Sunset Over Hradčany

Etched Aquatint of "Sunset Over Hradčany" Prague by T. F. Šimon (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.

Prague is a favorite, with it's mix of heavy Medieval Gothic and whimsical Bohemian Art Nouveau.  The city was one of the crown jewels of the Austro-Hungarian Empire—previously the seat of Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors—and it remains wonderfully atmospheric today (especially "off-season").  Because of its dramatic architectural legacy, Prague is often used as a movie setting for many other (more expensive and difficult) cities.

This aquatint shows Hradčany, the ancient Ninth Century castle complex on Prague's highest hilltop.  In this print by Czech artist Tavik František Šimon, the castle is joined by Saint Vitus's Cathedral (whose construction began in 1344, over a much older church).  The Cathedral even includes a stained glass window by Czech artist Alfons Mucha (installed in 1931, after this print was made).

Šimon was an accomplished artist—a painter, etcher and woodcut printer.  He studied in Prague, Italy and Paris before returning to the Academy of Fine Art in Prague where he was a teacher.  In 1926, he made an ambitious 'round-the-world tour (North Africa, India, Ceylon, Japan, the U.S., England and throughout Europe).  He made etchings, naturally, but he also wrote a book (published with his illustrations) titled Letters from Around the World.  Šimon worked within a range of aesthetic styles and was largely ignored during Czechoslovakia's Communist years.  Since then, he has grown in appreciation, both in the Czech Republic and abroad.


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