Tag Archive | metropolitan museum of art

Ceramic Cabbage Teapot

ceramic cabbage teapot photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail

How did an ancient Asian tradition become something quintessentially British? The fashion for Tea drinking in Great Britain started at court in the later seventeenth century and spread among the aristocracy. Tea remained a heavily taxed luxury until a century later, 1n 1784, when tea duties were slashed from 119 to 12.5 percent, making it affordable to the general public.

In the eighteenth century, the rise of the East India Company — founded to trade with India, Southeast Asia, and China — led to a British monopoly on tea distribution. This global grip established the nation’s mercantile empire, critically dependent on colonial occupation and the movement of slaves. In 1771, American colonists famously protested Britain’s commercial control, dumping imported tea into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party.

ceramic cabbage teapot photo by gail worley

Ambitious British pottery manufacturers and retailers leveraged tea’s popularity to their advantage, cultivating an enormous national ceramics industry. Vastly expanded production yielded new wares, materials and consumers. Profit margins on ceramics were slim, so quality mattered, as did efficiency. Resources and skills were often shared, as innovative makers sprung up and sometimes quickly failed. These developments signaled a shift — creative and economic — toward mass manufacture in a remarkably nimble market, generating a booming export industry for Britain as a result

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Painting of Unknown Title By Yves Tanguy

yves tangy title unknown photo by gail worley

Yves Tanguy’s debt to the still and imaginative landscapes of the Italian Surrealist Giorgio de Chirico is apparent in this work’s perplexing array of imagery that includes a small school of fish and child flattened by a cart. The plain white tower in the background — a favorite iconographic motif of de Chirico — secures the connection between the two artists. The title of this fun painting from 1926 is unknown

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Rabbit Waiter Brooch By Raymond Yard

rabbit brooch photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Raymond C. Yard (18851964) is considered to be one of the great Art Deco jewelers. After mastering the art of jewelry making at Marcus & Co., Yard opened his own shop at 607 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in 1922. Between 1928 and 1933 he created a series of charming Rabbit Brooches, each of which differs slightly, featuring fine details of gold, diamonds, rubies and sapphires. That the Rabbit Waiter brooch (1930) serves alcoholic drinks during Prohibition adds a certain humor to the whimsy, which would have appealed to Yard’s high-society clientele.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Opalescent Glass Vase By Philip Webb

venetian glass vase by philip webb photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Rediscovered Venetian glass techniques inspired James Powell and Sons to experiment with making light and lithe shapes at its Whitefriars Gassworks factory.

venetian glass vase by philip webb photo by gail worley

Among the new forms invented were these ethereal vases with rippling rims and opalescent colors. The firm also made simpler shapes, such as the footed goblet.

venetian glass vase by philip webb photo by gail worley

The featured ‘Straw Opal’ glass vase (circa 1890) was originally designed by Architect Philip Webb for Red House, the home his design partner, William Morris.

Photographed in the British Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Edna Andrade, Summer Game

edna andrade summer game photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail 

An early practitioner of Op Art, a movement that emerged in the mid-1960s and prioritized optical illusionism, Edna Andrade (19172008) used geometry and color to create abstract interpretations of organic ratios, biological systems, and natural rhythms. Summer Game (1972) features a vibrant palette and an irregular grid that appears to expand and contract, project, and recede, creating a sense of playful, kinetic energy.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Chinese-Inspired Fretwork Candlestands

pair of fretted candle stands 2 photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Chinese fretwork first appeared in Britain in the early eighteenth century on garden fences, but it was not until midcentury that the vogue for fretwork on furniture erupted.

top fret detail photo by gail worley

Here, the three-dimensional angular pattern seems to float in midair to support a small, six-sided tray. The exact design for these candelstands comes from the first edition (1754) of Thomas Chippendale’s Gentlemen and Cabinet-Maker’s Director.

center fret detail photo by gail worley

This Pair of Mahogany Candlestands (Circa 1755 – 60) Was Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

pair of fretted candle stands photo by gail worley

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Death of Munrow

the death of munrow photo by gail worley
“Ouch, My Head” (Photo By Gail)

The Death of Munrow (circa 182030), a glazed earthenware figure group by an unknown artist, records a specific historic event in 1791, in which Hugh Munrow, a British soldier, was killed by a tiger in India. Its composition was inspired by an almost life-size wooden automaton of a tiger killing a European that was owned by Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore in India. Tipu’s Tiger was seized by the British army in 1799 and brought to London, where it was placed on public display.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Eye On Design: Gilded Wooden Bench by Thomas Hope

gilded wooden bench by thomas hope photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

A member of a wealthy banking family and sophisticated patron of the arts, Thomas Hope (17391861) set out to influence and improve contemporary taste through the publication of his own collection in Household Furniture and Interior Decoration (1807).

gilded wooden bench by thomas hope installation view photo by gail worley
Installation Views

thomas hope red bench installation view photo by gail worley

Following interest in ancient Rome and Greece, attention turned to Egypt as a major source of inspiration for furniture and interior design. This ‘Egyptian” bench shows influence of Hope’s archeological taste and may have been part of the furnishings of his country house The Deepdene, Dorking, Surrey (outside London). It was possibly sold in the Christie’s sale of the Hope heirlooms held at Deepdene over six consecutive days in September of 1917. Lot 1044, sold on September 17th, consisted of: “a carved 4ft. 4in. gilt Egyptian pattern settee with scroll ends, on claw feet, and squab seat upholstered in gold satin damask.”

gilded wooden bench by thomas hope photo by gail worley

While several surviving pieces of furniture can be attached to the detailed line drawings, Hope never remarked on the fabrics to be used. The present wool covers are based on fiber fragments from this bench and on original textile remains from a settee also designed by Hope, which is now at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Marble Bust of Mary Shelley By Camillo Pistrucci

bust of mary shelley photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail

“Singularly bold, somewhat imperious, and active of mind.” This is how the radical philosopher William Godwin described his daughter, the Romantic novelist Mary Shelley, who achieved fame and infamy for her groundbreaking Gothic fiction Frankenstein (1818), written at the remarkable age of twenty-one.  Here, the Italian neoclassicist Camillo Pistrucci uses the imposing genre of the white marble portrait bust (1843) to present Shelley in the grand manner of a virtuoso. Balancing the rhythmic forms of the face and drapery with the dazzling details of her sweeping Victorian hairstyle, Pistrucci achieves a precision and finesse that betrays the influence of his father, Benedetto Pistrucci, the unrivaled cameo carver. The artist carved the bust in Rome in the year of Shelley’s Italian sojourn.

bust of mary shelley photo by gail worley
Mary Shelley (17971851)

Photographed in the British Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Red Bakelite Bead Necklace

red bakelite bead necklace photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail

This Red Bead Necklace was crafted from Bakelite (beads and chain links) cellulose acetate, with a metal clasp, and attributed to an unknown American designer. In the twentieth century, plastic manufacturing transformed the American jewelry industry and allowed for the production of fashionable yet affordable pieces. This chain link and cube necklace represents a style that was especially popular during the Depression era and the early 1940s.

red bakelite bead necklace photo by gail worley

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.