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Black Mother-of-Pearl

Mother-of-Pearl is the “nacreous” (that is, containing the organic material “nacre”) inner-shell lining of certain mollusks—the same material that surrounds a natural pearl (also produced by those certain mollusks).  Like the shells (and pearls) themselves, the mother-of-pearl comes in a range of colors from white to black—though it is usually iridescent, thus, one can see […]

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Farewell, Macbeth

Macbeth, the real King of Scotland, was killed on this day in 1057.  At war with England, he was killed in battle during an English invasion (or died some days later, after being mortally wounded).  Called “The Red King,” he was the King of Scotland (sometimes called “Alba”) from 1040 until his death.  He was […]

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Doubles, Served

Serve-up style with these four double old-fashioned rocks glasses from the 1960’s. The Forehand is demonstrated by our handsome pro, fitted in his crisp tennis whites. Your next cocktail hour is bound to be a racquet!  See the set of four glasses by clicking on the photo above.

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Happy Left-Handers’ Day

Since 1976, 13 August has been celebrated as “Left-handers’ Day,” a day to promote the uniqueness and contributions of the world’s “lefties” (estimated at 7 – 10% of the population). Left-handers International strives to raise public awareness of the very real difficulties they often endure living in a right-handed world. Despite these difficulties, left-handers have contributed significantly to the worlds

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Happy Birthday, George!

On 12 August 1762, King George IV of England was born.  His father (George III), with whom he had a terrible relationship, forced him to marry his cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, whom he hated as much as his father.  They had one child, Charlotte, after which he kept his wife as far away from himself as possible.  He didn’t even allow her to attend his eventual coronation! Instead, he took comfort in the arms of other women, most notoriously, Mrs.

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Can a Cloud Have a Pewter Lining?

How can it be?  I dislike smoking—and, yet, I love smoking accessories.  And this Italian cast pewter "smoking box" is a perfect illustration.  With a hinged lid and divots to hold cigarettes or a cigar, it is a handsome solution to an otherwise messy problem.  And if you do not smoke, it will hold your cufflinks, rings or collar stays with efficiency and style. Please click on the photo above  to learn more about it.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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More Birdsong

Yesterday we talked about the Fifth International Scouting Jamboree in Vogelenzang (“birdsong”), Netherlands in 1937.  Carrying-on with this theme, you’ll see above a hand-painted plaque with two fluffy birds (c. 1960’s – 1970’s). Siblings? Spouses? Mother & Chick?  I'm just not sure.  What I do know is that it's beautifully designed, nicely hand-painted and would make a handsome addition to any desk, home or office.  It was made in Denmark by Fajence Aluminia.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.

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The Boys March In

On this day in 1937, Dutch Scouting (the Padvinders or “Path Finders”) commemorated the end of the Fifth International Jamboree (bijeenkomst or “meeting”) with this Dutch-made ceramic transferware plate.  Dutch Boy Scouting was founded in 1910, followed by Girl Scouting the following year.  The Netherlands became part of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in […]

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Lots of LEOs - XVII

  Let's end our parade of LEOs with this whimsical offering: a Danish Modern stoneware plaque by Knud Kyhn for Royal Copenhagen. This frisky feline is caught in mid-leap, paw extended toward his feathered feast.  It's made to hang on the wall, though it could also be permanently mounted into a tile installation.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"  

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Lots of LEOs - XVI

The muscular energy of this cast bronze lioness belies her small size and simplicity of design.  And yet, the sculptor has captured—with great economy—the powerful control of this athletic huntress.  Learn more about her by clicking on the photo above. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - XV

The only thing better than a LEO is—two LEOs!  This pair of bookends, made by Bradley & Hubbard (Meriden, CT) in the 1930's, are crafted of cast iron and finished with a golden wash.  They are inspired by the Nineteenth Century work of French anamalier Antoine-Louis Barye.  Because they are "mirrored"—that is, one faces left while the other faces right—two moulds were required (and twice as much work).  It also means that both of your lions will be facing forward on your bookshelf.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.  Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which...

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Lots of LEOs - XIV

Another domestic lioness—house trained, yes, but still a lion at heart!  Sculpted of cast brass and finished with a verdigris bronze patina, the sculptor has captured beautifully the intelligence, intensity and coiled energy of a cat ready-to-spring. She'll faithfully guard your coffee table, occupy your windowsill, or even hold open a door for you.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about her. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - XIII

Don't let this LEO's modest size (and price) obscure his style and presence He's full of himself, indeed.  Legs astride, he conveys a bold confidence—and will guard your desk or bookshelf zealously.  He's made of cast bronze in the American MidWest.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about him.  Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - XII

This cast iron lion is a bank and was made around 1900.  He can be opened with a screwdriver and still has traces of the original paint which dressed him.  Perhaps a young LEO can practice his saving skills with this handsome and useful gift.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about him. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - XI

Not every LEO lives in the savannah.  These fierce little lions prowl a British backyard.  Crafted in England in the 1930's, these cast brass bookends have an "illustrated storybook" sensibility— and were designed and made at a time when children's books did not shy from the spooky, the dark or the moral-laden.  Learn more about them by clicking on the photo above. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - X

Today we enter August and—as suggested above—the sun remains high in LEO’s segment of the heavens.  The regal bronze-clad lion sculpture, shown above, is modeled after the famous walking lion by French anamalier Antoine-Louis Barye (1796-1875).  It is the jewel in the crown of our collection of handsome lions, now in-store.  Perhaps it would make a nice gift for your favorite LEO?

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Lots of LEOs - IX

The stylized profile of a proud lion graces the faces of these Danish Modernist cufflinks from the 1950's.  They are marked 830 silver and will look great on the cuff of your favorite LEO.  To learn more about this pair, please click on the photo above. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - VIII

Antoine-Louis Bayre (1795-1875) was the premier Parisian Anamalier of the Nineteenth Century.  Even today, he remains amongst the best sculptors of animals in history.  His works displayed classic, active and highly naturalistic poses—capturing the energy, beauty and dignity of his wild animal subjects. Bayre was well-known in his lifetime and many of his works were cast in various sizes which allowed his work to find homes in museums, grand palaces or upper middle class homes.  This pair of bookends, made by Bradley & Hubbard (Connecticut) in the 1920's or 1930's, are inspired by the French master's work. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently...

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Lots of LEOs - VII

Rippling with tension and anticipation, this regal lion stalks its prey from atop a rocky cliff.  The sculptor really captured the energy and attitude of this feline predator—a pair of bookends from the 1920's or 1930's.  They are a gift sure to inspire any hardworking LEO seeking to succeed in today's jungle.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about this gift. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - VI

Many lions drift toward "fierce."  This little cast bronze lion is unabashedly cute—and, perhaps, just a little vulnerable. Made in the Michigan, he'll keep you in his gaze with his (dare I say it?) puppy eyes.  Click on the photo above to learn more about him. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - V

A (hungry-looking) mountain lion stalks its prey on this pair of cast iron bookends from the 1920's.  Beautifully sculpted, it crackles with tension—and still has small remnants of its original (90 year old) paint.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - IV

The King of the Jungle doesn't mind helping-out in the kitchen.  This English bronze mortar and pestle is small but handy—not to mention, stylish. Use it to pulverize fresh herbs and make small batches of culinary pastes.  You will find-out more about it by clicking on the photo above. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - III

Just remember: not all LEOs are boys!  This cast bronze lioness will stalk your desk with style—holding-down your papers, if you wish.  Click on the picture above to learn more about her. Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - II

This little LEO—made of cast bronze in California—has the word "Courage" impressed upon his tummy.  Though small, he is full of style (and substance).  And a welcome gift for any LEO in your life.  Click on the photo above to learn more about him Another LEO tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Lots of LEOs - I

Welcome, LEO!  It was 28 years ago, this month, when we first opened our doors on Bleecker Street.  Boy, how things have changed!  One thing that has not changed is the enormous pride LEOs take in their sun sign, the lion. Therefore, indulge us why we share a "parade" of lion items over the next several days. Shown above, a pair of cast iron "Proud Lion" bookends from the 1920's.  They have been cast in fine detail and finished with a copper patina.  Made in the 1920's, they will be warmly-received by any self-respecting LEO. Please click on the photo above to learn more about these bookends. And, by the way, LEO extends from 23 July to 22 August. Another LEO...

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Heavy/Light

"Brutalist" design took-off after World War II.  It began in the world of architecture, inspired by the design of Le Corbusier—in particular, with his use of unfinished poured cement as a building material.  The French word for "raw" (unfinished) cement is Béton-Brut, which (one theory proposes) may have provided the genesis of the word "Brutalist."  Cast cement was seen as a revolutionary material in architecture. It was inexpensive, suitable for expressive, novel shapes, and it was "honest" (meaning it duplicated its mould perfectly and presented itself without embellishment or affectation).  For better or worse, cement became a very popular architectural material in the 1950's , 60's and 70's. Novel architectural trends spread throughout the design world, including to the decorative arts...

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The Dog Days of Summer

It’s already happening—the Dog Days of Summer have arrived.  Hot.  Smelly.  The crosswalk seemingly sinking beneath our feet.  But where does the term originate? It began in ancient Rome.  Astronomers noticed that during the period when Sirius (also called the “Dog Star”—and the brightest star in the sky) rose and set alongside the sun, the […]

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Easy Being Green - IV

Let's wrap-up this little parade of green pottery with another studio-made piece, this time crafted by Walter & Gisela Baumfalk.  A fine crystalline glaze lies atop a metallic gunmetal undercolor.  The tapering form culminates in a lipped top band.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Easy Being Green - III

This European hand-thrown stoneware pitcher is dressed in a metallic gunmetal and mossy-green glaze. The piece has—at once—a naive, folk craft sensibility and a highly sophisticated Modernist edge.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More green ceramics tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Easy Being Green - II

Though LEO Design has a broad selection of German ceramics, East German ceramics are much less common and a bit harder to find.  The example above, by Karl Jüttner, was made in the Seventies.  A hand-incised pot is finished with an organic metallic-moss green glaze. Learn more about it by clicking on the photo above. More green ceramics tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Easy Being Green - I

Though Kermit the Frog might disagree, green is easy. Green—the color of leaves, grass and moss—is restful, restoring, and blends beautifully with wood in an interior environment.  I especially like dark, mossy (and a little muddy) greens which give me a sense of cool comfort. The pitcher above, made in the 1960's or 1970's, was crafted by Übelacker, West Germany. The Cubist relief is reminiscent of the Modernist sculpture of Louise Nevelson.  Nevelson was born in The Ukraine in 1899 and emigrated to The States with her family as a schoolgirl.  Her sculptures were made of found objects, usually wooden, which she assembled in wall-mounted or freestanding "shadowbox" style assemblies.  They were often painted monochromatically, often black or white.  Nevelson's sculptures can...

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Son of a Tailor

On this day in 1486, Florentine artist Andrea d’Agnolo di Francesco di Luca di Paolo del Migliore was born to a tailor and his wife. At eight years of age, the boy was apprenticed to a goldsmith, and, later, to a woodcarver and painter.   Before long, Andrea opened his own studio (with a partner) […]

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Space Age Ceramics - part VI

We'll end this little space trip of otherworldly, planetary ceramics with another piece by Ruscha.  Glaze master Otto Gerharz has crafted a rich—call it sublime—glaze which captures the mystery and romance of the moon.  It was made in the 1960's or 1970's and can be found by clicking on the photo above.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Space Age Ceramics - part V

Here's another wonderful glaze, made by Ruscha's glaze master, Otto Gerharz.  Unlike some of the "lunar glazes" shared in the past few days, this glaze is more verdant—like a gassy, oxygen-rich planet. One would suspect that life does exist on this organic planet. The mossy bluish-green overglaze hovers over a slightly metallic brown undercoat.  It was made in the 1960's or 1970's and you can find out more about it by clicking on the photo above. More Space Age ceramics tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design -...

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Space Age Ceramics - part IV

Form is nice—but shapes can be easily copied. It's in the glaze master's secret notebook—properly locked away—that the magic is revealed. And this glaze is sensational! Foamy waves of white pumice cling to an equally-textured grey underglaze. It all adds up to an otherworldly effect—like the gaseous clouds encircling a distant planet. Made by Carstens in West Germany in the 1960's or 1970's.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Space Age ceramics tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Space Age Ceramics - part III

Another little space capsule: this one a Modernist vase by Anton Piesche. First the piece was finished with a metallic gunmetal glaze and then "slashed" to reveal the clay underbody below.  It's one of a small collection of "Space Age" ceramics, recently received here at LEO Design.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Space Age ceramics tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Space Age Ceramics - part II

Like the frozen foamy crust on a yet-undiscovered moon, the glaze on this pedestaled ceramic vase has a textured, otherworldly look. Created by glaze master Otto Gerharz for Ruscha (West Germany) in the 1960's or 1970's.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Space Age ceramics tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Space Age Ceramics - part I

Recently I've purchased an interesting collection of European ceramics which have a decidedly Space Age sensibility.  The decades of the Great Space Race were the Fifties and Sixties—coincident with the blooming of post-War Modernist design.  It is not a surprise that the world's scientific zeitgeist would affect the period's aesthetics. Shown here, an East German studio piece from the 1960's by Heiner Hans Körting (1911-1991) for Danburg Pottery.  The hand-thrown piece was modeled with an extended, tapering neck—which was carefully sliced and folded-back to create three curing handles. It was fired with warm sandy and metallic gunmetal glazes. It reminds me of an Apollo space capsule from the glory days of lunar exploration. Please click on the photo above to learn...

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Saddle Up!

Saddled-up! Ready-to-go! But first: a little snack! This pair of cast iron bookends, made in the 1920's, still retain much of their original paint.  They are certain to please your pickiest equestrian. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Boa Sorte! Boa Viagem!

Vasco da Gama was born to a Portuguese noble family in the 1460’s.  On this day in 1497, da Gama set-out from Lisbon with 170 men in four ships—seeking an all-water route to Asia. Prior to this, no European seamen had navigated successfully the treacherous waters of South Africa’s “Cape of Good Hope.”  An all-water […]

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Stage Beauties of 1907

On this evening in 1907, master showman, Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., staged his first-ever Ziegfeld Follies production atop the roof of the New York Theatre, 46 Bowery, on New York’s Lower East Side.  Dressed in elaborate costumes and standing upon fantastical stage settings, Ziegfeld’s hand-picked beauties would sing and dance to the music of American composers […]

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Viva Italia!

From Florence, Italy, comes this little Modernist planter—with plenty of hand-executed, folk craft charm. The ceramic pot is thrown, hand-incised and pierced with a ring of little "clerestory windows" around the rim. Then it's finished with a mottled deep red glaze—a red which the Italians do best. It's a remarkable amount of hand-work on display in this little Italian beauty. Made by Fratelli Fanciullacci in the 1960's. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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A Mid-Year Organize

Enter the coming Autumn neat and tidy!  This Edwardian English stationery stand will give your desk a bit of organization—not to mention considerable handsome style.   Sections of quarter-sawn oak are shaped and assembled into a multi-pocketed rack.  You'll find it on our website by clicking on the photo above.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Independence Day

What does it mean to be "independent"?  Does it mean being self-reliant?  Self-directing?  Free?  Or does it mean being separated from the rest of the world?   For me, independence means I can be myself—and actualize myself as I wish—provided I do not harm others (or the world they live in).  The flip side of "the independence coin" means accepting the differences of others—provided they do not harm me, mine or the world we live in. America's good relations with others has been good for my tiny little business.  I have travelled all over the world and built professional relationships with many good people, some of whom have become friends.  I've bought items all over the world, shipped them home, and...

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New York’s First Savings Bank

On this day in 1819, New York’s first savings bank, The Bank of Savings, opened on Bleecker Street at Crosby.  Savings banks had been well-received in Europe in the prior century and both Boston and Philadelphia already had one apiece.  They were usually opened by local governments, guilds, or a wealthy, socially-conscious individual with the […]

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World UFO Day

According to “people in-the-know,” on this day in 1947, an Unidentified Flying Object crash-landed at Roswell, New Mexico.  Such believers assert that the U.S. government has sought, since then, to cover-up this alarming—yet compelling—event.  Therefore we have “World UFO Day,” a day to build the public’s awareness of (quote) “the undoubted existence of UFOs” and […]

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An Emperor and His Rubicon

Imagine a world political leader using bravado, war and aggression to generate popular support with his base.  That's just what Julius Caesar did—and July is named after him. Gaius Julius Caesar was born on the 12th (or 13th) of July in the year 100 BC.  He distinguished himself—amongst the Populares, at least—during the Gallic Wars.  As a Roman General, Julius Caesar led (many unauthorized) invasions into what is modern-day France and Belgium, taking the territory and expanding the Roman borders up to the English Channel and over to the Rhine.  While these cavalier exploits made him wildly popular with the Roman peasants, it displeased the elite Roman Senate immensely.  Though Caesar promoted these attacks as preventative ("attack them before they can attack...

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Rolling into July

Tomorrow we roll into July—and a hot, sticky summer.  Maybe this little guy will help to keep us cool.  He was made in Denmark for Royal Copenhagen in the 1960's or 1970's.  Let him keep you company on your desk or coffee table—and, just maybe, he'll bring you back to a crisp, cool wintery day.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Scheherazade

This little Dutch bowl was made in Gouda, Netherlands and is dated 1925.  Romantic "Orientalist" tendrils of hand-painted color swirl with confidence worthy of Leon Bakst's Scheherazade stage design for the Ballets Russes.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Silver Swanky Six

From the Mid-Century, a set of six Modernist highball glasses, each topped with a wide rim of mirrored silver banding.  They are certain to smarten your barcart, just in time for your next cocktail or dinner party.  Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Terracotta Twins

Father and son team, Franz Detleff Goebel and William Goebel, founded F. & W. Goebel in 1871.  Soon afterward, they discovered their niche: beautifully-crafted sculptures and figurines aimed at the collector’s market.  For the next 140+ years, the company has grown and evolved—all the while adapting its product to satisfy the tastes of the times. […]

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A New Federal Holiday

On this day in 1870, Congress declared Christmas a U.S. Federal Holiday. With five months to go before the start of this year’s Holiday Season, LEO Design is already writing orders, traveling to build-up inventory, and preparing for another busy December.  Here’s a picture of a punched-tin Christmas sign which I just found in Western Pennsylvania and may […]

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Gräflich Ortenburg - part IV

We end this little parade of Gräflich Ortenburg ceramics with this red and black glazed "club form" vase.  A bulbous base tapers to a corseted neck.  Made in the 1960's.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Gräflich Ortenburg - part III

This simple, beaker-form vase is "elevated" by a small (but elegant) foot.  Glazed in red and splashes of black.  Made by Gräflich Ortenburg in West Germany.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Gräflich Ortenburg ceramics tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Gräflich Ortenburg - part II

Here's another of the Count's pieces: a conical vase finished with red glaze and splashes of black.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Gräflich Ortenburg ceramics tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Count Alram Graf zu Ortenburg - part I

The Count Alram Graf zu Ortenburg was born in Budapest in 1925—heir to a German estate and a famous, aristocratic lineage.  When his time came to inherit the family property, he sought a way to make the estate profitable.  Since there were many clay pits in the area, he decided to open a ceramics workshop in the west wing of his castle, Schlosses Tambach, in 1946. Initial production focused on ornate, highly painted ceramic vases, bowls and teacups.  But exciting Modernist design—especially out of Italy—caught the Count's eye and he re-aligned the studio's aesthetic to take advantage of this new post-War trend. Gräflich Ortenburg's work were known for their heavy, rounded, Bauhaus-inspired shapes—made of dark red clay.  Their glazes were luxurious, thick...

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Welcome, Summer!

This morning, at 6:07 Eastern Time, the earth hit its Northern Summer Solstice—that is, the point at which the Earth’s Northern Axis tilts closest to the Sun.  For us here on Earth (or, at least, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), the sun will be most northerly in the sky—and the day will be the longest of the year.  That’s right: starting tomorrow, the days will begin to get shorter.  And, while that might be a little depressing for us, our brothers and sisters in the Southern Hemisphere will rejoice; down south, the days will begin to get longer. At the North Pole—and for countries near the Pole—the day could be endless.  In parts of Canada, Scandinavia, and Russia...

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Summertime Style

Today is the last day of Spring—and I, for one, am sorry to see it go.  It seems that Spring only just got here!  But Summer's nice, too, and it begins tomorrow at 6:07 am Eastern Time. What's really nice about summer is dressing the part—for, in the summer, luxury meets casual unlike during any other time of year.  Classy summer gatherings—polo matches, cricket tournaments, Hamptons lawn parties—require that delicate balance of good taste and summer fun.  And these Art Nouveau cufflinks, shown above, are ready to play their part.  Imagine them on a white (or pale blue) linen shirt.  They are made of sterling silver, etched with radiant guilloche centers, and finished with turquoise and crisp white enameling.  Please click on the photo above...

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Juneteenth

Although The Emancipation Proclamation was passed on 22 September 1862, and it was supposed to be effective—nation-wide—on 1 January 1863, Texas had other ideas.  It seems a contingent of anti-government Texas zealots refused to observe the new American law—something about Federal Oppression and States Rights.  So, Texans never informed their slaves that they had been […]

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White Nights

We are just a few days away from the Summer Solstice—the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.  The further North one goes, the longer the days will be.  In Scandinavia, Canada and Northern Alaska, the sunlight may seem endless.  In Russia, they call this season the "White Nights."  Saint Petersburg has elevated this celebration to an art form.  Beginning in late May, the city's important Mariinsky Theatre begins scheduling impressive opera, ballet and orchestral music performances.  Later in the season, carnival celebrations dot the city—including period carriages, actors dressed in Eighteenth Century costume, and reenactments of historic events from the time of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great.  And in Saint Petersburg's Palace Square, tens of thousands...

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Happy Father's Day!

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.  But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years!”   – Mark Twain   A word of thanks and a wish of happiness to all fathers—and father figures—on their special day. Shown above, an Italian sand-cast pewter minute glass, now in-stock at LEO Design.  May it help us to remember how very precious is the time spent with our dads.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next...

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Dad's Treasure

A father's greatest treasure is his children.  That is, of course, until he has grandchildren! For his less-significant treasures, how about a little hand-carved wooden treasure chest? Delicately chip-carved and incised in Poland, it is a nice place for keeping a few cufflinks, rings or collar stays.  It is a convenient place for stashing the keys.  And it would be a handsome receptacle for clips or rubber bands on the desk.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design...

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Bedtime Stories

Rupert Bear was brought to life on 8 November 1920 under the pen of English artist Mary Tourtel.  He was commissioned by the Daily Express as a means of luring readers away from rival newspapers.  Over the years, a succession of artists have inherited Tourtel's creation—and, indeed, the comic strip still runs to this day.  In it, Rupert Bear and his best friend Bill Badger have adventures with their many chums, including Edward Trunk the elephant, Willie the mouse, Pong-Ping the Pekingese pup, twins Reggie & Rex Rabbit, and Ming the dragon. The little brass sculpture, pictured above, was made in England in the 1920's.  He will be a faithful companion on dad's desk or bedside—and may remind him of the many bedtime...

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A Football is Round!

The quadrennial FIFA World Cup begins today in Russia. "Russia?" you ask. Umm-Hmm. And on Day One they play . . . Saudi Arabia!  It seems Russia is everywhere these days!  In this one case, however, America will not be in-collusion: the U.S. failed to make it into the final 32 qualifying teams. (So much for Making America Great Again). The U.S. team does have notable company on the sidelines: Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Cameroon, Ghana and Ivory Coast all failed to make it into the tournament.  Fox Broadcasting, which had already purchased the U.S. rights to cover the games, is concerned that American viewership will be even lower than usual (given no American team in the competition). Instead, they will...

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School's Out!

If your dad's a teacher, this gift will hit the mark.  But even if he isn't, he may relish the opportunity to ring for a little attention.  Made in England during the 1880's or 1890's, this bronze Aesthetic Movement school bell is topped with a turned ebonywood knob.  Large and heavy, it is certain to be noticed—sitting on a desk or being shaken with vigor.  Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Father's Day gift ideas tomorrow.    LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome...

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Padre and Poet

Perhaps literature strikes your father's fancy.  Or—wow!—poetry.  Here's a pair of bookends which celebrates two writers of note.  Alexander Pope and Andrew Young were both British poets—the former an Englishman, the latter a Scotsman—and both men were influential in their times. Pope (1688 – 1744) had a difficult early life.  As a Catholic, he was not allowed to go to school (due to the English “Test Acts” which banned Catholics from teaching, attending college, holding public office, or going to Catholic grade school).  Alexander was homeschooled, for a time, and later attended an illegal, underground school.  When a law was passed disallowing Catholics from living within 10 miles of London, his family moved to the country and the young man’s...

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Italian Sand-Cast Pewter

Sand-casting is an ancient method of metalwork whereby the original item (to be duplicated) is pressed into a tray of sticky sand.  When the object is removed, it leaves behind a depression into which molten metal is poured.  After cooling, the newly-cast piece is retrieved, cleaned-up and ready for the next manufacturing step.  It's a very simple method and not highly sophisticated, thus, metal objects made this way are subject to small manufacturing idiosyncrasies (pock marks, burrs and wavy surfaces).  In the case of this Italian sand-cast pewter photo frame, little flaws simply serve to add charm to the piece—and underline the frame's handmade bona fides.  Shown above, a 5x5 frame with tight all-over stippling.  It is one of many...

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Making Father's Day a Snap!

In the 1920's—a few years after most middle class men lost their valets—someone invented snapping cufflinks (like the pair shown above).  The idea was simple: before putting-on the shirt, the two halves of one cufflink could be inserted into the button holes on each cuff (using two hands).  Once all four "halves" were in-place, the man could don the shirt and simply snap the links together.  This made dressing alone easy and fast—no more struggling with one hand to insert an unwieldy cufflink on the opposite wrist.  This style of snapping cufflinks only enjoyed a brief period of production.  By 1941, the U.S. was drawn-in to World War Two and men's jewelry makers suddenly were busy making accessories (cufflinks, pins...

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Gothic Arches

If you ask me, The Gothic remains the highpoint of all architectural design—followed closely by the Gothic Revival.  I love the soaring look, the interplay of heavy and light, and (especially) the handcraft which adorns all Gothic structures. Add to that the fact that some Gothic structures are approaching their one thousandth birthday!  These bookends—two arched windows, each one trimmed with a bit of trailing ivy—were made in the 1920's and provide a light touch of Gothic genius. They are heavy and handsome—and would look great on your bookshelf, desk or mantelpiece.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about them. More Father's Day gift ideas tomorrow.    LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we...

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Filtered Sunlight

Perhaps your dad has an advanced aesthetic style.  How about a handsome English Art Deco rosebowl from the 1920's or 1930's?  It was made by Pilkington Royal Lancastrian and straddles the Arts & Crafts and Art Deco periods.  The vertically-ribbed form is incised with a meandering Greek Key motif.  The piece is then finished with a dappled ombre glaze—lighter at the top and darker at the bottom.  The color is reminiscent of the way sunlight filters through increasingly deep waters.  It looks great by itself or brimming with roses, gardenias or peonies.  Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Father's Day gift ideas tomorrow.     LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate...

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"Song of Hiawatha"

"The Song of Hiawatha" is an epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, published in 1855.  It follows a number of American Indian characters—notably the warrior Hiawatha and his lover Minnehaha—along the southern shore of Lake Superior.  It was an immediate success, selling over 50,000 copies in its first two years, and it created an indelible impression of Indian life and people in the popular imagination.  Critics view the poem as the romantic creation of a non-native writer and Longfellow's source materials and understanding of real Native American culture have been called into question. Nevertheless, it is a monumental work of American Romantic literature and it played an important role in Nineteenth Century popular culture. The bookends, above, present quotes from the...

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Trojan Warriors

Dad's toga party days may be well behind him—but a glimpse of the glory days might not be so bad.  This band of Trojans—nice, quiet warriors—will keep his bar cart stylish and the furniture from developing water rings.  These eight coasters were made of glass in the 1960's or 1970's and they are dressed in a mirrored finish. More Father's Day gift ideas tomorrow.     LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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Pancho Villa

One day ago, in 1878, José Doroteo Arango Arámbula was born in the small village of San Juan del Rio, Mexico.  He is best known by his nickname, Pancho Villa, and was a key figure in the Mexican Revolution which began in 1910.  Pancho Villa and his fighters supported Francisco Madero, an advocate of democracy […]

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Handsome & Useful

Like Dad, this Edwardian English quarter-sawn oak stationery stand is handsome and useful.  Made around 1905, the highly-figured oak is shaped with waves and assembled with finger joinery.  It will bring a sense of organization and architecture to your desk or countertop.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Father's Day gift ideas tomorrow.   LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"

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A Father's Day Favorite

Soap-on-a-Rope has always been a Father's Day favorite.  I remember buying a bar for my dad when I was a young boy.  There's something so manly about it—the no-nonsense practicality, the simple functionality, and, of course, the lingering masculine smell. Hanging from the shower head or water tap, a bar of the soap will stay handy and neat (never dissolving into a slimy goo).  Alas, making soap-on-a-rope is a labor-intensive (and vanishing) tradecraft.  Luckily, our soap maker in Portugal, Claus Porto, still makes the suspendible bars.  Click on the photo above and learn more about it. Other Musgo Real products are also offered on-line—as a gift pack or a la carte. More Father's Day gift ideas tomorrow.    LEO Design's...

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Classic Men’s Bath Collection

Perfect for Father’s Day: a collection of classic men’s Musgo Real products from Claus Porto, Portugal.  He’ll start in the shower with the body soap, shave next with the luxurious shave cream, and finish-off with a splash of the aftershave.  These products will help make his mundane morning ablutions a little less tedious, a little […]

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Countdown to Father's Day

Father's Day is just over two weeks away—and we'd like to share some Handsome Gifts ideas for dads.  Please visit our on-line store.  And check our homepage, where we've highlighted a handful of great gifts suitable for a man who means a lot. Shown above, a pair of American Art Deco cufflinks, from the Thirties, with white-enameled bezels.  Their iridescent black mother-or-pearl faces make them an easy match with almost any color shirt: blue, pink, grey, green, black, peach, tangerine, lavender (and, of course, white).  This makes them a particularly good choice for a man who doesn't have a large cufflink collection.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about them—and peruse our large collection of handsome cufflinks...

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For the Love of Travel

Summer is nigh and my travel itch is needing a scratch! Travel has always fascinated me—as it has captivated centuries of people before me. And, despite my mother’s warnings before I take flight—"The World today is just crazy!"—I still believe crossing oceans is safer today than it was 150 years ago.  Take, for instance, travel from New York to Hawaii, where I visit my family once or twice a year.  Nineteenth Century Boston missionaries might spend 8 or more months at sea, heading south around the tip of South America and then thousands of more miles across the Pacific.  I’m not sure how they ever hit the right (rather small) spot!  And, no doubt, at least one soul would perish...

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The Lincoln Memorial

On this day in 1922, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated and opened to the public on the National Mall in Washington D.C.  In attendance was the 16th President’s only surviving child, 79 year-old Robert Todd Lincoln. Begun in 1914, with funds approved by Congress, the Beaux-Arts, Greek Doric Temple was designed by architect Henry Bacon […]

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English Armor

Shields serve a purpose: to protect its bearer from harm be it arrows, lances or clubs. Functional, utilitarian shields should be strong and light, making them portable and effective.  The less embellishment they have, the more practical they become.  With decorative dress shields, however, the goal is to impress—with wealth, style or military might.  Dress […]

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The Armada Sails

On this day in 1588, Spain’s Grande y Felicísima Armada—the “Great and Most Fortunate Navy,” the “Invincible Armada”—set sail from the port of Lisbon, en route to The English Channel and the (planned) overthrow of the British monarchy. The Armada was so large (130 ships, 30,000 men) that it took three days for the entire […]

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Science and Study

It's graduation time!  And—whether you're leaving high school, college or medical school—it's nice to commemorate the achievement.  How about a pair of bookends?  Handsome and practical, they will remind you of this special milestone—not to mention, the generous person who presented them to you. This pair of heavy cast-iron bookends were made in the 1920’s by Bradley & Hubbard (Meriden, Connecticut).  Despite their drowsy appearance, these monks are fully able to hold up the heaviest of text books—while continuing their science and study.  Please click on the photo to learn more about them.

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To Go Boldly . . .

I loved this vase—with its extraterrestrial, otherworldly glazing—the moment I saw it.  To me it looks like some far-away, gaseous, yet-to-be-discovered planet. Made by Ruscha (West Germany) in the 1960’s or 1970’s, it could easily be a set model hanging in the background of a Star Wars sky.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.

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Wisdom

Owls have long been associated with wisdom, knowledge, vision and judgement.  The ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena (after whom Athens is named), often was depicted with a little owl.  The same is true of Minerva, Athena’s Roman version. And, in ancient times, an owl spotted during a time of crises was considered a very […]

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Queenly Substance

Until recently, England’s Queen Victoria had been the longest-reigning monarch in British history.  Some of England’s greatest achievements (and changes) have occurred under a woman’s crown. Each of the “Big Three” (Elizabeth, Victoria and Elizabeth II) enjoyed long reigns and it’s fascinating to contemplate how much the world (and their country) changed during the course […]

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King of the Jungle

Let the countdown begin!  Two months 'til LEO! The day this noble beast followed me home, I photographed him and  popped him right onto the website! Beautifully sculpted—and, alas, so much better-looking in-person—this bronze-clad sculpture captures the confident strength (and muscles) of the King of All Animals.  Made in the 1920's, he's based on the original design by Antoine-Louis Bayre, the French anamalier extraordinaire from the Nineteenth Century.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about him.

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To the Joust!

Noble steeds strain against the bit—eager for the tournament to begin.  Atop them, mounted knights gird themselves for the battle, lances in-hand.  Let this pair of bronze-clad bookends add a bit of majesty (or at least a little pomp) to your desk, den or library.  Made in the 1920’s, they still retain an impressive portion […]

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Gouda You Do?

Gouda is a city in The Netherlands, well known for its cheese and for its hand-decorated art pottery.  Most of the Gouda pottery which I buy is from the 1910’s and 1920’s—and hews more closely to the “typical Gouda style” with colorful, swirling, exotic botanical motifs.  When I found this piece, I did not know […]

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A Hail of Talent

Every few years, I attend a week-long trade show in Frankfurt, Germany.  Often derided, Frankfurt is (I have found) a city rich in history and culture.  It is home to the world's largest book fair and I've seen many wonderful exhibits at their art museums.  I've visited Goethe's home (and birthplace) and found a fair number of nice antiques in the city.  Nevertheless, on every trip I try to take one day off to explore another close-ish city.  One year it was Nürnberg. Prior to my visit, my only knowledge of the city was the Judy Garland movie “Judgement at Nuremberg.” What I found was another German city with a remarkable artistic past—home to (arguably) the greatest German artist of all...

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Eagle Post

I love letter racks!  Perhaps it’s my ambition to impose organization upon my desk . . . someday.   Perhaps I like the combination of antique style and present-day practicality. Or, perhaps, I just like possessing the relic of an imagined, distant, more-orderly time. Shown above: a Nineteenth Century Victorian American letter rack with a […]

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Wendelin Stahl

Wendelin Stahl was born into a family of great ceramicists in a city best-known for its ceramics.  Some might argue that Wendelin became the greatest ceramicist of them all.  Born in Höhr-Grenzhausen in 1922, Wendelin studied ceramics at art school and worked in his father’s studio.  After World War II, he and his wife, ceramicist […]

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Precious Pups

In the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, England was crazy for all themes Asian—tea, ceramics, wallpaper, even light opera.  Apparently the infatuation continued through the Twenties and Thirties, as evidenced by these English cast brass Pekingese bookends. Crisply cast—from two separate “mirrored” molds—the sculptor artfully conveyed the “entitled personalities” of these precious pups.  Please […]

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Art and Islam

There’s a long and impressive history of fine metal-tooling throughout the Middle East and North Africa—especially on seemingly utilitarian objects like trays, pots, lanterns and table tops.  Since much of the Middle East and North Africa is Islamic, local craftsmen observe the strictures of their religion (to greater or lesser degrees) when it comes to […]

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A Reflection on the Jacobean

King James of England and Scotland inherited both of his thrones from women.  He became James VI of Scotland, at 13 months of age, when his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate.  Some 36 years later, when Queen Elizabeth of England died without an heir, James became the King of England and […]

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Blue Agate

I’m always hunting for cufflinks at LEO Design; they are the perfect “Handsome Gift.”  But, as much as I enjoy hunting-down cufflinks,  I don’t want to ignore the women.  On my recent buying trip to England, I bought a dozen brooches—mostly Victorian and Edwardian pieces—which I hope will please the ladies (or the men who […]

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Happy Mother’s Day

A special Mother’s Day wish for all moms—and for all the women who give selflessly of themselves for the benefit of others.  Thank you! Shown above, an attentive mare relaxes and grazes while her inquisitive foal heads-off exploring.  Cast of bronze, the mare is $95 and the foal is $68.  Please come into the shop […]

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A “Nouveau Leaf”

For some years, we've proudly carried a line of European “water gilded” gold leaf frames, including the Art Nouveau-style frame pictured above.  Made in Eastern Europe, the wooden frames are first assembled, then carved (here with the intertwined “whiplash” bordering), then painted with gesso (to smooth-out the wood, build-up any voids, and provide a suitable surface for the gold leaf).  After this, thin sheets of 22 karat gold leaf are laid over the frame and affixed with a special binder.  Before the binder dries, the gold leaf surface is “burnished” with brushes, fingers, rags and various rubbing tools to create a smooth surface on the object—which can give the appearance of being made of solid gold.

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Tray Bien

Another English Arts & Crafts brass tray—part of our ever-expanding collection—is shown above. Made by Joseph Sankey & Son, it looks across the English Channel for inspiration from the French Art Nouveau.  Please click on the photo to learm more about it.

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Russia’s Great Léon Bakst

Lev Samoilovitch Rosenberg—later known as Léon Bakst—was born on this day in Grodno, Russia (which is in modern day Belarus).  He grew-up in Saint Petersberg where his grandfather was a skilled tailor whose service to the Tsar was rewarded with a large house and generous wage.  Though his middle-class parents didn’t encourage it, Léon was […]

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Tray Beau

Here's an exquisite gift idea for Mother's Day—as beautifully executed a piece of metalsmithing as we’ve ever had.  A scrolling, Art Nouveau botanical motif is repeatedly rendered in each quadrant of this octagonal brass tray.  Not only is the design beautifully voluptuous, it is executed crisply and with great precision—obviously the work of a master craftsman.  This tray typifies the “more-formal” dimension of the British Arts & Crafts movement, though it would also be sensational (and useful!) in either a highly-modern or rustic country milieu.

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