Green tulip leaves are pushing their way through the mulch of our flower beds. Though we're still a few weeks away from flowers, the promise of Spring is with us. These American Arts & Crafts candlesticks have stylized "tulip-form" cups. A segmented shaft is also reminiscent of the tulip stems. The candlesticks are also hammered and silver-plated to complete the Art Nouveau aesthetic. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them. Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at...
One of the hallmarks of Arts & Crafts design—regardless of the particular country from which it originates—is the "revival" of earlier design elements, the use of important cultural motifs, or the promotion of historical (or fictional) folklore and mythology. The English Arts & Crafts movement, during which these oak and pewter candlesticks were made, was known to reference Medieval literary themes, Gothic design elements, and the furniture or architectural aesthetic of earlier periods. These candlesticks, have oak Jacobean "Barley Twist" shafts, mounted upon Gothic hand-hammered pewter bases. It's a handsome and unusual combination—and you can learn more about them by clicking on the photo above. Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and...
These handsome Italian candlesticks are sand-cast pewter and, as a result, have the little pocks, blemishes and idiosyncrasies that such a primitive casting method allows. Because sand-casting is such an old method of metalwork (used since the Bronze Age, 3000 BC), it imbues an "antique sensibility" to these candlesticks. And since pewter can be polished-up or left to darken, one has the choice of how to maintain them. Personally, I would give them an ultra-light annual buff-up (just before Thanksgiving) with only a kiss of polish—to leave them clean but not shiny. Click on the photo above to learn more about them. Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit...
This time of year is naturally the darkest. Yet we crave the light—physically, emotionally and, for many of us, spiritually. Both Hanukkah and Christmas employ lights in symbolic, cheerful and satisfying ways. The New Year is also a time for "clean starts." We "turn the page," we make resolutions, and we (attempt to) pare-down to the simplest essentials. This pair of candlesticks, just acquired, are classic, handsome, simple and clean. They will also help us to light-up the darkness. They were made sometime in the Thirties through the Fifties. Click on the photo above to learn more about them. Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store...
In 1494, nineteen year old Florentine sculptor Michelangelo Buonarotti contributed the male angel (and candlebearer) to the tomb of Saint Dominic in Bologna, Italy. The female partner had been carved by the late Niccolo dell'Arca, who had intended to complete the pair. Michelangelo was hired to finish the male half of the couple. By now, the tomb—inside the Basilica of San Domenico—was already in its 230th year of construction. Many artists contributed to the work which took 500 years to complete. The angels above are a late Twentieth Century recreation based on the Michelangelo (and Niccolo dell'Arca) originals. In 1995, during my first Holiday season at LEO Design, I purchased this pair of Italian painted terra-cotta angels. I received them the week before...
In the darkest time of the year we celebrate the Jewish "Festival of Lights." The Talmud tells of a miracle whereby a single jar of oil—which should have lasted one night—continued to burn for eight days. Thus, the holiday lasts eight nights. Our bronze Modernist Hanukkah Menorah has eight candles (one for each night) plus the shammash ("helper" or "attendant"), which is used to light the other candles and which is placed just a little higher than the other candles. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. And a Happy Hanukkah to all! Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we...
Merry Christmas to my friends and loyal LEO Design customers. May your day be relaxing, restful and happy. Thank you for your support. 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"
"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...
On this day in 753 BC (or so the story goes), twin brothers Romulus and Remus founded the great city of Rome. Happy Birthday, Rome! But the story before this founding is as wild and interesting as anything that came after it. Romulus and Remus were the grandsons of Numitor, King of Alba Longa (along […]
While tulips always remind me of spring (and Holland), I enjoy looking at them year ’round. With this pair of American Arts & Crafts candlesticks, I could. Designed in the form of a stylized tulip, these candlesticks are hand-hammered and silver-plated. Made in Connecticut in the early Twentieth Century, they’ll bring a touch of botanical […]
Candlesticks, more or less, come in two common sizes: "Regular" and "Tiny." "Large" and "In-Between" are few and far between. Thus, it was with great excitement that I found this pair of mid-sized Victorian English Aesthetic Movement candlesticks on my last trip to England. Not only are they nicely-scaled for a dining table or dinner tray, they look great alongside one (or more) of the more typically-sized candlesticks. If you like clustering multiple pairs of candlesticks, these are the elusive "In-Betweens" that help create a variety of heights in your collection. 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...
All right. Sometimes bigger is better. And this pair of Victorian English brass candlesticks (c. 1860’s – 1880’s) would make a wonderful statement on your beautifully-laid table. These are just one sample of many newly-acquired items, now on-line at LEO Design. And more items—recently collected in England—will be posted to the on-line store in the […]
In the past, I’ve typically associated nice candlesticks with big candlesticks—or at least heavy, substantial candlesticks which make a strong statement on a beautifully-laid tabletop. This recently-acquired pair, however, is actually rather smallish, just under seven inches tall. And yet, despite this modest stature, they still have something to contribute in terms of presence, proportion and […]
For those of you following us on Instagram, it’s known that we’ve been on a two week buying trip to England—and have now returned, laden with Handsome Gifts for our discriminating customers. The last carton has now arrived and the items are being cleaned, priced and photographed as quickly as our little hands will allow. Part […]
Another Christmas is here—and there’s a new year waiting right around the corner! This has been our 22nd Holiday Season in the neighborhood. Where has the time gone? We are grateful for the support of our many wonderful customers. Wishing all a joyful and restful Christmas. May 2017 be a year of unexpected happiness. Today […]
I love brass and I buy a lot of brass decorative accessories. Trays, bells, desk accessories—and, quite often, candlesticks. Sometimes brass is “hot” (as it is now), and sometimes it’s not (as it has been many times in the past). I don’t care—I continue to buy handsome brass objects year in and year out, mostly […]
When I first laid eyes upon these Secessionist brass candelabra, I felt a profound conviction that they had been used as altar sticks in a church—either in the early Twentieth Century or Bauhaus period. Their simplicity, their out-stretched arms, and their tripartite design all nudged me to imagine them in a sensational (though understated) 1909 […]
The Holiday Season draws to an end—there are just eight days ’till the New Year. Tonight we celebrate a LEO Design Holiday tradition as we have for nineteen Christmas Eves past: the procession and installation of our Italian terracotta angels into the shop window. I bought the angels in 1995, fully-intending to sell them. I […]
A most handsome pair of candlesticks—just received in-store, just in time for your holiday table. Made of “bell metal” bronze in Napoleon III’s France, they are substantial, a bit oversized, and very elegant (without being fussy). Please come into the shop to see them—and several more pairs of handsome, newly-acquired candlesticks. Or click on the […]
The English Arts & Crafts Movement—like its counterparts in other parts of the world—drew inspiration from the culture, mythology and aesthetics of the past. Gothic strap work, medieval characters, ancient heraldry all became sources for design inspiration for turn-of-the-century craftsmen. In the example above—a handsome pair of oak barley twist candlesticks with hammered pewter bases—the […]
I’ve assembled a nice little collection of handsome brass candlesticks—from mid-19th century France and England. The three pairs shown above are just a bit bigger than average and would look equally at-home on a rustic farm table or at a sophisticated townhouse supper spread. Please come into the shop to see them and the rest […]
In James Joyce’s Ulysses, a masterpiece of Irish Modernist literature, character Leopold Bloom spends an ordinary day—16 June 1904—walking around Dublin, going about his daily business, interacting with the people in his life, and musing on the things he encounters or observes in his travels. The work’s title comes from the Latin adaptation of the […]
Saint Blaise was a Third Century Armenian physician and bishop, living in what is present-day Turkey. He was known as a healer—both physically and spiritually. One story tells of a desperate mother whose child was choking on a fish bone. Knowing of his reputation for miracles, she prostrated herself before him and begged that he […]
Combining the crispness of cast glass with a mellow, almost-woodsy amber hue, these mid-century candlesticks straddle the line between wooden candle holders and more-typical glass versions. Unlike any other pair we’ve ever acquired. Come into the shop to see them—and other recent acquisitions—or click on the photo above to learn more about them.
A Merry Christmas to you and a grateful Thank-you, as well. LEO Design will be closed today. Please visit us tomorrow; we will be open from Noon until 6:00 pm everyday through (and including) New Year’s Day. And—if you cannot help yourself—our on-line shop is always open. Thanks again.
With the Holidays comes entertaining, and with entertaining comes table-setting. A classic and handsome pair of candlesticks will punctuate your well-laid table beautifully. Candlesticks also make a wonderful gift for the special host or hostess. Come-in and see our collection of candlesticks—brass, wood, pewter, and bronze—or click on the photo, above, to learn more about […]
Hello from London. I’ve spent the last few days here, visiting auctions, estate sales, and (my best source) collectors. I’ll share with you a preview of some of the items enroute to the shop. Eventually, they’ll be listed on the website’s selling site—unless they sell first in the shop! I’ve assembled a collection of candlesticks, […]
The attractive carved design element known as the “Barley Twist” enjoyed a revival in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (as shown in the wooden candlesticks, above). But the use of this design element is thousands of years old. They were originally called “Solomonic Columns” and are believed to have been used in the […]