of Jacques-Géard Milbert, and designed the paper for Jean Zuber et Cie in 1834. Zuber crafted the paper using 1,700 hand-carved blocks and 223 different colors. The Frenchman’s scenes of free blacks engaged in trade, dressed in finery, and residing happily alongside their white counterparts presented an idealized (bordering on utopian) view of the newly born country, which may have been intended as a slight to the English as much as it was a glorification of the Americans’ nascent democratic nation.
In 1852, Jean Zuber took advantage of a nationalist wave in the US and republished “Views of North America”, as “The War of American Independence”. He substituted foreground figures so the Boston Harbor became the Boston Tea Party. Peaceful scenes became battlefields.
Between 1804 and 1860, Zuber Manufacture de Papiers Peints produced more than 25 of these panoramas wallpapers. The process is labor-intensive, requiring hundreds of hand-carved pearwood blocks. Unfortunately, the method of carving the blocks is virtually a lost art, a set for one panorama took up to 20 engravers a full year to complete. For some panels, 70 to 80 different woodblocks might be required, applied one by one in an exacting order. To create the horizon, four people work simultaneously using a complex hand-brushing technique, producing a velvety matte. The papers are then refined by hand and dried on huge racks. Zuber et Cie’s wallpapers are astonishing in their scale and painterly attention to coloration, shading, and detail.
It was reported that Zuber’s wallpapers were so renowned that King Louis Philippe honored him with the Legion of Honor in 1834, the year that ‘Scenic America’ was printed. The Zuber blocks were recently deemed an historic monument by the French government.
Fascinating & beautiful video from the Manufacturer, Zuber et Cie, which shows us how these these large-scale scenic block-print wallpaper panels are made using the same craftsmanship and time-consuming artistry that has defined their work for centuries. ** We recommend you turn the audio off, there is no narration and the music is, well, lacking. :)
The White House.
Jacqueline Kennedy was so taken by the beauty and historical significance of these wallpaper block print panels that she had one installed in the White House in the 1960’s The Diplomatic Reception Room in the White House is one of three oval rooms in the White House. It was refurbished in 1960 during the Dwight Eisenhower administration in the style of the Federal period with antiques selected by New York interior designer Michael Greer. In 1962, with advice from American antiques expert Henry Francis du Pont, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy had the room papered with antique French scenic wallpaper produced by Jean Zuber et Cie in Rixheim (Alsace), France c. 1834. The Zuber wallpaper, titled Scenes of North America, and features scenes of Boston Harbor, the Natural Bridge in Virginia, West Point, New York, Niagara Falls, and New York Harbor.
The sweeping panorama on the elliptical walls provide a sense of space negating the lack of windows. Additional Federal-era furniture was acquired, and upholsteries and the carpet furthered a soft gold and blue decor.
~ [Source: Author: Paulus Swaen]