JOURNAL — Sculpture RSS



A Subliminal Suggestion . . .

I found this little fella in Pennsylvania, maybe a year ago.  Since then, I haven’t had the heart to put a price ticket on him.  No, instead he’s been sitting on the oak filing cabinet behind the sales counter—quietly radiating a subliminal suggestion to every customer and passerby. He was made in the 1960’s by […]

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Boo!

Scare the neighbors—and their Trick-or-Treating kids—with this European ceramic wall plaque from the 1960’s. This sculpted, bas-relief “Aries” is a bold and expressive rendering of the zodiac character—who is also a notorious player from mythology and fable.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. LEO Design will be open from Noon […]

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Notes From the Road – part VIII

I have always loved dogs, though none as much as my little shop dog, Benji.  While he sleeps in his crate behind the cash wrap, little vintage canines rest contentedly in the antique display case.  In England this week, I’ve added a few more to the collection, examples shown above.  A silver-plated brass Dachshund folds […]

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Notes From the Road – part III

Besides finding wonderful and handsome gifts for my shop, being in England this week provides me another benefit:  I am avoiding the constant scrum of the current political fracas. Though I am, admittedly, a committed partisan, I nevertheless cannot wait for 8 November to come and go.  And I’m sure I’m not alone! Finding this […]

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Sixties Stag Party

And you thought Mad Men was over!  Not quite yet.  Shown above, a Danish Modern stoneware plaque by sculptor Knud Kyhn for Royal Copenhagen.  Made in 1968, it was intended as a decorative object to hang upon the wall or it could be permanently mounted within a larger ceramics installation. On the plaque, two playful bucks cavort amidst a […]

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The United Nations

In the aftermath of World War II and its devastation, the world’s leaders sought a means to prevent such conflicts in the future—and decided to create the United Nations.  Multiple sites were considered, including Flushing Meadow, in Queens, site of the 1939 World’s Fair. When a development project in Manhattan (along the East River) fell-apart, […]

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Squirrel Crazy!

I just took my seven year old niece to Washington, DC.  We saw the White House, the Capitol, the National Zoo, the Lincoln Memorial and the Museum of Natural History. What did she like best?  The squirrels! My niece, who was visiting from Hawaii, had never seen one of the restless rodents before. She put […]

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An Octopus’s Garden

When I think of Ruscha West German Modernist art pottery, I usually think of vases—vases with wonderful dripping, complex and organic glazes.  Until I found the plaque above, which shakes-up my concept of Ruscha. Here sea grasses sway, anchored in a bed of blooming anemones, while bubbles bobble to the surface. Brown lobes of coral […]

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Spring Chickens

Come into the shop to see this sweet little pair of hand-painted ceramic chickens—a rooster and a hen.  They’re made in Southern California (where they are cast in vintage molds), and, while they aren’t antiques, they have a wonderful old-time coloration to them.         See new merchandise first!  Follow us on Instagram: […]

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Be Prepared

A Boy Scout is always prepared—but does he have a vintage trophy?  Celebrate the scout (or former scout) with this  1920’s cast spelter statuette modeled by Canadian Renaissance Man Robert Tait McKenzie in 1915.  Around its base are inscribed the characteristics which form the ideal Scout: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, […]

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From Across the Sea

From afar off Japan comes this winsome little bear—made of cast iron and dressed in an antique brown finish.  He’d serve happily as a paperweight or loyally just standing-guard on your desk.  Please come into the shop to see him or call us for additional information.         See new merchandise first!  Follow […]

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The Old King of the Forest

At LEO Design we love the King of the Forest—and all things Leonine. But, long before lions ruled, there was another King: the Tyrannosaurus Rex. His name, literally translated, is “Tyrant Lizard King.” He was the apex predator, top of the food chain.  At 40 feet long, his long, heavy tail was required to balance […]

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A Four-Footed Friend

Pigs are popular—all things pigs!  Shown above, a cast brass piglet, finished with a verdigris bronze patina.  He’ll sit happily on your shelf, desk or windowsill—or even in your garden (though he will weather in the out-of-doors elements).  Come in and see him—and his “sty mates”—or call us for additional information.       See […]

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Poetry Ex Cathedra

I like Dante. And so do my customers, apparently.  I buy just about every pair of Dante bookends I can get my hands on and they continue to sell.  Here’s a pair that’s a little different.  Instead of the typical dour Medieval Florentine poet, we get an energized—almost sprightly—Dante, leaning forward in his throne. The […]

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Boundless gratitude to all the women who have lifted us up, made us smile and showed us that we were the most important thing in their lives.         See new merchandise first!  Follow us on Instagram: “leodesignhandsomegifts”

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Countdown to Mother’s Day – part V

While all mothers are welcomed at LEO Design, “Leo Moms” always stir-up a little extra enthusiasm. And for just such a mother, how about an Italian cast pewter lion?  Hand-made outside of Florence, this King of the Jungle will be happy to reign over your mom’s desktop, bookshelf or mantelpiece.  Please come into the shop […]

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Countdown to Mother’s Day – part IV

For “Cat Mothers,” perhaps our (half-sized) Crouching Cat sculpture would do the trick. Made of cast brass and finished with a verdigris bronze patina, this feline is all tension and coiled energy—eyes on the prize, ready to spring!  It would look great on a hearthstone, bookshelf or even in the garden (where it will develop […]

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April’s End

April bids us “Farewell”—or rather this winsome rabbit does. He’s made in Japan of cast zinc and has a Cubist design.  He’s part of our large collection of rabbit sculptures—in zinc, bronze, brass and ceramic.  Please come into the shop to see him and his warren mates.         See new merchandise first! […]

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Just Alighted

A pair of engaging birds—a warbler and a nuthatch—have alighted at LEO Design this spring.  Made in Canada of heavy cast bronze, they’d be happily employed as paperweights or content to just sit around, looking pretty.  Please call or come into the shop to see them.         See new merchandise first!  Follow […]

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Three Little Bears

With the winter’s cold, in comes this trio of playful Danish bears. Designed by sculptor Knud Kyhn and made by Royal Copenhagen in the 1970’s, they have taken-up residence with our large collection of mid-century stoneware bears.  Please come by to see them and their case-mates here at LEO Design.       See new […]

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Year of the Monkey – part IV

We’ll end our “Week of the Monkey” with this simian fellow—tense with anticipation, wound-up and ready to spring!  He was made in 1959 by artist Knud Kyhn for Royal Copenhagen.  He’d bring a good deal of coiled energy to your bookshelf, mantelpiece or coffee table.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about […]

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Year of the Monkey – part III

Here’s a super monkey for the Year of the Fire Monkey.  Made in the 1920’s by Danish ceramicist Knud Kyhn, it is impressive in size, style and artistic impact—certainly a “statement piece” in any interior design setting.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about him or come into the shop to see […]

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Year of the Monkey – part II

Since we’ve just started the Year of the Monkey, why not make it the Week of the Monkey? Over the next few days, we’ll share a few of our interesting primate offerings from the shop. Shown above, a happy chimp, arms raised in victory.  Modeled by ceramicist Knud Kyhn for Royal Copenhagen and produced in […]

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Lyin’ in Winter

After (seemingly endless) months of campaigning, boasting and (yes, sometimes) lying, the candidates vying for the White House will get their first dose of “meaningful feedback” tomorrow as the Iowa Caucuses finally take place.  Why a small number of people in a handful of small towns in a couple of small states should have such […]

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Just Landed

René Lalique was born in 1860 in Ay, France, 85 miles east of Paris.  His father died when René was four and the young boy was soon apprenticed to a Paris goldsmith where he developed an early appreciation for beautiful design and quality workmanship.  At 12, René began art school where he studied drawing and […]

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Spring Birds in Winter

The soft spring colors of these two ceramic birds—mother and chick—have alighted just as winter’s snow begins to fall!  Nevertheless, they’ll be happy (and safe) ’til Spring. The pair was made in the 1960’s by Artist Erik Engqvist for Swedish ceramics workshop Jie Gantofta.  “Jie” was the nickname of John Ewert Johnson and he founded […]

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Elephant Walk

Recently though our door:  a trumpeting cast spelter elephant. On his back, a little removable “pagoda” under which one can place a cone of incense.  He was made in Japan in the 1920’s or 1930’s ($175).  Please come into the shop to see him or call us for more information.

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Notes From the Road – part II

I’m on-the-road this week, replenishing the shop after a busy Holiday season.  One of my new finds is the trio of British tin elephants, shown above.  Made in England in the 1930’s, they were likely part of some child’s circus menagerie—during those special years between the wars.  They are nicely cast, hand-painted, and have the […]

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Merry Christmas to All!

Best Christmas wishes to all—and good tidings for the New Year! After a long Holiday sales season, LEO Design is closed today.  We will re-open tomorrow, 26 December, at 12 Noon. Thank you for your patronage throughout the year.     Holiday Week Hours—26 December through 3 January—Noon ’til 6:00 pm.

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A Christmas Eve Renaissance

‘Tis Christmas Eve, when Christians around the world prepare for the coming of the infant Jesus.  Here at LEO Design, we prepare by placing a pair of (late Twentieth Century) Italian Renaissance angels into the shop window—in what’s become our Christmas Eve tradition. The same-sized originals—carved of marble by a teenaged Michelangelo—are found upon the […]

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Bearing Gifts

Bears are popular: carved bears, stuffed bears, cast bears, printed bears.  We sell a lot of bears.  And we’ve just received a really nice addition to our collection, shown above.  He’s a carved wooden Blackforest bear, made in the mountainous south of Germany, circa 1950. He’s rather large (as such carved bears go) and nicely-sculpted. […]

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Silent Knights

Silent, perhaps.  Nevertheless, these bronze-clad bookends will make a statement!  Made in the Twenties or Thirties by the Marion Bronze workshop in Metuchen, New Jersey, they depict a mounted knight, tense with anticipation, astride his eager steed—both ready for the charge.  Lance in-hand, he will add a touch of romantic, Medieval style to your office, […]

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A Pony for Christmas!

Paul Dresler is considered one of the most important ceramicists between the wars.  He was born in Siegen, Germany in 1879 and, as a boy, planned to be a painter.  On a visit to Munich in 1910, Dresler saw an exhibit of Islamic ceramics—an experience which proved to be a turning-point in the artist’s life. […]

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Foxes and Hedgehogs

Said ancient Greek poet Archilochus (680 – 645 BC), “A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing.”  Some 2,600 years later, Latvian-British philosopher and Oxford scholar Isaiah Berlin (1909 – 1997) published a treatise expanding upon this notion. In a nutshell, thinkers and writers fell into one of two camps:  “foxes” who […]

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Birds in Flight

Like yesterday’s angel ornaments, this hummingbird is also made of carved tagua nuts—also known as “palm ivory” or “vegetable ivory.”  He’ll happily hover amongst the branches of your Christmas tree or levitate year ’round in your kitchen window.  Made in a fair trade workshop in Ecuador ($28).       For the Holiday season, LEO […]

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Angels on High

With Christmas three weeks away, perhaps it’s time to think about trimming the tree.  Over the next few days I’ll share with you some of my in-store ornaments—new finds and old favorites. Shown above, little angels carved of tagua nuts.  Also called “vegetable ivory,” tagua nuts grow on a variety of palm tree found in […]

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Happy Hanukkah!

Wishing a Happy Hanukkah to all—and a joyful Holiday Season!  As we rush-about our ever-busy lives, let’s endeavor to enjoy a few quiet, focused moments with those we love. Hanukkah begins tonight—at sundown—and ends Monday evening, eight days from now. The Cypress Tree Menorah, pictured above, is cast of solid bronze in Canada.  Please click […]

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Summer Leaves

Today—at 4:21 am Eastern Time—Summer will turn to Fall.  And today we’ll experience the Autumnal Equinox—one of two days in the year when the lengths of night and day are the same.  The equinox (“equal night”) is the point when the sun crosses the equator (in this case, from North to South).  As the sun […]

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National Aviation Day

On this day in 1871, aviation pioneer Orville Wright was born in Dayton, Ohio.  Sixty-eight years later, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a proclamation making this day National Aviation Day—a day dedicated to educating American citizens about aviation and promoting an interest in the subject. The plane above, crafted of cast aluminum, was inspired by […]

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Pelicans—in Russia?

No—from the other Saint Petersburg!  Florida! A cast spelter Pelican opens his bill to hold your keys, coins, or cigarette ashes.  A delightful souvenir from 1960’s Florida—and sure to be a conversation piece in your office, kitchen or at the doorway.  Perfect for holding paperclips.  ($95).  Please come into the shop to see him or […]

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Tristan da Cunha

In 1506, Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha sighted the remote South Atlantic islands now anglicized as Tristan da Cunha.  Because of bad sea conditions, he was unable to land, but, before sailing away, named the largest island after himself. Almost immediately, European maps began to include the archipelago under the Portuguese explorer’s (English) name.  In […]

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World Elephant Day

Today is World Elephant Day, dedicated to promoting knowledge of elephants and educating the public about the plight of these majestic, endangered creatures.  The annual event strives to reduce poaching, eliminate the trade of elephant ivory, and promote better care and management of Asian and African elephants—in captivity and in the wild.  Wild elephant populations […]

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The Royal Greenwich Observatory

On this day in 1675, by order of King Charles II, the cornerstone was laid for the Royal Greenwich Observatory—an institution which would provide tremendous scholarship and advancement in the fields of astronomy and navigation. Greenwich, on the River Thames (just outside of London), has long been associated with maritime activities. Bustling docks and a […]

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Franz Liszt, Musical Legend

On this day in 1886,  Liszt Ferencz (known in the West as “Franz Liszt”) died of pneumonia in Bayreuth, Germany—home of the famous Wagner Music Festival.  Liszt was a prolific composer, one who had an influence on the following century’s great composers, and he was considered, in his day, to be the world’s greatest pianist. […]

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Call of the Wild

Whether your father likes to hunt game or would rather appreciate animal beauty with his eyes alone, here’s just the Father’s Day gift! Made in mid-century Denmark by sculptor Arne Ingdam, this ceramic  stoneware sculpture captures a fourteen-point bull elk in full call. Please come into the shop to see him or click on the […]

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Notes From the Road – part II

I’ve taken to the road this week, traveling throughout New England, in-search of “Handsome Gifts” for the shop.  Though I’m never quite sure what I’ll find, I do have a wishlist. At the top of the list?  Great Father’s Day gift ideas.  Shown above is one such idea: a pair of Goebel German Modernist terra […]

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Hail! Harriet Quimby!

On this day in 1912, American aviatrix Harriet Quimby flew from Dover, England to Calais, France—making her the first woman to fly across the English Channel.  Alas, she achieved little recognition; her accomplishment was overshadowed by reports of the RMS Titanic which had sunk the previous day. Quimby was born in a Michigan farmhouse in […]

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Easter Greetings!

A Joyous Easter to those who celebrate it—and a Spring season of gentle warmth and growing happiness to all. Shown above, a polished brass rabbit, handcrafted in Japan. You may see him in-shop, alongside a small menagerie of other whimsical, Modernist creatures. LEO Design will be open today from Noon ’till 6:00 pm.  Please hop […]

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. . . And a Happy Hippo

Another of our new Japanese brass creatures is this Happy Hippo.  She stands on four pointed feet, contemplating her good fortune.  She joins her other Japanese brass mates—Rabbit, Pig, and Kitty. $165 each.

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A Brass Menagerie. . .

We’ve just received a small collection—a menagerie—of handsome and stylish Japanese brass animals. First they are cast in heavy brass, then laboriously hand-finished, resulting in sleek lines and a mirror finish.  Perfect as a paperweight, a shelf decoration, or just a nice thing to pick-up and handle, any one of the four animals would make […]

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Christmas Eve

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 […]

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Happy Hanukkah!

Wishing you a Happy Hanukkah—and a wonderful Holiday Season.  Thank you for letting LEO Design play a role in your Holiday celebration. Shown above, a finely-cast bronze menorah.  Please come see it in the shop or click on the photo above to learn more about it. For the Holidays, LEO Design is now open from […]

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Keep Climbing!

With ten shopping days ’till Christmas, I thought a little encouragement might be in order. This little frog, on a mid-century West German plaque by Ruscha, struggles to climb ever higher—struggling for a better view.  Spare a thought for our poor amphibious friend as you slog, seemingly endlessly,  from store to store.  Better yet, you […]

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A Black Bird on Black Friday

A lively black bird has just alighted to tell us: The Holiday Shopping Season is off and running!  Happy Black Friday! Carved by a Florida sculptor and embellished with antique “findings” these feathered friends straddle the aesthetics of folk art, Futurism, and The Edwardian.  They’d be right at home hopping-around in a Terry Gilliam film. […]

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Notes From the Road – part III

And now for a change of pace:  behold this lovely pair of French Art Deco bookends, pictured above.  Made in the 1930’s and signed “Gallot”, the deer are sculpted in spelter, treated with a verdigris bronze finish, and mounted upon black marble bases. Handsome, stylish and useful! These are just a small part of my recent acquisitions, purchased […]

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My Trunk is Packed . . .

My trunk is packed and I’ve hoisted it across the Atlantic.  Today I begin a ten day shopping trip in England—starting in London, moving south, and, after that, wherever the trail leads. Over the last 20 years as a shopkeeper, I’ve met and befriended many collectors in various parts of the world.  Some of them […]

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La Fête Nationale

On this day in 1789, French revolutionaries stormed and captured the 14th century Paris fortress called the Bastille Saint-Antoine.  Long used as a prison by the kings of France, the citadel was a potent symbol of the monarchy’s dominance.  Once captured, its name became a rallying cry for the rag-tag revolutionaries.  To this day, 14 […]

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Il Palio di Siena

I’ve only ever been to Siena in the Autumn—well after the annual summer horse races which have helped make the Medieval city famous.   Nevertheless, I couldn’t help being taken with the magnificent, bowl-shaped Piazza del Campo and imagine it packed with spectators, the thunder of horses hooves creating a sense of excitement and danger. […]

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A Football is Round!

Prepared or not, the Twentieth Football World Cup begins today in São Paulo, Brazil!  In the opening match (today at 4:00 pm Eastern Time), Croatia faces the host country, Brazil, in the new Arena de São Paulo—an arena so new, in fact, that it has never been tested with a capacity crowd.  And, if that […]

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Tarzan is Born

On this day in 1904, Peter Johann Weißmüller was born in Freidorf, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (and now in Romania).  When he was seven months of age, his family moved to the U.S. and, after a period in Pennsylvania, settled in Chicago.  At nine, young Peter contracted polio, and, at the advice […]

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Victoria Regina at 195

Had she lived, today would have been Queen Victoria’s 195th birthday.  She still “holds the crown” for longest-reigning British monarch (until 10 September 2015 at which point Queen Elizabeth II—should she still hold the throne—will surpass Victoria).  Victoria was quite far-down the line of succession but circumstances cleared a path for her—her father died when […]

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It’s Beginning to Feel a lot Like Summer!

Is it just me or is it getting warm around here?  It seems a few minutes ago we were complaining about the endless winter! Above, a newly-acquired piece:  a bronze Modernist sculpture of a male nude, pulling his shirt over his head.  One can see (faintly) the impression of his face as his knitted tee […]

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The Pony Express

On this day in 1860, the Pony Express began its first day of service, linking St. Joseph, Missouri to the new (and important) state of California.  A customer paid $5.00 per half-ounce to have his envelope whisked along the 1900 mile route in an astonishing 10 days.  A company of 120 riders (each weighing less […]

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Truant’s Day ?

In some years, today’s the first day of Spring.  In Poland, students celebrate the day by—skipping school?  Yes, it’s Truant’s Day! The little boy, pictured above, may or may not be missing class.  He was sculpted by a Polish artist however, Vaclav Szczeblewski.  And whether Mr. Szczeblewski ever skipped school, I can’t say.  Apparently, he […]

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A Musical Superstar is Born

On this day in 1810, musical genius Frédéric Chopin (Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin) was born in Warsaw, Poland.  His father was French, his mother Polish. A child prodigy, he had completed his musical education by 20—and, by then, had written some of his famous works.  Soon he left for Paris, never to return to his homeland. […]

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The Calaveras Skull

On this day in 1866, miners digging in Calaveras County, California, discovered a portion of a human skull, some 130 feet below the surface and beneath an ancient lava flow.  Josiah Whitney, State Geologist in California (and a professor at Harvard University) studied the remnant, announcing that the skull was real and that it dated […]

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Free Labor! Free Land! Free Men!

Free Labor!  Free Land!  Free Men! So went the mantra of the Republican Party in 1856.  On this day in 1856, the Republican National Party met in Pittsburgh to finalize plans for its first national convention, four months later.  Philadelphia was selected and California senator, John C. Freemont, was nominated as the first Republican presidential […]

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A Woman in a Man’s World

I found the sculpture, above, in London last Autumn.  It was in the possession of a friend, a collector of British Sculpture, and he agreed to sell it to me.  This particular collector prefers bronzes and this fellow (above) is sculpted of patinated plaster.  It is signed “D M Venning” and is quite handsome (more […]

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Happy Year of the Horse!

Wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year and Prosperous Year of the Horse! People born in the Year of the Horse tend to be clever, kind, and communicative—perhaps a little too much so, at times.  They enjoy the company of other people, the larger the crowd, the better.  This year may be a bit of […]

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The Age of Innocence

Born on this day in 1862, Edith Wharton was born into a respectable New York society family.  She was related to the Rensselaers and her father (George Frederic Jones) came from the family after which the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” reputedly was based. Having entrance to New York society, Edith proved a keen […]

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Hold Your . . . Books?

Another recent acquisition is this pair of handsome, Art Deco Horse Head bookends.  Cast of heavy, solid glass, they really provide a stately end-cap to your library collection.  Keep them on desk, bookshelf, or credenza—or, place them atop your mantle piece. Please stop-by the shop to see them in person—along with a lot more newly-acquired […]

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Best Christmas Wishes

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.

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A Stork Arrives

I just loved this little fellow and am happy to have him in my shop.  He is Edwardian English, of cast brass, and sculpted to convey nice detail and character.  He is amongst the new arrivals, just landed after my recent trip to England. Click on the photo to learn more about him. More […]

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Beautifully Sculpted

We’ve just received another beautiful menorah—this one finely-cast in bronze.  The exceptional detail is rendered using the “lost wax method” whereby molten bronze is poured into a mold formed around a detailed wax version of the same menorah.  It is then finished by hand and patinated.  The lost wax method is the traditional means of […]

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One Month to Go . . .

. . .to Hanukkah, that is. We’ve just received our Holiday shipment of Bronze Cypress Tree Menorahs.  Crafted of solid bronze in Canada, they are a casually beautiful accompaniment to The Festival of Lights.  And so handsome, I think, it can sit out year ’round.  Place it on a high shelf and one won’t […]

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No White Elephants Here

Legend has it that the King of Siam would present courtiers—specifically annoying or obnoxious ones—with the royal gift of a White Elephant.  Despite the gift’s incredible rarity, the animal was such a burden to sustain that the unpleasant courtier would be ruined financially just trying to keep the animal fed and maintained. Today, the term […]

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George Stubbs: Equine Genius

On this day in 1724, British artist George Stubbs was born in Liverpool to a leather “currier” (finisher) and merchant.  He worked with his father until he was 16, at which point he was apprenticed to a local painter and engraver, a position which didn’t last long—Stubbs did not like the repetitive copying which was […]

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The First Item I Ever Sold

This is the first item I ever sold, in my first store, on my first day.  It’s a Mortens Studio Saint Bernard sculpture.  After selling it, I came across another two years later.  I had to buy it—paying three times more for the replacement than for which I had sold the first!  Since that day, […]

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