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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
. . .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 […]
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.
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
When Americans think of the Repp Stripe, they think of the classic Ivy League necktie with colorful, diagonal banding. But the history of the Repp Stripe goes far beyond neckties. In the British Isles—where group association is flaunted through heraldry and tartan plaids—Repp Stripes signify one’s membership in a specific group: a military regiment, a […]
The triskelion shown on the enameled cufflinks (above), are the ancient symbol of the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea, halfway between Ireland and England. Settled some 6500 years BC, it has been invaded, conquered, and influenced by many. It retains, nevertheless, a rugged, independent—and perhaps defiant—individuality. Myth abounds on the island. […]
Ancient warriors believed in Moss Agate. It was considered a “strength stone,” enhancing concentration, persistence, endurance, and success—the attributes desired of any good warrior. Today, New Age believers will recommend Moss Agate to let go of anger or bitterness and to help balance emotional energy. As an “abundance stone,” Moss Agate is also thought to […]
The pelican has a long and interesting history in folklore and symbolism. The Ancient Egyptians associated the bird closely with death, the afterlife, and as a mode of transport from one world to the next. In other ancient mythology, it was believed that, during times of famine, a mother pelican would strike her breast—thus drawing […]
On this day in 1609, Captain Henry Hudson began exploring the river that would one day bear his name. At the time, the area was yet-to-be settled by Europeans. The Native Americans, however, had experience interacting and trading with whites in the past. It was Italian Giovanni da Verrazzano who had discovered the mouth of […]
The year was 1918 and World War I was underway. U.S. Army corporal Lee Duncan was sent ahead to the French village of Flirey, recently-cleared of German occupiers, to find a suitable air landing strip. What he found was a bombed and abandoned German kennel, recently used to provide dogs for the German military. Most of the […]
On this day in 1543, nine month old Mary Stuart was crowned Queen of the Scots. She had inherited the throne at the age of six days—being the only legitimate surviving child of her father, James V of Scotland—and began a life of tumult and heartbreak. Most of her childhood was spent in France, where […]
Happy Birthday, Harvard! On this day in 1636, Harvard University was founded by order of the Massachusetts legislature, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is arguably the most prestigious school in America and amongst the most important in the world. Named after its first benefactor, John Harvard (an […]
Legend has it that the King of Siam would present courtiers—specifically annoying or obnoxious ones—with the royal gift of a White Elephant. Despite the gift’s incredible rarity, the animal was such a burden to sustain that the unpleasant courtier would be ruined financially just trying to keep the animal fed and maintained. Today, the term […]
With the crisp fall weather, so comes the popular autumnal wedding season. Whether black tie or less formal, cufflinks provide just the right punctuation in a handsome groom’s ensemble. Many a bride-to-be has purchased from us a nice dress set for her fiancé to wear on their special day. Similarly, many future grooms have purchased […]
Amber is the ancient, fossilized resin of pine trees. 80% of it is found in Northern Europe, along the Baltic Sea—that large body of water surrounding (and beneath) the Scandanavian countries. Scientists believe it was produced some 44 million years ago. Because the resin was originally soft and sticky, amber pieces sometimes display “inclusions” of […]
We welcome September and its birth flower, the Morning Glory. With its cordate (heart-shaped) leaves and climbing vines, the Morning Glory comes in many colors—usually blues and purples but sometimes in reds or oranges (like those which decorate the hand-painted English Arts & Crafts frame, above).
Nijinsky in Les Orientales (1910), costumes by Bakst (Photo: Druet) For all the acclaim and artistry of The Ballets Russes, the centerpiece of the company—on stage and off—was the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Born in Kiev (at that time a part of Russia) to traveling Polish ballet dancers, young Waclaw Nizyinski, was trained in dance from a […]
Leon Bakst: Costume rendering of Nijinsky in “Afternoon of a Faun” (1912) After relocating the company from Russia to Paris, The Ballets Russes continued to grow in fame and ambition. Its captain, Sergei Diaghilev’s genius was in identifying and recruiting exquisite talent (dancers, composers, choreographers, and designers) and pulling from them new, wonderful, and (sometimes) shocking […]
Georges Barbier: Vaslav Nijinsky in “Afternoon of a Faun” (1913) Yesterday, in Washington D.C., I had the great fortune to see a wonderful exhibit at the National Gallery: “Diaghilev & The Ballets Russes, 1909-1929: When Art Danced with Music.” Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872-1929) sampled many fields—law, music, art, publishing, art curation—before he discovered his great […]
Fifty years ago today, a 34 year old Georgia preacher mounted the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, took the microphone, and—before a crowd of more than a quarter million people—fixed his place in American history. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is considered one of the most important—and successful—orations in […]
On this day in 1724, British artist George Stubbs was born in Liverpool to a leather “currier” (finisher) and merchant. He worked with his father until he was 16, at which point he was apprenticed to a local painter and engraver, a position which didn’t last long—Stubbs did not like the repetitive copying which was […]
It was just an ordinary day in Pompeii: 24 August 79 AD. People were going-about their regular business, bustling-along the marble-clad streets and roadways of the ancient Roman city. Then, without warning, Mons Vesuvius—five miles away—exploded, sending molten rock and poisonous gasses straight up, over 20 miles into the sky. When the dust settled, Pompeii […]
In the decorative arts, the French term Guilloché (pronounced: Ghee-o-shay) refers to the technique of engraving very precise, very intricate, repetitive patterns, usually on metal. When produced using a “Turning Machine,” such mechanically produced guilloché work can achieve much finer, much more accurate, and much more closely spaced lines. Often such guilloché work is enameled-over, […]
Today is the last day of the sun sign, LEO. Our Lion Rampant, above—hand-tooled on copper, in Belgium—bears us a regal farewell: “See you in eleven months!” Meanwhile, LEO Design (the shop and the web site) will continue to serve—throughout the zodiac calendar. Click on the photo to learn more.
To wrap-up this little series on “Leos in Art,” let’s return to Venice—the city of St. Mark and his lion. Last month, my partner and I ended our summer holiday with a few days in Venice. Having been there a couple of times previously, we steered-clear of the well-worn “highlights,” choked with summer tourists (including […]
On this day 1882, under a tent in Moscow (next to the construction site of The Cathedral of Christ the Savior), Russian composer-genius Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky premiered his masterpiece The Year 1812—more popularly known as the 1812 Overture. It had been commissioned by Tsar Alexander II to commemorate Russia’s brave defense of the motherland (and […]
Lions are among the most-widely used creatures in heraldry. After all, “The King of the Forest” is associated closely with royalty and—for centuries—we have invested him with the traits we wish to see in our leaders (royal or otherwise): strength, bravery, majesty, beauty, beneficence. Lions often are viewed as strong and gentle—at the same time—something […]
In the “modern” world, the lion has maintained pride of place in art and architecture. St. Mark, the evangelist, is usually depicted as a winged lion. He is the patron saint of Venice (at least since the Venetians smuggled his remains out of Alexandria, Egypt in 828 AD), therefore lions—winged or otherwise—are plentiful in that […]
As the sun moves-on—next week into Virgo—we have a final chance to showcase a few more Leos in art. Lions have been portrayed in some of the oldest artwork known to historians. For years, the oldest were the Cave Paintings of Lascaux, France (15,000 years old) which depict a pair of lions mating. Since then, […]
The attractive carved design element known as the “Barley Twist” enjoyed a revival in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (as shown in the wooden candlesticks, above). But the use of this design element is thousands of years old. They were originally called “Solomonic Columns” and are believed to have been used in the […]
Craftsmen and artisans have been hand-hammering metals for thousands of years, working them into shapes both useful and beautiful. Decorative metalwork reached its zenith of precision during the Renaissance through the Age of Enlightenment (18th century). During this period, delicacy and refinement were en vogue. A piece was considered finer if it had no sign […]
On 10 August 1792, the “Storming of the Tuileries Palace” effectively brought an end to the French monarchy (later restored in 1814). Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were arrested and locked away—later to be killed. This bloody chapter in French history was followed, exactly one year later, with the official opening of the […]
On this day in 1974, nine Canadian peacekeepers were shot down and killed while flying over Syria, the largest number of Canadian peacekeepers killed while doing their important work. Since then, 9 August has been designated “Peacekeepers’ Day” in Canada, usually observed on the closest Sunday to this date. In an earlier time, a WWI […]
Scuola di San Rocco (c.1902-04) by John Singer Sargent In my opinion (for what it matters), “Art” is the accomplished manipulation of a medium. Some artists manipulate paint, others marble; some artists will manipulate words, while others manipulate vocal notes. Great artists—by definition—are great at doing it. On Sunday I witnessed a Master’s Class […]
This is the first item I ever sold, in my first store, on my first day. It’s a Mortens Studio Saint Bernard sculpture. After selling it, I came across another two years later. I had to buy it—paying three times more for the replacement than for which I had sold the first! Since that day, […]
Today is a landmark day. Today we launch our new (sales-capable!) website and journal. Today we’re grateful to be starting our 19th year of business. And today I celebrate my 50th birthday! Furthermore: Today is the first day of my favorite sun sign, Leo. 1995 seems like yesterday. I remember—very well—awaking on my birthday that […]