Category Archives: Features

Horns of Plenty: Decorated Military Powder Horns in Colonial America

William Williams Jr. Powder Horn attributed to the carver John Bush. Historic Deerfield, 2005.20.6

by Erica Lome, Ph.D.     On a cool April morning in 1775, Amos Barrett readied his musket and prepared for combat. Earlier that day, 23-year-old Barrett had awoken to the news that 700 British Regulars were marching from Boston to Concord. They were planning to seize and destroy military supplies stockpiled by “rebellious” Provincial colonists […]

Two Collectors, One Passion: Pawprints on Paper

The Game of Black Cat

By Margaret Carpenter and Alice Muncaster   Is it possible for cats to spark a friendship between two people miles (and states) apart? Absolutely! Thanks to the Antique Advertising Association of America (AAAA), we (Margaret Carpenter and Alice Muncaster) discovered a mutual interest that started an online friendship of purrfect proportions: the use of cats […]

Beswick: A Special Breed of Porcelain Animals

Rare Beswick model of a girl on grey pony 1499 with light green jacket – top auction estimate was $1,000, sold for $1,600 in 2018.

by Maxine Carter Lome, Publisher From 1896 when James Wright Beswick and his sons John and Gilbert first established their earthenware pottery business, “J. W. Beswick,” at the Gold Street works in Longton, England, until the early 1970s, when it became part of Royal Doulton, Beswick (pronounced BESS-ick – Beswick is a surname in the […]

The Horse Fair: A Celebration of Rosa Bonheur’s Equestrian Masterpiece

Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) The Horse Fair, 1852–55, Oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art

By Erica Lome, Ph. D. Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) The Horse Fair, 1852–55, Oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art   If you took a stroll through the European Paintings galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you’d undoubtedly encounter Rosa Bonheur’s Le Marché aux Chevaux, or The Horse Fair, one of the finest achievements of […]

Jeanne Toussaint: Cartier’s Petite Panthére

Diamond, Emerald, Onyx Panthére ring by Cartier

by Maxine Carter-Lome, Publisher “A woman who revolutionized contemporary jewelry” is how Cartier describes jewelry designer Jeanne Toussaint in the 2019 film series, entitled L’Odysée de Cartier. Born in 1887, Jeanne Toussaint (1887-1978) was the daughter of lacemakers from the south of Belgium in the city of Charleroi. She grew up with handmade goods surrounding […]

The View From Where You Sit: Personal Magnification Devices

Microscope: 3 convex lenses in the inner cylinder, fitting into shagreen (snakeskin)- covered tube, with gilt-bronze finial cap and tripod stand, optics by Passemant, ingénieur du roi, France, c. 1750 photo: metmuseum.org

by Melody Amsel-Arieli   Simple magnification devices, like water-filled spheres and rock crystal (quartz) “burning glasses” were known around the Mediterranean and across the Middle East in ancient times. These evidently served not only to light kindling but also to cauterize wounds and enlarge texts. According to Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, Nero viewed gladiator […]

The Genius of the Reticent Inventor – Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell made the first long-distance telephone call in 1892, reaching Chicago from New York photo: Stefano Bianchetti

by Maxine Carter-Lome, publisher   “The Boston Advertiser prints an interesting account of an experiment in carrying out a conversation by word of mouth over a telegraph wire, made by Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson. … In a distance of two miles, with Mr. Bell in Boston and Mr. Watson in Cambridge, conversation was […]

The Sears National Quilt Contest

The flyer for Sears’ Quilt Making Contest featuring the Century of Progress Building reached out to women by asking “You can ‘bake a sweet cake,’ but can you ‘sew a fine seam?’”

An essay from Quiltindex.org by Merikay Waldvogel   The Sears National Quilt Contest organized by Sears Roebuck & Co. in connection with the Chicago World’s Fair (known officially as “The Century of Progress” Exposition) was announced in the January 1933 Sears Roebuck Catalog. They offered $7,500 in prizes – including a grand prize of $1000. […]

Samplers: An Evolution of Purpose & Design

British darning sampler, signed: Frances Boyce/1780, silk on linen, 20 ¹⁄₈ x 20 ¹⁄₈” framed, courtesy www.metmuseum.org

by Melody Amsel-Arieli   Samplers are pieces of fabric worked to demonstrate mastery of ornamental embroidery stitches and motifs. This fine art arose in the late Middle Ages when English nuns and needlework professionals created exquisite, gold and silver-gilt embroidered ecclesiastical and secular textiles. From about 1350, however, their quality declined. Materials became less lavish, […]

Memorial Quilts: Expressions of Remembrance

Civil War Memorial Quilt from the Quilt Index and the Massachusetts project. Each of the white strips and the stars are inscribed with the name of a Massachusetts soldier, his company and the date he enlisted.

Graveyard Quilts for Mourning By Judy Anne Breneman, womenfolk.com Before modern medicine the loss of beloved friends and family members was all too familiar. Childbirth was dangerous and it was a rare mother who didn’t lose one or more children. Husbands were lost through war or accident. Bereavement was a part of everyday life. Ways […]