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Gouda Art Pottery

Gouda is a small city in Holland, settled in the marshy lands east of The Hague.  In the past, the area’s moist terrain was perfect for harvesting peat which was used as fuel for cooking, heating, and combustion.  The area’s wetlands were also a rich source of clay.  The ready supply of clay—plus fuel to […]

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Enter, Art Deco

By the mid 1920’s, with the horrors of The War in the past, the world was ready for a new, fashionable “look.” Streamlined, modern, forward-looking, Art Deco was perfectly-suited to industrial mass production. And it was very popular.  Everything from skyscrapers to toasters to automobiles were designed in the new, “machine age” fashion. Whereas Arts & Crafts […]

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Arts & Crafts, at the End

Yesterday we discussed the origins of the Arts & Crafts movement which flourished—in several countries, under different names—during the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.  As pointed out, this period coincided with the rise (in some countries) of a new middle class who now, perhaps for the first time, had disposable income to spend on […]

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Arts & Crafts, in the Beginning

Arts & Crafts—and its various sister movements: Jugendstil, Secessionism, Stile Liberty, and Art Nouveau—came upon the world at a very interesting time.  For some countries (like England and the United States), it was a time of great progress in science, technology and industry. World power was shifting and empires were being built.  There was a […]

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Arts & Crafts or Art Nouveau ?

There are no small number of (tedious?) “aficionados” who would gladly spend the day debating whether an item is Arts & Crafts, Secessionist, Jugendstil or Art Nouveau.  I say—at the risk of heresy!—they are all the same. The “Greater Art Nouveau” movement blossomed at roughly the same time in various, mostly Western countries.  In each […]

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Hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri, or Girl’s Day, is celebrated in Japan every 3rd of March.  Starting in February, collections of elaborately dressed dolls—representing the Emperor, Empress, and their court—are arranged on tiered, red-carpeted platforms.  Special versions of popular foods are consumed, including sushi, sake, and arare crackers.  Also popular is a clear, salty broth made with whole clam shells. […]

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A Musical Superstar is Born

On this day in 1810, musical genius Frédéric Chopin (Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin) was born in Warsaw, Poland.  His father was French, his mother Polish. A child prodigy, he had completed his musical education by 20—and, by then, had written some of his famous works.  Soon he left for Paris, never to return to his homeland. […]

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More Matte Green

Amongst the new collection of matte green American Arts & Crafts pottery recently received is this ewer by Hampshire Pottery. Hampshire Pottery was founded by James Taft in Keene, New Hampshire, in 1871.  He introduced the popular Matte Green color (shown above) in 1883.  Hampshire was always a small producer, making quality art pottery for […]

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An Artist is Born

Daumier’s The Third Class Carriage (detail) 1862-64 (MMA) On this day in 1808, French artist Honoré Daumier was born in Marseille.  Daumier’s father, a working class tradesman with dreams of becoming a poet, moved his young son and family to Paris in pursuit of his goal.  Young Honoré soon became interested in art and eventually […]

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The Calaveras Skull

On this day in 1866, miners digging in Calaveras County, California, discovered a portion of a human skull, some 130 feet below the surface and beneath an ancient lava flow.  Josiah Whitney, State Geologist in California (and a professor at Harvard University) studied the remnant, announcing that the skull was real and that it dated […]

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Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia as seen from The Sea of Marmara during my visit to Istanbul On this day in 532, Byzantine Emperor Justinian ordered that a new, grand cathedral was to be built in Constantinople.  The previous church had been attacked and burned to the ground not two weeks before.  Justinian was determined that the […]

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Free Labor! Free Land! Free Men!

Free Labor!  Free Land!  Free Men! So went the mantra of the Republican Party in 1856.  On this day in 1856, the Republican National Party met in Pittsburgh to finalize plans for its first national convention, four months later.  Philadelphia was selected and California senator, John C. Freemont, was nominated as the first Republican presidential […]

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Seeing Red

On this day in 1848, political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels—Germans both—published their political proclamation, The Communist Manifesto.  Lionized and demonized, the book has been used both as a rallying call and as a denouncement. Within its pages, the authors contend that “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.” […]

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A Woman in a Man’s World

I found the sculpture, above, in London last Autumn.  It was in the possession of a friend, a collector of British Sculpture, and he agreed to sell it to me.  This particular collector prefers bronzes and this fellow (above) is sculpted of patinated plaster.  It is signed “D M Venning” and is quite handsome (more […]

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Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day—originally called Washington’s Birthday—used to be celebrated on the first president’s actual birthday, 22 February.  Today, now re-named, it is celebrated on the third Monday in February. LEO Design will be open from noon until 8:00 pm. The bookends above, made in the late 1920’s or 1930’s, were modeled after the Lincoln Memorial sculpture […]

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Abraham Lincoln: The Man

On this day in 1809, a boy was born in a one-room log cabin at Sinking Spring Farm, Hodgenville, Kentucky.  From such a modest beginning arose one of America’s greatest heroes—and, possibly, history’s most-popular president. 78 years later, before a crowd of 10,000 onlookers, Abraham Lincoln’s only grandson (and namesake) helped to unveil a statue […]

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Around the World

On this day in 1828, French author Jules Verne was born in Nantes, France.  The author of Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days, Verne is considered one of the fathers of science fiction writing.  He wrote prolifically of voyages, exploration, and […]

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Alligator vs. Crocodile

What is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? Alligators usually live in freshwater, have heavy, blunt snouts, and live up to 50 years of age. Crocodiles live in salty (or brackish) water, have longer, pointed snouts, and have been known to live 100 years.  Their tanned skins, used in handbags, shoes, or photo […]

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Bakelite is Born

Leo Baekeland was a Belgian-born scientist and inventor living in New York City.  He was attempting to find a synthetic replacement for shellac—which to that point had been derived from beetle shells.  Instead of solving that problem, Baekeland inadvertently invented a synthetic plastic which he called Bakelite—and, on this day in 1909, he announced his […]

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Washington Elected President

On this day in 1789, the Electoral College named George Washington the first president of the United States under its new Constitution.  The actual voting took place from 15 December 1788 to 10 January 1789.  Washington ran unopposed and won all of the Electoral votes, the only president ever to win 100% of the votes. […]

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Saint Blaise’s Day

Saint Blaise was a Third Century Armenian physician and bishop, living in what is present-day Turkey.  He was known as a healer—both physically and spiritually.  One story tells of a desperate mother whose child was choking on a fish bone.  Knowing of his reputation for miracles, she prostrated herself before him and begged that he […]

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A Funeral in White

As England’s longest-reigning monarch (to date), Queen Victoria’s passing was a significant moment in that country’s history and, naturally, required a funeral befitting her legacy. As was her custom, the Queen had spent Christmas 1900 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, just off the southern coast of England.  The residence, created in the […]

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Happy Year of the Horse!

Wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year and Prosperous Year of the Horse! People born in the Year of the Horse tend to be clever, kind, and communicative—perhaps a little too much so, at times.  They enjoy the company of other people, the larger the crowd, the better.  This year may be a bit of […]

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An Assassin Dies

We finish our three day detour through the lives of Tragic Monarchs with the death of a king’s would-be assassin, which happened on this day in 1606. Guy Fawkes was an English Catholic and part of a group who sought to restore the English throne to (in their view) its rightful, Catholic monarch.  They also […]

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Can Spring be Far Off?

The week began with piles of snow and more is forecast for this weekend.  Am I alone or is anyone else asking:  Can Spring be Far Off? The cufflinks, pictured above, give me a little hope with their promise of spring.  Verdant green enameling—not a new spring green, but not a mature, summer green, either—tops the […]

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The Age of Innocence

Born on this day in 1862, Edith Wharton was born into a respectable New York society family.  She was related to the Rensselaers and her father (George Frederic Jones) came from the family after which the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” reputedly was based. Having entrance to New York society, Edith proved a keen […]

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Seventies Chic

Part of a large collection of American art pottery from the 1960’s and 1970’s.  In the days of shag carpeting, macramé, and Harvest Gold appliances, this pottery was the height of Nixon-era chic.  Come into the shop to see the full collection—plus art pottery from the 19th Century, Arts & Crafts, and Art Deco periods.

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Captain Cook “Discovers” Hawaii

On this day in 1778, British explorer Captain James Cook sailed past the Hawaiian island of Oahu with his ships the HMS Resolution and HMS Discovery, making him the first European to lay eyes on Hawaii.  Two days later he landed—this time on the island of Kauai—at Waimea.  Cook made an impressive entrance, with his […]

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A German Invasion

Before World War II, art pottery mass-production was common in the U.S., England, and Western Europe.  As these countries built their middle-classes, pretty consumer goods were needed to satisfy newly-found disposable incomes. When the war began, purchasing these “little luxuries” was put-off for better times down-the-road. After the war (in 1945), Americans (and their Anglo-European […]

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Amber Light

Combining the crispness of cast glass with a mellow, almost-woodsy amber hue, these mid-century candlesticks straddle the line between wooden candle holders and more-typical glass versions.  Unlike any other pair we’ve ever acquired. Come into the shop to see them—and other recent acquisitions—or click on the photo above to learn more about them.

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Limoges

Limoges was settled originally by the Romans just around the time of Christ and first called “Augustoritum.”  Some 250 years later, it was Christianized by the Bishop (later, Saint) Martial, the city’s patron saint, and after whom the local abbey is named. Limoges is known for three types of craft: enameled copper panels (especially for […]

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French Brass

In turn-of-the-century Paris, electricity was rather new and inkwells were still de rigueur. And while drawn-ink is no longer mandatory, this antique French desk accessory will bring a touch of panaché to your Twenty First Century office. Come see it in-store or click on the photo above to learn more about it.

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Viva Italia!

In Italy, La Bella Figura—the art and ideal of making a beautiful impression—is a way of life. And this Italian Modernist vase plays its part well.  Crafted after World War II, during Italy’s modern renaissance, this vase continues to turn heads as it still cuts a beautiful figure. Come into the shop to see it, […]

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The Bard Still Reigns!

Last night I saw the wonderful Broadway production of “Twelfe Night” starring the always-perfect Mark Rylance (who is not just an amazing artist but a one-time recipient of a LEO Design gift!).  As timing would have it, I’ve just acquired the bronze-clad bookends shown above.  Click on the photo to learn more about them.  And […]

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Hold Your . . . Books?

Another recent acquisition is this pair of handsome, Art Deco Horse Head bookends.  Cast of heavy, solid glass, they really provide a stately end-cap to your library collection.  Keep them on desk, bookshelf, or credenza—or, place them atop your mantle piece. Please stop-by the shop to see them in person—along with a lot more newly-acquired […]

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They’ll Never Forget

I’ve also found some interesting bookends on this most-recent trip.  Shown here, a pair of cast spelter elephants, contentedly reading “The Times.” Come into the shop to see them in person—and the rest of our recent acquisitions.

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And Finally . . .

Another set of emerald green glassware, these with a soft, diamond-shaped quilting pressed into the glass.  Absinthe, anyone? See these and much more newly-acquired glassware in the shop.  Or, click on the photo above to learn more about this set of stems.

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And Yet More . . .

Also Modernist, these American Mid-Century cordials are tinted an icy blue.  The little square “ice cube,” suspended within the stem, adds to their forward-looking, post-war sensibility. Come into the shop to see the whole collection of new (after Christmas) acquisitions, which includes a lot of glassware.  Or, click on the photo above to learn more […]

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More New Glassware . . .

Though my heart lies (aesthetically) in the turn-of-the-century, I could not pass-up these Scandinavian Modernist smoked glass wine stems.  They were purchased alongside two other sizes in the same design:  whisky “double shots” and impressively large martini cocktail glasses. Come into the shop to see them (plus other recent acquisitions) or click on the photo […]

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New Year, New Acquisitions

Now back from a post-Christmas buying trip, I’d like to share with you some of the new items I’ve found this week.  Glassware—for cordials, champagne, wine, or whiskey—is the most-heavily represented category of new merchandise.  Fortunately, we sell a lot of glassware. Shown above, a set of eight emerald green sherry stems.  Please click on […]

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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve ?

Maybe it’s just too early in the game.  Ah, but I thought I’d ask you, just the same.  What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve? Frank Loesser’s song, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” is probably my favorite end-of-the-year song—elegant, simple, to-the-point.  Perfect. Likewise, these crystal Champagne Coupes, shown above, are perfectly […]

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The Bronze-Clad Bard

A pair of bronze-clad Shakespeare bookends are amongst my recent acquisitions this week. Made in New York in the 1920’s, they are a handsome representation of England’s most famous wordsmith. Please come into the shop to see them.  They should be ready-for-sale by New Year’s Eve. Of course, many other newly-purchased treasures will be available, […]

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Smokey Modern

A quick snap of more glassware, a part of my newest acquisitions while traveling.  This photo shows a portion of three sets of Smoked-Glass Modernist glasses: liquor, wine, and champagne “stems.” See these—and other newly-acquired pieces—in-shop starting New Year’s Eve.  Selected items will be added to the on-line shop as quickly as possible.

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Elephants Can Read!

These two elephant chaps, sit reading The Times.  Are they horrified or amused by what they read? They are part of my latest acquisitions, found while traveling in “The Near Mid-West.” Come into the shop to see them—they should be ready for sale New Year’s Eve—or find them in the on-line shop in a week […]

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Green Spirits

I’m out on-the-road, seeking to replenish the shop after a busy Holiday season.  In Western Pennsylvania—where I am now—plus nearby West Virginia and Ohio, much of America’s Twentieth Century glassware was crafted.  It seems many Eastern Europeans alighted in this region after their Atlantic crossings—and they brought their glassmaking skills with them from the old […]

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Boxing Day

Today is “Boxing Day,” the day in England (and other Commonwealth Countries) when the staff are given their gifts and given the day off.  It is a public holiday in most of the British former-colonial countries. As LEO Design staff had yesterday off, we are open today: Noon ’till 6:00 pm. As for me, I […]

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Best Christmas Wishes

A Merry Christmas to you and a grateful Thank-you, as well. LEO Design will be closed today.  Please visit us tomorrow; we will be open from Noon until 6:00 pm everyday through (and including) New Year’s Day. And—if you cannot help yourself—our on-line shop is always open. Thanks again.

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Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve and the season will be over in a few hours. LEO Design will be closing at 8:00 pm this evening.  Until then, we’re ready and happy to help you in-shop, by-phone, or on-line.  Please visit, call, or view the on-line shop. Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

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A Place for Christmas Treats

In this season of candy canes, sugar plums, and gingerbread men, why not a handsome place to store them?  This English Arts & Crafts biscuit barrel is made of blown, softly-ribbed glass, silver-plated mountings, and a little bone finial. This piece is a part of recent acquisitions from England, now in-store and ready for your […]

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Fleurs Sauvages

Like Impressionist painting of a century ago, this vase is decorated in the spontaneous, textured, and liberated manner of 1890’s France.  This Art Nouveau piece diverges wildly from its (same age) English Arts & Crafts cousin across the channel. This vase, purchased from a London collector, is part of a large shipment of pottery, boxes, […]

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Blue Christmas

Refreshingly aquatic, this vase would bring a bit of the Mediterranean to your Christmas tree.  Made in Italy, it is decidedly Modernist—and yet, thanks to its cuneiform-like hand-impressions, also has an ancient, timeless appeal. See this piece, and many more new acquisitions, in the shop or check-out our on-line store. Click on the picture above […]

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Modern Craft

West German Modernist ceramicist, Rudi Stahl, crafted this glazed stoneware piece—more sculpture than vessel.  Six little “stovepipes,” like a field of mushrooms, reach heavenward and provide a classic, Mid-Century Modern look.  Glazed in variegated  buff and carmel. Come into the shop and see more of our recently-collected pieces—pottery, cufflinks, boxes, and more—or click on the […]

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Think Green

More recent acquisitions include the Emerald Green Enameled Art Deco cufflinks, shown above.  See these and all of our newest arrivals—cufflinks, pottery, desk accessories, picture frames, candlesticks, and more—in-store or click on the photo above to learn more about this pair.

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Reds

On my most recent European buying trip, I bought a very large collection of red West German art pottery—enough to fill a 48″ table! Come into the shop to see the new collection.  One piece makes a wonderful gift.  Several pieces make a bold decorating statement. Besides red pottery, I’ve also bought a lot of […]

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British Scouting

While “on expedition” in the UK, I came across these British Boy Scouts cufflinks, enameled in yellow, green, and black.  They are part of a large collection of new cufflinks now in-store. Come into the shop to see them (and my latest shipment of new goods), or check-out the on-line shop.  I am adding new […]

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Anchors Aweigh!

Another pair of cufflinks, just purchased in England.  From the British Royal Navy, these cufflinks would look equally good with dress whites or jeans and an oxford. See these—and a lot more newly-acquired merchandise—in the shop or click on the photo above to learn more about this particular pair.

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The Parade Continues . . .

Let’s continue our parade of new merchandise, lately-acquired in England and here in the States.  Shown above, a pair of sterling silver, American Art Deco, white-enameled cufflinks. They provide crisp punctuation to a sleeve of any color. Click on the photo above to learn more about them, or pop-into the shop to see them in […]

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Cobalt Blue

Amongst the cache of ceramics—purchased on my most recent buying trip—is this collection of cobalt blue West German pottery.  Made by Hoy, Scheurich, and others, they make a lovely arrangement of bold, stately color. See these and a lot more pottery in-shop now, or in the on-line store in days to come.

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And Even More . . .

And another pair of newly-acquired cufflinks—English Art Deco circa 1930.  This example is just one pair of a large collection (numbering several dozen) that I assembled on my most recent buying trip.  In the days to come, I’ll show you more of our newest cufflinks and other items, all now on-view in the shop.  Some […]

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More Just In . . .

More cufflinks from a recent buying trip.  These are 10 karat gold, in the form of a stylized cross, edged with navy enameling, and finished with radiant machine-turning.  See the full collection of new arrivals in-shop or a selection of them in the on-line store.  More cufflinks—and many other recent acquisitions—to come in the following […]

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This Just In . . .

Now back from England, I’m hurriedly processing a mountain of in-bound merchandise—cleaning, pricing, arranging, photographing, and posting to the LEO Design on-line shop. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share with you some of our new arrivals, as they’re ready for sale.  As quickly as possible, I’ll also post them to the on-line shop. […]

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London Calling – part VI

I wrap-up my London buying trip with this handsome Victorian English oval ceramic platter.  Made in the 1880’s -1890’s, it is decorated with an Orientalist Aesthetic Movement transfer design.  It captures perfectly the British fascination with all things Japanese—in the days of Arthur Liberty  and The Mikado. Lovely to use, worthy of display, this platter […]

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London Calling – part V

By ceramicist Rudi Stahl, a piece of West German Modernist ceramics.  More sculptural than functional, it would look good in any setting—Modern or  Woody.  Like a field of mushrooms, six little chimneys emerge from the heavy, stoneware base. See this piece and other new items in-shop from 13 December.  This piece should be posted to […]

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London Calling – part IV

I’ve just purchased this set of six French Art Deco wine glasses.  Blown with a horizontally-ribbed bottom half, lightly banded with gold, and decorated with hand-painted enamel flowers on the top half.  They are a cheerful and casual way to enjoy wine—or your beverage of choice. Vist the shop to see them and the rest […]

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London Calling – part III

From Holland, circa 1920, this little Gouda bowl.  Perfect as a wine coaster or bedside “pin tray,” it is decorated with hand-painted flowers and a scrolling wave border.  A lovely combination of color and design. Come into the shop to see this, and other recent acquisitions, after 13 December. More new items tomorrow and in […]

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London Calling – part II

I buy a lot of brass trays—but never before one quite like this.  I believe it’s from the Near East, probably Byzantine Turkish, and likely from the early Twentieth Century. It is at once Oriental and Gothic Revival Occidental, and most certainly intended for export or tourist purchase.  The border is formed of an incredibly […]

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London Calling – part I

I’m in London at the moment, my last buying trip before Christmas.  Over the next several days, I’ll share some “quick shots” of pieces I’ve acquired. Shown above, a (small) portion of a large collection of Modernist ceramics—mostly West German and Italian.  Many reds, some matte cobalt blue, and a few green pieces round out […]

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It’s Cyber Monday!

For those who know me, I was amongst the last of the Luddites.  I had to be dragged (kicking and screaming) into the on-line world. Two things precipitated my capitulation.  First, I moved my shop—two blocks and a world away—and wanted my established customers to be able to find me. Web Genius Brad Soucy and […]

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Black Friday: Situation Normal

Today is “Black Friday” and we’d like to report: .        LEO Design is not opening early. .        LEO Design will not manufacture any “Door Buster” stampede. .        LEO Design will be here—as always—to serve its customers (old and new). As a concession to the season, perhaps […]

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Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for the good things in my life.  My customers, my employees, and my shop certainly are amongst these blessings. Happy Thanksgiving! LEO Design is closed today as we complete our Holiday decorating.  We will reopen tomorrow at noon. Here’s wishing you a Happy Holiday Season.

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Dressing the Table – part one

With the Holidays comes entertaining, and with entertaining comes table-setting.  A classic and handsome pair of candlesticks will punctuate your well-laid table beautifully. Candlesticks also make a wonderful gift for the special host or hostess. Come-in and see our collection of candlesticks—brass, wood, pewter, and bronze—or click on the photo, above, to learn more about […]

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A Flock of Owls

A flock of little, red Holiday owls has landed at LEO Design, here to remind us:  “Only one month ’till Christmas Eve!” Another reminder, this time from our ornithologist friends:  a group of owls is called “a parliament.” Click on the photo, above, to learn more about these Peruvian, hand-made ornaments.

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Koa Wood from Kauai

In the Hawaiian Islands, one finds an exotic and precious hardwood called Koa.  In the time of the Ali’i (the Chief), Koa was plentiful—large trunks were hollowed-out for canoes, others were planed into surfboards, and smaller pieces were hand-fashioned into bowls, ukuleles, furniture, even flooring.  Today the wood is protected; one must have a permit […]

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Danish Art Nouveau

Though it’s not English, I bought the piece, shown above, from a British collector (a long-time source for goodies in my shop).  It is made by Ipsen, the Danish ceramics workshop, and is dated 1911.  It has the gentle, feminine curves of the Art Nouveau, but is energized with a dripping metallic over-glaze of silver […]

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Elegant Biscuits

Cookie jars commonly were found in American kitchens and old ones can be quite collectable.  In Britain, “biscuits” is the preferred term and they are served at tea—and with a good deal more elegance than in America. The Biscuit Barrel, shown above, is just-received from my most recent English buying trip.  It dates from the […]

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A Stork Arrives

I just loved this little fellow and am happy to have him in my shop.  He is Edwardian English, of cast brass, and sculpted to convey nice detail and character.  He is amongst the new arrivals, just landed after my recent trip to England. Click on the photo to learn more about him. More […]

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From France, via Sussex

Another new find:  this pair of French Art Deco spelter squirrel bookends.  I found them in the south of England, perched atop their marble plinths, just as you see them here. Click on the photo above to learn more about them. More new items in days to come…

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Back from England

I’m just back from the UK where I spent ten days hunting treasures for the shop. It was exhausting, yet fruitful; nevertheless, I’m glad to be back.  I’m also glad to report that all merchandise has arrived—no worse for wear—and is cleaned-up, priced, and sitting on the shop floor.  Awaiting your visit! The piece above, […]

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Beautifully Sculpted

We’ve just received another beautiful menorah—this one finely-cast in bronze.  The exceptional detail is rendered using the “lost wax method” whereby molten bronze is poured into a mold formed around a detailed wax version of the same menorah.  It is then finished by hand and patinated.  The lost wax method is the traditional means of […]

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Berets from Brighton

While in Brighton, England last week, I met an enterprising, young artist selling her hand-decorated berets on an outdoor stall.  I thought them jolly without being flamboyant—just perfect for a Holiday party or a “Stocking Stuffer” gift .  I bought-up an assortment, some of them shown above.  Come into the store and see the complete […]

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Time and Tide…

“Time and Tide wait for no man.” Whether the phrase is Geoffrey Chaucer’s or not, it happens to be true.  Also true: tonight we must turn our clocks back. The watch, pictured above, is by Ole Mathiesen, Copenhagen.  It is part of the Mathiesen range of timepieces carried at LEO Design.  Please visit the shop […]

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All Saints’ Day

San Francisco de Asis by Francisco de Zurbarán, c. 1660 The Triduum of Hallowmas is a three day observance in the Catholic (and the greater Christian) church:  All Hallows’ Eve (31 October), All Hallows’ Day (1 November), and All Souls’ Day (2 November). All Hallows’ Day (also known as All Saints’ Day) is when the church […]

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All Hallows’ Eve

All Hallows’ Eve—also called “Hallowe’en”—is celebrated each year on the night before “All Hallows’ Day” (or “All Saints’ Day”). The noun “hallow” refers to a “holy or consecrated person,” and “Hallowe’en” is a contraction or “Hallows” and “Eve.” The origin of the holiday is thought to be a Christianized version of an older, Pagan Celtic […]

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Greetings from London – part V

Another favorite of mine is antique boxes—and I hunt for them on my trips.  The oak box above, from a British collector, was made in the late Victorian era—1880’s or 1890’s.  It has a light Gothic Revival feeling, modeled after a trunk, with studded strapwork and decorative brass mountings. See it in the shop, along […]

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Greetings from London – part IV

Amongst the metalwork I’ve found is this sweet little Arts & Crafts copper tray—unsigned but nevertheless nicely-crafted. A Celtic rosette at center is surrounded by a garland of delicately-tooled fruit.  It is completed with a fluted pie crust rim and four ball feet. This tray should be in-shop come mid-November and on-line by Thanksgiving. More […]

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One Month to Go . . .

. . .to Hanukkah, that is. We’ve just received our Holiday shipment of Bronze Cypress Tree Menorahs.  Crafted of solid bronze in Canada, they are a casually beautiful accompaniment to The Festival of Lights.  And so handsome, I think, it can sit out year ’round.  Place it on a high shelf and one won’t […]

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Greetings from London – part III

Another favorite of mine—especially “whilst” in England—is cufflinks.  There are several collectors from whom I purchase them. One pair just-acquired, shown above, are English Art Deco with a black-enameled graphic atop a background of enameled faux tortoiseshell. These cufflinks—and many more pairs—should be in the on-line shop by Thanksgiving. More in days to come.

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Greetings from London – part II

Today I met a French woman, living in London, who travels back and forth—collecting wonderful things.  I especially liked her glassware and bought a sextet of small wine glasses from her (pictured above). Designed and produced in the 1920’s or 1930’s, these conical vessels sit atop amber colored stems.  They are at once Art Deco […]

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Greetings from London - part I

Hello from London.  I’ve spent the last few days here, visiting auctions, estate sales, and (my best source) collectors.  I’ll share with you a preview of some of the items enroute to the shop.  Eventually, they’ll be listed on the website’s selling site—unless they sell first in the shop! I’ve assembled a collection of candlesticks, […]

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United Nations Day

On this day in 1945, the United Nations Charter was established and this anniversary date declared “United Nations Day.”  It’s a day devoted to making known—worldwide—the aims and achievements of this great body and appreciating the importance of its mission. In 1971, the U.N. further resolved that United Nations Day be an international holiday and […]

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Heading Out . . .

Today I’m off on a European buying trip:  first stop, London.  I never know what I may find but I’ll post periodic updates from the road (or is it “the air”).  Keep checking-back.

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New Merchandise Arrives

I seem to have tapped a nautical vein on my most recent buying trip—to the Midwest, of all places! Here’s a pair of highly-sculptural, cast iron bookends, the ship’s prow plunging into the roiling sea before it.  One can almost feel the motion. Click on the photo to learn more about them.

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Just Back. . .

I’ve just returned from a productive buying trip to Western Pennsylvania and “The Near Mid-West.”  Included in my cache is a collection of 1950’s “Fostoria” stems—champagne, wine, sparkling wine, and water glasses—blown with a tinge of blue.  Additionally, I’ve bought several new sets of champagne coupes, tumblers and a few wine glasses. I often find […]

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Sculpture or Vessel?

Normally, it’s a straight-forward matter to decide whether an object is a vase or a piece of sculpture.  Occasionally, however, it’s not quite so simple.  Take the West German piece above, made in the 1960’s by ceramicist Rudi Stahl.  One could put a flower stem (or two) into each little spout.  Would that do the […]

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The Biscuit Barrel

To live graciously in the time of Downtown Abbey, one would best understand the rubrics of society—and follow them closely.  One rule:  biscuits are served with tea, not cookies. Another rule:  biscuits are presented in a barrel, not the plastic wrapping. Above, a biscuit barrel—England’s version of the classic American cookie jar. Imagine the […]

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Art Finds a Way

While borders may change and territories expand and contract, art continue to press on. Art—a fundamental expression of human creativity—is challenged by conflict, sometimes changed by conflict, but rarely killed by conflict. The piece of art pottery, pictured above, was birthed in a time and region of tremendous conflict—and has survived beautifully. Having been made […]

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