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Leap Day

Every school child knows that it takes 365 days for the Earth to orbit around the Sun. Or does it? Since the Second Century BC, Greek mathematician and astronomer, Hipparchus, had (accurately) calculated the precise number of days of an Earthly orbit:  365 days + 1/4 of a day - 1/300 of a day. Unfortunately, when the Julian Calendar was instituted in 45 BC, the extra 1/300 was ignored and a single leap day was added every fourth year. After a few centuries, however, the seasons and equinoxes were becoming mis-aligned with the annual calendar. When the Gregorian Calendar was introduced in 1582, the "extra" allotted leap days (since 45 BC) were "taken back" and a new pattern was instituted: add...

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What's Old is New

Although the New Year (and its resolutions) are weeks old, we are still legitimately  within only the second month of the annum. So here's a late-breaking idea to help with your sincerest organizational intentions. It's a French steel wall-pocket, enameled in white, and bursting with possibilities for upping your organization. I am guessing that it was originally used in the kitchen as a place to hold "spills" or small tapering candles (used to transfer fire from one part of the kitchen to another). Today it could be used to hold a wallet, keys and a mobile phone. Or, perhaps, letters to be mailed. Or, it could hold little bottles and tubes in the bathroom. Finally, consider it a place to hold...

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Spring Thaw

Spring begins in 30 days! Soon it will be time to resume those favorite outdoor activities: planting, painting, washing the car. For those who prefer long hikes in the woods, these pups are ready to join you! Made of cast iron in the 1920's, these bookends will add a bit of "countryside chic"—whether Maine Woods or Downton Abbey—to your office, den or mantelpiece. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.

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Ashes to Ashes...

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is the Christian season of abstinence, almsgiving and prayerful reflection—forty days of preparation before the most-important Christian celebration, Easter Sunday. On Ash Wednesday, the faithful are marked on the forehead with black ashes and instructed, "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  The Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Paris is amongst the most famous houses of worship in the world. Last year, on 15 April—the day after Palm Sunday—the 850 year old Cathedral suffered heartbreaking damage in a great fire.  Ashes to ashes, indeed. For me, the heartache contains a personal resonance. I once attended Mass in Notre-Dame on a Palm Sunday, some years ago. The Mass was...

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Fat Tuesday!

It's Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday! And, NO, I am not implying that these buxom beauties are fat! On the contrary, they represent the artistically-idealized female figure for most of the last four thousand years. These "Satyresses" (female Satyrs) convey the (extreme) Bacchanalian character of the last day before Lent. In Catholic households, Mardi Gras is the opportunity to eat-up and get rid of all meat, fats, sweets, alcohol and other gustatory indulgences before the proscribed Lenten abstemiousness begins the next day (Ash Wednesday).

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Copper Frames - Part Two

Here's another English copper frame, this time Arts & Crafts, c. 1900. Hand-hammered "bosses" surround the image and a curling mustache presides at the top. A handsome and nicely-crafted gift, perhaps for Mother's Day. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.

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Copper Frames - Part One

While brass "chain link" photo frames were popular during the English Victorian period, copper chain frames were much less common. This one, made around 1890, is a handsome twist on the more plentiful brass option. It might make a nice Mother's Day gift on 10 May. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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)....

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Caucus in the Silver State

Today is the Democratic Primary Caucus in Nevada, "The Silver State." Nevada's nickname hearkens back to the 1800's when silver mining drew many westward to find fortune. Today—considering the caucus—it's worth noting that most of the top candidates are "Silver" themselves: in their Seventies (and some close to their Eighties). I find it interesting that so many Millennials—who wouldn't hire a colleague in her Fifties—have amassed behind an "Almost Octogenarian."  But there are Democrats in the race. And, if you support one, you may like this little bronze donkey, handmade in California. On the bottom of each hoof you'll find the letters spelling K-I-C-K ("Kick Ass"). Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   Though our Greenwich...

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Back To "My Roots" - Part Three

I have always loved artistic metalwork—and the brawnier, the better. While in New York, I made note of (and photographed) two different types of sculptural foundry work, both artistic, which I admire and like. First, there's the "high end, fine art" type, usually crafted as a precious, one-off piece and sometimes used to adorn architectural exteriors or interiors. The second type of casting—and potentially just as impressive—are those metal architectural elements which are beautifully modeled and then reproduced by the dozens, hundreds or thousands. The stainless steel bas relief sculpture, shown above, is to be found at 50 Rockefeller Plaza (near the site of the Center's Christmas tree). It is a great example of important, bespoke fine art metalwork. It was commissioned...

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Back To "My Roots" - Part Two

When I first moved to New York, I lived for four years in the West Fifties. This was before I opened LEO Design and, thus, still enjoyed days off on the weekend. Central Park became my backyard. Many hours were spent relaxing in Sheep's Meadow (photo below). On this trip, it was far too cold for sunbathing! But I did reminisce as I crossed the 15 acre "pasture"—enroute to visit an elderly friend on the Eastside. I tried a new route across Central Park, clutching a bag of Chinese food in one hand and my cameraphone in the other. I came upon the Carousel—which I had never seen before—entranced by its hauntingly jolly Wurlitzer tune. The merry-go-round itself was built in 1908 and...

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Back To "My Roots" - Part One

  A confluence of circumstances prompted a late winter's trip to Manhattan—where LEO Design began 25 years ago: a customer delivery (hurrah!), a dental check-up (meh) and our annual visit to the tax accountant (TBD).  And it was thirty years ago, this month, that I first moved to New York City. Since then, in many ways, the city has changed substantially in color and character. In other ways, the pulse of the city is (more or less) just as it's always been. On this visit, I hit the sidewalk with the same rush of energy and sense of potential as I did when I was a 26 year old boy—invigorated by the bustle and purpose of the New Yorkers surrounding...

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The Season of Increasing Light - part IV

The fourth and last of our "lamp show" is this "Laced & Studded" beauty. It will bring a sculptural dimension to your room, thanks to the hand-fitted embellishments. It also has a wonderful custom-sculpted finial. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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

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The Season of Increasing Light - part III

Even when turned-off, this lamp seems to radiate light and warmth. The ceramic lamp, dressed in a highly-textured orange glaze, screams Mid-Century Modern. It was made in the 1960's or 1970's and you can learn more about it by clicking on the photo above. More lighting 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 (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

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The Season of Increasing Light - part II

Though slender, this lamp still packs an aesthetic punch! And don't let its willowy silhouette belie its substantial weight and gravitas. One such lamp will fit the trickiest of small spaces. Two (or more) of them make a strong statement on a sideboard or at bedside. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More lighting 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...

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The Season of Increasing Light - part I

It's been about eight weeks that our days have been getting longer. And now's the time when we fully begin to recognize and appreciate the extended light. In celebration of "The Season of Increasing Light," we'll be sharing a small collection of light fixtures, now available on-line at LEO Design. This handsome and substantial lamp is in the form of a heavy column, with a "turned" base and capital. It really makes a statement—with its strong lines and considerable "visual weight." Click on the photo above to learn more about it. And always feel welcome to give us a call if you have questions about this lamp (or any other piece). More lighting in the days to come.   Though...

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Saint Valentine's Day

I remember Valentine's Day since the Second Grade. Miss Lum had us all bring-in valentines—one for every classmate, both boys and girls. My mother bought me a box of valentines for 19¢. They weren't proper, folding "greeting cards" but, rather, cheerfully illustrated die-cut hearts, flowers, puppies and mailboxes. They came connected on a large, printed sheet and I spent the night before Valentine's Day punching-out the pieces and writing upon them the names of each classmate. I don't recall there being any envelopes, just the two-dimensional, flat "greetings," each with a "To" and "From" line on the backside. The next morning in class, we were instructed to come forward and deposit our valentines into a cardboard "mailbox" which the teacher had...

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Countdown to Valentines - part VIII

Let's end our little parade of Valentine's Day gift ideas with this special beauty, a Gouda Dutch vase from the Twenties or Thirties, hand-painted with a bold black, red, white and gold folk art graphic. Reminiscent of embroidery or a Northern European textile pattern, it would make a thoughtful and handsome gift for any Valentine with great taste. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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)....

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Countdown to Valentines - part VII

In the Thirties and Forties, when "V" stood for "Victory," these English Art Deco cufflinks would have communicated an undeniable message: "We're going to win!" Today, the "V" could mean "Valentine"—which makes these cufflinks a great gift for one's beau. To learn more about these cufflinks, made in England in the 1930's, please click on the photo above.  More Valentine's Day gift ideas 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 (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...

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Countdown to Valentines - part VI

A crusty, matte red glaze clings to the tapered form of this European Modernist vase, made in the 1960's or 1970's. Beautiful as part of a collection, or equally handsome standing on its own on your bookshelf, coffee table or mantelpiece. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Valentine's Day gift ideas 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 (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)....

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Countdown to Valentines - part V

A little something to remember your loved one. This rustically-sculpted pewter heart—finished in a brassy wash—is pierced and swings from a brass key ring. It's a small token, but a happy reminder of the one who loves you. Find out more by clicking on the photo above. More Valentine's Day gift ideas 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 (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

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Countdown to Valentines - part IV

Looking for a nice Valentine's Day gift for your Beau? These English Art Deco cufflinks, adorned with bold red enamel striping, will become a sartorial favorite—and a frequent reminder, throughout the day, of your love and steadfast affection. Vaguely reminiscent of rugby stripes and rugby balls, they are simultaneously handsome, classic, strong and sporty. Click on the photo above to learn more about them. More Valentine's Day gift ideas 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 (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...

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Countdown to Valentines - part III

Looking for something beautiful and practical—and with a little token of affection, to boot? This late English Arts & Crafts copper tray was made in the southwest of England (Cornwall). Hand-tooled hearts and whiplash graphics surround the hand-planished center of the tray and a raised "piecrust" gallery forms the outer edge.  Cornish office clerk, Charles Thomas Eustace, returned to work after a long illness to discover that his position had been given to another person.  The 59 year old father of 13 children needed to do something—and quick!  He and his brother, John, opened a small copper crafts workshop in Hayle, Cornwall, their hometown.  Although he knew nothing of metalsmithing, he learned the craft quickly, becoming quite proficient.  Eustace admired the Keswick...

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Countdown to Valentines - part II

Boy, there is nothing like red when it's done right! And this red is superb! The red "color family" runs along a rather long spectrum—from an orangish "Chinese Red" (or Vermillion) on one end of the range to a deep "Italian Red" which one might find on a sports car or firetruck. Lighter reds tend to have more yellow in them while richer reds contain a lot of blue. This vessel, a Hoy Hey German Modernist pitcher from the 1960's or 1970's, has a red clay body dressed in a deep and satisfying red glaze. Furthermore, the highly-textured, hand-applied color gives additional richness to the piece. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Valentine's Day gift...

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Countdown to Valentines - part I

We're on the run-up to Valentine's Day. If you haven't found your sweetie a little something, yet, maybe we can help with some ideas over the next few days. Here's a sculpted pewter heart, handmade in San Francisco. It's just the right size: big enough to function as a paperweight, but small enough to be a love token in the hand. Its rustic casting—lightly pocked and perfectly imperfect—is not unlike the human heart, well-worn and tried by love. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More Valentine's Day gift ideas 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...

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Eternal Classics

The foundations of Western poetry and literature rest on the shoulders of two giants, who lived 2,000 years apart: Dante Alighieri (Medieval Florence, 1265-1321) and Homer (Ancient Greece, c. 700 BC). Although many great writers have come since them, many of the great Western scribes have credited these two—and their harrowing tales of travel and adventure (throughout the Ancient World and down to the Underworld).   Historians are divided over whether "Homer" was a single person or, perhaps, a group of writers (over time) who formed, re-formed and penned the Odyssey and the Iliad. On the other hand, Dante's authorship is undisputed. After supporting the losing side of a political war in Florence, he was banished from his beloved home city and took up residence in...

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Perhaps I've Changed?

Back in 1995—when I was still young and naive—a customer walked into my newly-opened store and looked-around approvingly.   "I really like your taste" she said.  "Do you have a yellow vase?"   "No," I replied, "but I could find one for you." "Yes, please do!" she exclaimed.   I asked her to describe the style of vase she would like.  "Oh, I don't know. I don't have something particular in mind. Anything is fine. I just want a nice yellow vase to put into my kitchen. I leave it up to you. I like the other things you have here; use your judgement." Well, that should be easy! I took her name and number and committed to finding her a...

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Oh, Those STEM Subjects!

Buck-up, STEM scholars! We're told that those of you who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Math will be well-employed in the future—and best-able to pay off those mountains of student debt. In the meantime, try to keep your eyes open during those late nights of studying. These studious monks seem to be drifting-off. But let's give them a break: they're nearly 100 years old.  These heavy cast iron "Science & Study" bookends were made by Bradley & Hubbard (in Connecticut) in the 1920's. Perhaps they'll quietly motivate your favorite STEM scholar-at-work or commemorate her graduation with a useful "trophy" to keep for a lifetime. Click on the photo to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is...

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American Football's Big Night

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about American Football (not much!).  I much prefer "The Beautiful Game" and believe that "A Football is Round" (and kicked with the feet). To my eye, "soccer" (as some call it!) allows the player's personality, fitness and (sometimes) good looks to shine through. American Football players are buried beneath mounds of plastic padding and nylon mesh. They also stop running and stand around a lot! Nevertheless, I love finding handsome, vintage gifts—like this Japanese Crystal (American) Football. It was made in Japan in the 1970's or 1980's. Perhaps they were usually etched with a particular team's logo? If so, this one was left unblemished. It would make a wonderful paperweight or conversation piece...

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Welcome, February

Welcome, February, and your birthstone, the amethyst! According to ancient Greek mythology, Dionysus—the god of wine—pursued a beautiful maiden by the name of Amethystos.  Her prayers to remain chaste were answered by the gods: she was turned into a beautiful white stone.  Dionysus, in his grief, poured wine over the white stone, turning it violet.  And, thus, the first amethyst was created.  The stone’s name comes from the Greek word “Methustos” which means “intoxicated.”  Amethysts have long been believed to protect its wearer from the inebriating effects of alcohol—in fact, ancient Greek and Roman drinking cups and bowls were sometimes crafted of turned amethyst.  During the Middle Ages, amethysts (and the color purple) were associated with (and reserved for) royalty—and...

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Hand-Raised Copper - part VIII

Let's end our parade of copper vessels with this modest option, a hand-hammered "club-form" vase.  It would look great holding a small number of stems—as it looks good standing empty and alone. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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

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Hand-Raised Copper - part VII

Western artists, designers and craftsmen have often tapped classic Asian design for its artistic inspiration. During the late Nineteenth Century (and at many other times in history), Westerners were enchanted by "The Exotic East." Sometimes these penchants became embarrassing and demeaning fetishes. But, at other times, such an appropriation was simply the recognition that classic Asian designers did beautiful work—and imitation is recognized as the sincerest form of flattery. The piece above takes the form of a classic "ginger jar"—the Chinese covered vessel originally intended to hold spices, oils and other valuable foodstuffs. Many centuries ago, Western merchants began to ship them back home to a hungry European population which used such ginger jars in their collecting and home decorating....

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Hand-Raised Copper - part VI

The "freeform" hand-hammering of these vessels, each from a single ingot of copper, requires a great deal of patience, precision and skill. The tools are minimal: an anvil, tongs and a small assortment of hammers (depending on the type of hammering needed at any particular point). Not only must the artisan get the shape right (and evenly balanced) but he must keep the walls of uniform thickness. He also wants to leave a pleasant hammering effect. On this piece, shown above, the craftsman has the additional task of applying a surface treatment—in this case evenly-spaced ribbing. Learn more about this vase by clicking on the photo above.   More hand-hammered copper items in the days to come.    Though our Greenwich...

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Hand-Raised Copper - part V

Compressed, sensual, pendulous. These are three words which help to describe this hand-raised copper vase, shown above. It is a squat gourd-form vessel with a narrow-ish neck—which will gather your flower stems to a controlled point. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Shown below is a highly sculptural offering. It's perfect for a low setting—upon a table or sideboard—where one may see it from above and appreciate the closed top of the vase (rather than look down into an open vessel). Click upon either photo to learn more about either vase.    More hand-hammered copper items in the days to come.    Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and...

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Hand-Raised Copper - part IV

Master architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, was known for his handsome, unusual and avant-garde buildings. And his work was not confined to the design of building structures alone. Indeed, he often designed his projects right down to the interior furnishings—rugs, furniture, decorative objets. One of his favorite vase forms was called a "weed holder"—and is the inspiration for the piece shown above. It stands just under 12 inches tall and will hold a large handful of dried grasses, rushes or twigs. It would also look great with long-stemmed fresh flowers, like gladiolas, irises or lilies. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   More hand-hammered copper items in the days to come.    Though our Greenwich Village store...

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Hand-Raised Copper - part III

Here's something a little different: a "Lotus Bowl" with nicely-scalloped sides. Raised from a single ingot of copper—just like the vases we've shown—it was made "freeform" with just a pair of tongs, hammers and an anvil. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   More hand-hammered copper items 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)....

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Hand-Raised Copper - part II

This vase is very heavy—with thick, hand-raised walls. It must have taken great muscle to hold it at the end of a tongs and to hammer it into shape. The form is a "soft square" which can be best understood when looking down upon the piece. At over 12 inches tall, it can hold relatively long flowering branches or a sizable arrangement of flowers. One could also make a nice lamp out of it. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Shown below, a more refined—and not as heavy—vase, also nearly a foot tall. It, too, would make  nice lamp or home for a handsome flower arrangement. In either case, I would pour a bag of heavy...

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Hand-Raised Copper - part I

When we were closing our Greenwich Village shop—three years ago this month—it was a very hectic time. The entire store was marked-down and business was more than brisk (in fact, it was our biggest single month in company history!). We were also simultaneously packing-up unsold merchandise plus 23 years worth of accumulated fixturing, backstock, and those pesky "pending repair projects." During that crazy month, we packed four 16 foot Penske "box trucks" and drove them eight hours west through the mountains of Pennsylvania. Though we attempted a high level of organization, alas, some things were packed-up too quickly and added to the pile of boxes on the truck. One of the unexpected benefits of that tumult is the delayed "un-earthing" of...

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Before Star Wars

110 years before Star Wars, there was Jules Verne, the French science fiction novelist who intrigued the world with his stories of exotic and adventurous travel—in space, under water, and to the center of the Earth. He died in 1905, about the same time this German Jugendstil brass inkwell was crafted. It was made by WMF, the metal manufacturer founded in Gieslingen (in 1853). As with Verne's fanciful stories, WMF was super Avant-Garde in its design vision. The company is still in business today, mostly making streamlined flatware and other housewares for the modern table. Please click on the photo above to learn more about this inkwell.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still...

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Transitional Scots

This Edwardian Scottish inkwell, made around 1910, is a wonderful combination of stoney Scottish tradition and a glimpse of early Modernism. The Scots are very proud of their stonework; Scottish jewelry, decorative objects and desk accessories are often embellished with agate and other semi-precious gems. But the silhouette of this piece is outside the range of typical traditional design. Learn more about it by clicking on the photo above.   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...

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Well Grounded

A heavy brass mortar and pestle, like the one shown here, would have been found in any serious British kitchen—for grinding spices, pulverizing poultices, or preparing medicine ingredients. And this piece, from the Georgian period (c. 1810's) shows it's been well-used. It's also quite heavy. Whether you use it or not, it will give a great deal of series style to your kitchen or office. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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,...

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The Complete Package

This English Arts & Crafts Desk Set (inkwell and letter rack) ticks all the boxes for great Arts & Crafts style: luxurious natural materials, handsome hand-crafted hammering, an aesthetic design "throwback" (in this case, Gothic riveting), and natural decorative motifs (the enameled "deer track" cabochons). It is apparent that a carefully hand-made set like this would have been costly, even on the day it was first purchased. Very few collectors would have spent this kind of money for their desk accessories. But it is very handsome—a true "statement piece" on your desk or credenza. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and...

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Handsomely Hammered

I've always loved hammered metals. Properly crafted, hammered metals are the  ultimate in hand-crafted sophistication and, yet, retain a frisson of age old folk craft. At the end of the day, I love the residual evidence of an individual craftsman's handwork—visible in every peen mark in the metal. These English Arts & Crafts pewter vases, made at the turn of the 20th Century, are both sophisticated and warmly human. The shapes are inspired by 17th Century ceramic "bulb forcers" popular in the heyday of Dutch trade and empire. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store...

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How the Months Have Flown!

It was exactly two months ago—to the day—that I touched-down at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport for a week-long visit to the so-called "Third Rome." It was a wonderful trip! Highlights included perusing the Russian paintings in the Tretyakov Gallery, seeing the premiere of the new "Giselle" at the Bolshoi Theatre, and taking hundreds of photographs of Moscow's sensational architecture. For a glimpse into my memories of this trip, please scroll back to the dates 19 - 27 November in this Journal. This handsome tobacco jar, which I presume is American, bears the Russian Tsar's Royal Crest on its brass lid. The heavy, faceted glass jar is perfect for holding candy on the coffee table, tea bags in the kitchen, or cotton balls...

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It's Never Too Late

At seventeen days old, our New Decade is still young. And our smoldering New Year's resolutions might still have a little life in them, yet. Keep your organizational plans on-track. Maybe this Edwardian English letter rack can help. It was handsomely crafted of quarter-sawn oak, circa 1905, and will sit on your desk or hang on your office wall. It can hold stationery, note cards, payments to be mailed or keep a collection of business cards close-at-hand. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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Howdy, Yinz!

While Western Pennsylvania may sometimes resemble parts of the South, Pittsburgh is certainly a Northeastern urban community. Now having lived three years in "The Burgh"—after 27 years of living in New York City—my opinion is that the Iron City has all the "gritty realness" of any of New York's outer boroughs. In Pittsburgh, I see neighborhoods reminiscent of those in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island or the Bronx. And while Manhattan has yet to be replicated in Pittsburgh, let's not forget that some of Manhattan's greatest monuments were erected through the brawn—and the profits—of Pittsburgh's early industry. The term "Yinz" is the Pittsburgh equivalent of "Y'all"—though it's more regionally concentrated than that favorite Southern term (which has widespread geographic usage). And the cowboy...

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Victorian Modernism

This cast brass Eagle's claw—gnarled, tense, grasping—contrasts mightily with the smooth, clean, almost Modernist steel sphere which is clutched within its grip. It was made in the 1880's or 1890's, intended to sit on a desk, holding letters, notes or mail ready to send out. The claw is pure 19th Century Romantic. The spiraling sphere demonstrates early Machine Age precision. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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A Sharp Clip

What's happened to mass production? Hardly a week goes by that I am not stopped-in-my-tracks, impressed and delighted by some mass produced remnant of the Late 19th or Early 20th Century which has caught my eye. Quite often, the object of my appreciation is a utilitarian object—like a manhole cover, a bannister post, or a heater vent—that was handsomely designed and exceptionally produced. It was exquisitely designed and made-to-last—in bronze, steel or cast iron. This steel paper clip was, indeed, once a quotidian office implement—no doubt mass produced in the thousands (130 years ago). Because it is made of heavy materials, it was intended to last. And, because it was intended to last, it was given a thoughtful design treatment—which...

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Time's Up!

After days—or weeks—of school holiday, it's time for all big and little scholars to return to their classrooms. Time's up! Mark the juncture with classic Italian style with this sand-cast pewter sandglass, made just outside of Florence. Like many things Italian, it scores high in taste and craftsmanship, less so in precision (as the timer will vary anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes). Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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An In-Door Cat

This friendly kitty is not hissing—he's arching his back, ready for a rub. He's also patiently waiting to hold-open your door. He was modeled and made of cast iron in the 1910's - 1920's, probably by Hubley (founded in 1894 in Lancaster, PA). While I find cast iron dog doorstops quite frequently, cats are far less common. In deference to my LEO sunsign (and general affection for cats), I couldn't pass her up! You'll find her for sale in our on-line shop. Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome piece.   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...

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Italian Pewter

Pewter—known as "peltro" in Italian—has a long history of human use. The earliest known piece was recovered from an Egyptian tomb and dates to about 1450 BC. Pewter was later used widely in the Roman Empire, throughout Europe, England and in America. It was commonly used for food service items but also in decorative applications. In the 1700's, commercial-scale production of ceramic alternatives promoted the movement away from pewter dishes and bowls. Pewter is an alloy (that is, blend of metals) consisting mostly of tin, some antimony, and smaller quantities of copper, bismuth and sometimes silver. Old pewter often included lead which gave it a wonderfully dark, bluish tone. Alas, any bowls, plates or utensils made of leaded pewter would eventually poison the user (a...

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A Jade Green Moon

Like a giant, dappled jade green moon, hanging in the sky, this English late Arts & Crafts globular vase will make a statement in your interior space. Made in the Twenties or Thirties by Pilkington Royal Lancastrian, it will anchor your larger collection of ceramics—or stand alone with confidence as a single feature. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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Bearing with the Cold

Brrrr, it's cold outside! And I always find January weather most un-redeeming. A crisp (even cold) December adds to the Christmas joviality. But, come 1 January, I'm ready for the warmth. Alas, we still have months to go... This little teddy bear is well-prepared for the weather! Over his (faux mohair) fur, he wears a little knitted sweater and woolly twill pants. He has poseable limbs and an adorably helpless expression. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   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...

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Getting Sorted

It's the New Year and one of my resolutions is to get my desk organized! If you're like me, this Victorian English implement will make a small dent in that task. It was designed as a toast rack—a very nice version of the ordinary morning utensil. It was intended to hold three slices of toast (each piece cut in half) and placed upon the breakfast table.  As a good American, I don't use a toast rack. First, no one is serving me at table. Second, I've always thought that toast racks were too-efficient at cooling toast—and I prefer to butter mine piping hot, right out of the toaster. But I do love toast racks as a sorting device on my desk!...

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A Clean Start

This time of year is naturally the darkest.  Yet we crave the light—physically, emotionally and, for many of us, spiritually. Both Hanukkah and Christmas employ lights in symbolic, cheerful and satisfying ways. The New Year is also a time for "clean starts."  We "turn the page," we make resolutions, and we (attempt to) pare-down to the simplest essentials.  This pair of candlesticks, just acquired, are classic, handsome, simple and clean. They will also help us to light-up the darkness. They were made sometime in the Thirties through the Fifties. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store...

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Epiphany

An "epiphany" is a life-changing realization—one which has the power to alter the course of one's future. An epiphany usually strikes suddenly and dramatically but it also can evolve over time with thought. These bronze-clad "Thinker" bookends, modeled after Rodin's "Le Penseur" (1902), seem well on their way to an epiphany. Click on the photo above to learn more about them. In Western Christianity, "The Feast of The Epiphany" is celebrated on (or about) the 6th of January. It represents the manifestation of the Christ Child to the Gentiles—usually symbolized by the Three Magi (the Gentiles) recognizing Jesus as God Incarnate and prostrating themselves before him.  The Twelve Days of Christmas end the night before (5 January, sometimes called "Twelfth...

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Clean & White - part IV

Perhaps you've given-up smoking for the New Year.  If so, good for you!  If you haven't (or can't or won't), perhaps you can continue your habit in higher style with this English Art Deco ceramic ashtray by Wedgwood. It was designed by Art Deco architect and designer Keith Murray in the 1930's. Keith Day Pierce Murray was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1892. His family moved to England while he was a boy and he served in the British Royal Air Force during World War I. After the war, he studied architecture but, finding it difficult to land a job, he took work as a commercial illustrator. In 1932, Murray was hired by Wedgwood (Staffordshire, England) to design products...

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Clean & White - part III

What looks like ivory is actually sculpted and polished cow bone—fitted upon a stainless steel pocketknife by Laguiole. Laguiole is the traditional French village where the best Gallic knives are made. They were originally used by shepherds; the classic "Laguiole fly" at the hinge references the dirty and smelly world of stock-keeping. Inset pins form a stylized cross on the side of the knife. Shepherds who could not make it into town for Sunday Mass would stick their knives into the earth, thus creating a makeshift altar. This elegant and sophisticated knife is perfect for the gentleman farmer or urban man-about-the-house. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now...

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Clean & White - part II

Ol' Jack Frost could not have conjured a more wint'ry wonder than this artglass sculpture made in Sweden in the Seventies. A swirl of bubbles and a snowy white flurry twists skyward in this piece, made by Färe-Marcolin in idyllic Ronneby (in Southern Sweden, not far from the Baltic Sea). It would look good in either a traditional, period or Modernist interior—and it will always remind you those crisp, clean and cold days of early January. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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Clean & White - part I

When blankets of snow greet the New Year, we cannot help but feel the excitement of a fresh, new start. But not every New Year brings drifts of fluffy precipitation. Therefore, over the next few days, we'll share some of our favorite "crisp and clean" items—all with simple silhouettes, all in some shade of white. A vase does not get more classic than the one shown above. Made by Roseville (in Ohio) in the 1930's, they have taken the classic, ancient two-handled urn form and given it an updated Art Deco crispness. A deep, satin white glaze makes for a stately and handsome addition to your interior decor. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though...

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A New Year and a Time For Resolve

New Year's Day is often replete with resolutions—sincere resolve to work hard and make oneself better in the months to come.  2020 provides Americans the opportunity to make our country a better place, thereby making the World a better place, too.  Click on the photo above to learn more about this cap, designed here at LEO Design.  Most of all, we wish you a happy, productive and satisfying year ahead!   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...

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New Year's Clarity

New Year's Eve will sometimes conjure wistful memories: happy pasts, loves lost or the recognition of passing time. One's resulting mood might be happy or sad—or both at the same time. And it sometimes effects a clarity which allows self-reflection and the resolve to initiate change. Personally, I like the New Year because it inaugurates a fresh start. And who cannot use a fresh start every now and then? Start the year with a different type of clarity: the clarity of these crystal cocktail glasses from the 1950's. A sculpted stem resides between platinum-banded top and footer rims. The platinum gives the design a crisp punctuation, yes.  But that's not all. The metal also protects the crystal rims from excessive...

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Hanukkah: Night Eight

Tonight's the last night of Hanukkah—so let's end with an extra-special piece. This compressed spherical vase is dressed in a rich, dappled cobalt blue glaze. It's a regal piece of English Arts & Crafts pottery, made by Pilkington Royal Lancastrian. It would look great alongside a larger collection of pottery or it would stand well on its own. Click upon the photo above to learn more about it.   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)....

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Hanukkah: Night Seven

Two shades of blue enameling give graphic punch to this pair of English Art Deco cufflinks from the 1930's. Learn more about them by clicking on the photo above. And please see many more blue cufflinks in our on-line store.   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

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Hanukkah: Night Six

Air bubbles are forever-suspended in this English blue glass bowl by Whitefriars, London. It would be handsome and useful for paperclips on a desk, keys by the door or even sea salt on a buffet table. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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

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Hanukkah: Night Five

Reminiscent of Native American jewelry, this brooch and earrings suite is actually English from the Forties. Polished blue marble cabochons are fixed into late Art Deco settings. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   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

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Boxing Day

Boxing Day—the day following Christmas—is a holiday celebrated mostly in England and the Commonwealth countries. Traditionally, it was the day when servants were given their gifts (or boxes) from their employers—in addition to a day off (since they were, of course, required to work serving their masters on Christmas Day). Although the days of Downton-style servants are (mostly) a relic of the past, the holiday lives on as a "bank holiday." The Ukrainian "treen" wooden dresser box, shown above, was handsomely and finely-carved in the Carpathian Mountains. It is inset with glass beads and dated 1937. It would make a handsome bedside accessory for storing collar stays, cufflinks or other small precious objects. It truly adds great style and elegance...

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, one and all! Thank you to the many customers who have patronized LEO Design this Holiday Season—including those who have just discovered us and those who have been supporting us for years. Shown here, a painting of "The Virgin and The Child" painted by the Medieval Venetian master, Paolo Veneziano (who lived approximately 1324-1358). During his life, he was the premier painter of the Venetian Republic and, with his sons, painted the "Weekday Altarpiece" in Venice's Basilica of San Marco. He is considered the founder of the Venetian School of Painting and, though he is influenced by the earlier Byzantine style, he points the way toward the Gothic style, yet to be fully developed. This painting hangs in...

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Another Christmas Eve

In 1494, nineteen year old Florentine sculptor Michelangelo Buonarotti contributed the male angel (and candlebearer) to the tomb of Saint Dominic in Bologna, Italy. The female partner had been carved by the late Niccolo dell'Arca, who had intended to complete the pair. Michelangelo was hired to finish the male half of the couple. By now, the tomb—inside the Basilica of San Domenico—was already in its 230th year of construction. Many artists contributed to the work which took 500 years to complete. The angels above are a late Twentieth Century recreation based on the Michelangelo (and Niccolo dell'Arca) originals. In 1995, during my first Holiday season at LEO Design, I purchased this pair of Italian painted terra-cotta angels. I received them the week before...

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The First Day of Hanukkah

Today is the first full day of Hanukkah, a celebration of merriment, good food and gift-giving. Over the next week, as the holiday unfolds, we will periodically share some nice gift ideas—in the traditional Hanukkah color of blue. The colors blue and white (sometimes replaced by silver) are associated with Hanukkah. These are also the colors of the Israeli flag (designed in 1891) and the traditional prayer shawl (called a Tallitot). Blue and white provide a nice, clean contrast to the traditional Christmas colors of red and green. This vase really celebrates the color blue—or, more specifically, multiple shades of blue. The handsome vase form is dressed in a highly-textured glaze, reminiscent of the craters of the moon. A real...

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Bright Hanukkah Wishes!

In the darkest time of the year we celebrate the Jewish "Festival of Lights." The Talmud tells of a miracle whereby a single jar of oil—which should have lasted one night—continued to burn for eight days. Thus, the holiday lasts eight nights. Our bronze Modernist Hanukkah Menorah has eight candles (one for each night) plus the shammash ("helper" or "attendant"), which is used to light the other candles and which is placed just a little higher than the other candles. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. And a Happy Hanukkah to all!   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we...

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Reddy for Christmas - part III

We end our trio of handsome red Christmas vases with this beauty by Carstens, West Germany. The form is classic—a basic oil jar—but the dripping red glaze (over black) gives the piece a lot of movement and (somewhat eerie) style. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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

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Reddy for Christmas - part II

Both color and form hit a home run on this West German Modernist vase by Otto Gerharz for Ruscha. A sophisticated "Double Gourd" vase—a classic, Ancient Chinese design form—is dressed in a crusty, matte red glazing. Two small handles give the piece a functional, flask-like attitude. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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Reddy for Christmas - part I

Christmas is right around the corner! It's my favorite time of the year for bold red accessories. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing some of my favorite pieces of red ceramic art pottery. The West German Modernist piece above was made by Hoy Hey.  It's a heavy jug, fashioned in a dark grey clay, and dressed in a thick, cherry red glaze. It makes a perfect Christmas accent, seated upon your mantelpiece, windowsill or bookshelf. Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome piece of art pottery.   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). ...

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A Kinder Cut

The earliest modern plastics were commercially developed in the late Nineteenth Century. Celluloid—originally called "Parkesine" in the 1850's—was invented in England and played an important role in the growing world of photography and (later) motion pictures. Until the 1950's, celluloid was the base material of most film stock. But inventors admired its light weight and stiff nature and soon began using it as a replacement for ivory and tortoiseshell. Celluloid could be colored and finished to resemble both materials. Decorative household objects were soon made and the "faux ivory" version was used to make component parts for musical instruments (like tuning knobs, finials or picks). The "faux tortoiseshell" celluloid letterknife, shown above, was made in England around 1920. It would...

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It's the Homestretch. Keep On Truckin'!

Back in the old days—that is, well before 1995—public schools used to offer something called "shop class" (okay, Boomer). It was here that awkward teens and pre-teens had a chance to play with dangerous craft equipment like drills, welding torches and bandsaws. And it was here that kids would create (mostly unwanted) gifts for moms and dads—presents like plant stands, napkin holders and trident spears. This little handtruck, made in a shop class in Fifties England, has all the hand-crafted charm one would expect of a green "soldering novice." Copper and brass were joined to form the little wagon—then fitted with four British coins as wheels (dated 1904, 1919 and two from the 1950's). It makes a charming and stylish...

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Brassy Bells?

Silver Bells cannot hold a candle to this: a substantial (and authoritative) bronze teacher's school bell. Made in the Aesthetic Movement style in Victorian England (c. 1880's - 1890's), it has nicely-ribbed features, including a turned ebonywood finial knob. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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

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Something for the Stocking - part X

How does one know that this little bronze lion is brave? He has the word "courage" impressed into his full little belly. Give your favorite LEO (perhaps yourself) a little extra encouragement. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   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

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Something for the Stocking - part IX

Most bottle openers are kept hidden away—discretely secreted in a jumbled drawer. This cast iron beauty—made in Japan—may find itself being kept out in the open, on the coffee table or bar cart. Inspired by Arts & Crafts metal strapwork (by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright), it provides a handsome alternative to anything hanging on a keychain. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in 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...

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Something for the Stocking - part VIII

This highly-polished pig is made of hand-shaped brass in Japan. He makes a stylish paperweight, a handsome companion, or a satisfying object to jiggle in the hand. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in 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

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Something for the Stocking - part VII

Erik Magnussen (1940-2014) was a Danish Modernist designer who designed contemporary ceramics, furniture, lighting and metalware—like the desktop notepad holder shown above. Some of his designs were even translated into best-selling plastic versions. This piece, designed for Royal Selangor, is made of polished cast pewter. You can learn more about it by clicking on the photo above.  More stocking stuffers in 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...

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Something for the Stocking - part VI

Give your favorite Francophile—or French New Wave Cineaste—one of these bold French corkscrews from the 1950's. Breaking with the iconic "horn" or "turned-wood" handled versions, these playful pulls will make a statement at the next picnic or lawn party. Choose from yellow or green. Please click on one of the photos above to learn more about these fun stocking-stuffers.  More stocking stuffers in 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...

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Something for the Stocking - part V

In the Northern reaches of Northern Europe—where complete winter darkness might last 20 hours a day—every ray of light is precious. This explains the Scandinavian affection for blonde woods, white walls and lots of colorful home furnishings. It also helps explain the allure of this Swedish Pine Christmas Tree glass sculpture by Kosta Boda. Let it bring a little extra light into your home this Holiday. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in 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"...

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Something for the Stocking - part IV

Following closely on the trail of her little cub (yesterday's Journal entry), this Mama Bear ceramic ornament is also handmade in Russia.  It can hang or stand as shown. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in 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

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Something for the Stocking - part III

Having spent a week in Moscow last month, this little Russian handmade ceramic bear is even more precious to me. Meant to hang on a tree, he can also stand on a flat surface, keeping you company in the kitchen, office or living room. Watch for his mother, who is bound to show-up tomorrow. Click on the photo above to learn more about this sculpture. More stocking stuffers in 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...

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Something for the Stocking - part II

From Portugal's oldest soap and fragrance company—founded in 1887—comes this classic Musgo Real ("Royal Moss") aftershave.  We've been selling it at LEO Design for 25 years and it continues to be a favorite. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Fragrance designations (like "Eau de Toilette," "Cologne" or "Aftershave") distinguish the percentage of fragrance within the product (from highest to lowest). Furthermore, "Aftershave" usually has an astringent and moisturizing base which closes the pores, moisturizes the skin (a little) and helps prevent small nicks from becoming infected. Aftershave has the lowest concentration of fragrance, meaning that it won't smell as strongly (or last as long) as Eau de Toilette or Cologne. That being said, the fragrance concentration...

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Something for the Stocking - part I

Over the next several days, we'll be sharing some of our favorite "little gifts"—perfect stuffers for the stocking. We start with this cast pewter ornament. Though you may hang it from the tree, it would look good sitting on a windowsill or could be used as a holiday candle snuffer. This bit of folk craft will help ensure a Merry Merry Christmas. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in 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 &...

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More Pewter Frames In-Stock - part IV

Our last newly-received photo frame is this handsome style, cast in pewter with a handsome lion's claw motif. Made in New York City, it can be used for both vertical and horizontal photos. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. And visit our on-line "frame department" to see more frames for your precious images.   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...

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More Pewter Frames In-Stock - part III

This frame style—a classic, twisted "rope" design—was the first frame I purchased for the shop.  Photo frame design does not get more classic than this. It is made of cast pewter in New York City.  A swiveling hinged back allows the frame to be positioned either horizontally or vertically. Click on the frame above to learn more about the 5" x 7" version, shown here. We also have a few hinged "double" rope frames, like the one shown here. We offer it in 4" x 6" (shown here), 5" x 7" or 8" x 10". Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More pewter frames tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO...

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More Pewter Frames In-Stock - part II

This frame's profile—heavy, strong and bold—imparts a "clubby" look upon any photo it presents. Its heavily ribbed (spring-like) design, draws the eye inwards, toward your precious photo. We currently have the frames in 4" x 6" or 5" x 7" or 1.75" x 2.25" sizes. Click on any photo to learn more about that particular frame. And, if you ever see a photo frame style that you like—but want to know if we can procure it in a different size—please reach out to us on the "Contact Us" link on the website. More frame offerings 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...

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More Pewter Frames In-Stock - part I

Over the next few days, we'll be sharing a handful of newly-stocked pewter photo frames, now available in our on-line shop.  They are made in a small foundry in New York City. Pewter is an alloy of tin (about 95%) with antimony, copper and bismuth added for strength. Additionally, these frames have been manufactured with a small amount of sterling added, to give the metal a little more "pop." This style of frame, which has a "Double Beaded" perimeter, may be the most adaptable of all our frames.  Not only will it sit well in a Traditional, Art Deco or Modernist interior, it also gives every photo a subtle "lift"—a very light punctuation—without calling attention to itself.  It is shown...

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Welcome, December

The icy chill is here—and with it the final month of 2019. Welcome, December, and your birthstone, the turquoise. Turquoise has been mined for over 5,000 years—in Persia, the Sinai Peninsula, Mexico and the American Southwest.  Egyptians buried their dead with carved turquoise talismans carefully inserted within the deceased's body wraps. The Book of Exodus refers to the High Priest's turquoise encrusted breastplate.  And, in the New World, archeologists have found ancient turquoise artifacts of the Zuni, Pueblo, Aztec and Mayans. To this day, Native Americans from the American Southwest use turquoise in their exquisite silver jewelry. Worldwide, turquoise has long been believed to be a holy or lucky stone. The cufflinks shown here are not turquoise, but enameled with turquoise (and white) colored...

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Tailgate Dandy

Boola! Boola! Bring high style to the bleachers—and imagine the looks as you pull-out and take a swig from this handsome English flask! Made in the Twenties, its swirling glass bottle is fitted with silver-plated mounts. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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

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Serving in Style

The Holidays are coming and many of us—wanting to host our loved ones in style—will be pressing into use our nicest serving pieces. This American Arts & Crafts cake plate is hand-hammered and silver-plated. It's perfect for serving a cake, tart or cookies, chocolates, aperitifs or tasty hors d'oeuvres. It's also nice for elevating items at the back of the table, giving a varied landscape to your holiday spread. It was made by Derby in Meriden, Connecticut, and you can learn more about it by clicking on the photo above.   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...

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Thanksgiving Wishes

  Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and blessed abundance in the year to come.   -Kimo & the Team at LEO Design        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

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Nine

"Cathedral Square," within the Kremlin walls, is a cluster of several Russian Orthodox churches from the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries. Though similarly whitewashed and topped with gold-leafed domes, each has a unique history and purpose. The Cathedral of the Assumption (1479) is the traditional site for royal coronations and the burial of church metropolitans and patriarchs. The Cathedral of the Archangel (1508) is the traditional burial place for Russia's princes and tsars, including Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovitch who was killed at 27 by his father, Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible). The royal remains are enclosed in stone sarcophagi which are placed within bronze and glass receptacles—right on the main floor of the church. The Cathedral of the Annunciation (1489) includes a "porch...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Eight

Amongst the most elegant of Moscow buildings is the Great Kremlin Palace,  built within the Kremlin's walls and completed in 1849. It was commissioned by Tsar Nicholas I in 1837 as the new Moscow residence for the royal family (when visiting from the capital, Saint Petersburg). His instructions to architect Konstantin Thon was "to emphasize the greatness of Russian autocracy."  The handsome marigold and white building conjoins and expands-upon the earlier royal residences—the Terem Palace (1637) and the Faceted Palace (1491)—and is attached to some of the nine cathedrals in the Kremlin. It has five sumptuously-appointed ball rooms, two of which were conjoined to form a large council chamber for the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In recent years, the two...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Seven

I am a sucker for Late Nineteenth Century "Gothic Revival" terra-cotta buildings like Saint Pancras Station in London or the Potter Building in downtown Manhattan. Their aesthetics please me, yes; but, what really excites me, is the idea of using mass production methods to crank-out tasteful, well-designed and beautifully made component parts which could be assembled to create a handsome whole. As long as one starts with a beautifully-crafted prototype (and insists upon quality manufacturing), mass production can be a wonderful way of bringing good taste to the public in an affordable manner. So it's not surprising that I spent more than a few minutes inspecting, photographing and appreciating this building in Revolution Square, which now houses the "Museum of the Patriotic...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Six

Russia's love of classical music is well known, both the music they made and the music they played. Chopin was very popular—revered even—in Russia after the 1830's. Tchaikovsky, for one, was quite familiar with the Polish composer and Chopin may have influenced the Russian's work yet to come. It is no surprise, then, that the Polish maestro would be commemorated at the Muzeon Park of Arts, an attractive sculpture garden sited along the Moskva River's Southbank. Chopin, on the other hand, had a more complicated feeling about the Russians (or "Moskali" as they were known in Poland). The Invasion of Warsaw (sometimes called "The Uprising") ended the Polish-Russian War of 1830 - 1831. During the two day siege, Poland collapsed and evacuated...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Five

My travels in Moscow have been confined to the central area—including long walking distances from The Hotel Metropol and Bolshoi Theatre area. Today I took an extended walk to Gorky Park which I couldn't resist visiting, so famous was the novel and film of that name in my teen years. There wasn't much to the park—at least in the winter, when many of the flower beds and decorative trees had already been wrapped-up in plastic sheeting. But I did see many interesting sights (modest and grand) along the way. And I purposely took different routes in both directions. Moscow, or the limited part that I saw, was a blend of handsome buildings from the 16th Century through the present. Nineteenth...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Four

Reigning over the Moskva River, at the Northern foot of the Patriarshiy Bridge (and not far from the Kremlin), stands the regal white marble Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It looks like it's stood here for a century—but has it? Actually, no.  The Cathedral was commissioned in 1812 by Tsar Alexander I to commemorate Napoleon's empty-handed retreat from Moscow.  It was to be an expression of "our gratitude to Divine Providence for protecting Russia" and a memorial to those who died in the war. After a change of site, change of architect, change of design and a change of tsar (to Nicholas I), construction finally began in 1839.  Interestingly, in 1882, Tchaikovsky premiered his brand new 1812 Overture at the...

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