We celebrate the first few days of LEO with a "parade" of leonine beauties—now in-stock at LEO Design.
One might consider bookends a somewhat mundane form of art—if one considers bookends "art" at all. Bookends were manufactured in quantity, made of a very humble material (often cast iron), sold for modest prices, and put to work at a highly-utilitarian task. What the bookend makers—the foundries—often got right was their success in hiring wonderful sculptors to create the original models for their castings. Some of these sculptors are anonymous. But others were allowed (or encouraged) to sign their works. What the foundry owners understood (perhaps an acknowledgement of their European artistic roots) was that a little extra money spent in the beginning (the model-making) would pay huge dividends for years to come—for the entirety of the production run.
I have always wondered why manufacturers would fail to follow this course. When one is making hundreds (or thousands or millions) of a single item, a little extra expense at the start could be amortized over the hundreds (or thousands or millions) of units produced. Think of the classic Coca-Cola or Heinz ketchup bottles. Certainly, creating the original model (from which one makes the moulds) cost a little more time, effort and expense. But now, 130+ years later, both bottles remain important elements of their respective products—and their "brand images." The extra design expense incurred in the 1880's has been amortized over the decades—and the billions and billions of individual bottles produced to differentiate their brands.
These bookends enjoy the good fortune to have been modeled by American sculptor Gregory Seymour Allen (1884-1934). He was born in Orange, New Jersey, and worked in New York City before moving west to Glendale, California. He is known, primarily, as a sculptor of "historical" themes—usually famous personages—in politics, history or the military. He designed plaques, medallions, medals, and the occasional pair of handsome bookends (or other desktop accessories). Allen often sculpted in the bas relief style, including this pair of regal lions. They are certain to be a cherished gift for your favorite LEO or book lover. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.
More handsome LEOs tomorrow and in the days to come.
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 The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248