As the Nineteenth Century Industrial Revolution swept across England, Europe and North America, these regions also witnessed dramatic growth of a new middle class. And, as these middle class families took root in the market economy, their demand for more (and more) non-essential consumer goods grew. Non-aristocrats, for the first time, could afford to buy the things they wanted, not just those things they needed. And the coincident Industrial Revolution was poised to churn-out a high volume of (mostly) high-quality goods.
These picture frames, made around 1890, were crafted in some sort of a production run of at least moderate volume. They combined an affordable and adaptable industrial material (glass) with suitable production methods (a glass moulding factory) to create something handsome and useful to boot. Notice that the glass front (over the central image) has been modeled (and moulded) into a convex shape. Golden paint, applied from the back (over textured glass), creates the impression of matting. And the crossed "Oxford corners" are finished with a front "spike" which adds dimension and sculptural interest to the joinery. The end result was something that looked nice, could not have been made by hand, and was useful, too. It's a product of a time when nicely-designed, high quality items were produced at scale in a cost-effective manner. Click on the photo above to learn more about these frames.
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