Summer Afternoons

Hertford College's "Bridge of Sighs" Over New College Lane, Etching by Mabel Parker (LEO Design)

Sadly, this year's travel plans have been supplanted with overdue home projects, including the hanging and cataloging of my personal collection of paintings and other artwork.  So this summer, in lieu of an overseas getaway, I could only gaze wistfully at framed pictures as I hung them—many of them reminding me of my favorite travel destinations (and vacations gone by).  Let me share a few of them with you.  Alas, this shall be the extent of my romantic journeys for Summer 2020.  On the whole, I have little to complain of.  In the meantime, I'll enjoy a few more "little journeys,' gazing at my pictures of my favorite places.

Over the years, I've spent many summer weeks in Oxford, England—the romantically bustling college town that is, at once, old and new.  Multiple independent colleges form the conglomerate university, each with its own buildings, customs and legacies.  Teaching has occurred at Oxford since at least 1096, making it the second-oldest university in the world (behind the University of Bologna, 1088).  There is much to do in Oxford; just walking around for a few hours is an adventure.  And I've pillaged a trove of antique-hunting sites within a two hour radius of Oxford.  There is nothing as wonderful as a gentle English summer day—a delight which remains one of my enduring memories of time spent in Oxfordshire.

The image above, signed "M. Oliver Rae," was etched by a female artist, Mabel Oliver Rae Parker.  She avoided using her full name on her works, fearing that people would not want to buy works by female artists.  She is best known for her delicate etchings of "Oxbridge" (Oxford and Cambridge) and the posh British Public Schools (which were, strangely, quite exclusive and private).  She also travelled extensively throughout England, etching landscapes, shore scenes and forested views.


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 (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248