To the Letter - part I

English Rococo Revival Brass Letter Knife (LEO Design)

For several days, we will be sharing some of our newly-acquired letterknives—some antique, some contemporary. Please check our website—under "Desk Accessories"—to see the full collection.

We start with an English brass letterknife, executed in the Rococo Revival style. The original Rococo Movement was developed in France and Italy before moving North to Germany and Russia from about 1730 to 1780. It was typified by its theatrically exuberant style, often using asymmetrical scrolling, shells, flowers and other botanical elements. Curving lines, over-the-top decoration and the illusion of motion and drama aimed to cause the first-time viewer to be overwhelmed with surprise and awe. Critics of the Rococo considered it vulgar and in the following decades it was replaced by the Neoclassical and the Empire Styles (both more sober, historically masculine and far less flamboyant). But the Rococo did have its heyday—and had a tremendous impact on architecture, sculpture, painting, fashion, the decorative arts, even music before coming to an end.

The letterknife shown above, was made in England around the 1910's or 1920's. By then, Rococo was long out of fashion. Though, apparently, the style will always remain favored by some—though, perhaps, in smaller doses. Please click on the photo above to learn more about this letterknife.

More newly-acquired letterknives tomorrow.


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