Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our Latest Catalog-

Now that Thanksgiving is over the Book Elves are in full Christmas Mode, stringing lights, unpacking ornaments and hiding my 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' cd. In fact, after they got done stringing about 300 strands of lights the little disk on our electric meter spun so fast it tore out of its bracket, went flying off through the air and decapitated the garden gnome. But before they bought 900 life-size plastic Santas on Ebay and used them to recreate the Battle of Waterloo on the croquet court, they finished our latest catalog-

"RECENT ACQUISITIONS -Old & New Books on ANTIQUES & THE ARTS & Related Subjects for DECEMBER, 2006" is now available on our website. It features 220 titles on furniture, glass, ceramics, silver, interiors, metals, fashion, trades, color, and life in other times. We also have printed copies- please send us your mailing address if you would like one.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Emily Dickinson. Vivacious redhead.

There's an interesting pair of articles in this morning's Springfield Republican newspaper about local poet Emily Dickinson, the 'Belle of Amherst'. The main article addresses her legendary reclusiveness, which some scholars are now casting doubt on. The second article reveals that Emily, known to us only through that famous black & white photograph taken when she was 17, was actually a redhead!

No, this is not the pronouncement of some 21st century revisionist-historian scanning her work for hidden clues and reading tea leaves- Amherst College actually has a lock of her hair which she sent to a friend.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Truly Great Silver Book-

This week we are releasing our new "Books on American Silver and Silversmiths" catalog, and have we got a bargain for you!

"COLONIAL MASSACHUSETTS SILVERSMITHS AND JEWELERS. A biographical dictionary based on the notes of Francis Hill Bigelow & John Marshall Phillips"

By Patricia Kane. Published by Yale University Art Gallery in 1998.

A book almost a hundred years in the making, and quite simply the most important book on American silversmiths since Belden’s study of the Ineson-Bissell Collection at Winterthur. Pioneering collector and scholar Francis Hill Bigelow died before his notes, for a proposed Magnum Opus on Massachusetts silversmiths, could be completed and made into book form.

John Marshall Phillips, Curator of the Garvan Collection at Yale, took over the project and added to the research, but his untimely early death once again stopped the study in its tracks. Finally, in the 1980s, Patricia Kane and her colleagues, working from the original notes, embarked on a project to complete this ultimate reference, now published here in all its massive glory.

There are biographies of 296 silversmiths and jewelers who worked in Massachusetts before the American Revolution, along with 93 craftsmen in allied trades. Kane’s preface chronicles the ninety-two years of research and scholarship that went into the book, and her essay focuses on the creative ferment in Boston. Barbara McLean Ward’s essay describes the tools of the trade. Gerald W. R. Ward discusses the differences between metropolitan and rural silversmiths.

The ‘New York Silver Society Newsletter’ called this a “masterful accomplishment … and a source book that will well serve the next generations of gold, silver, and jewelry historians.” Our Book Elves at Joslin Hall simply describe the book as “damned heavy”.

Hardcover. 8.5”x11.5”, 1,241 pages; marks, dj. New. [90139]

This book was published at $150.00 and was a bargain at that price, but for a limited time we have a carton or two of Publisher's Overstock copies to sell for only $75.00 each!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Our New Silver Catalog-

Thanksgiving is fast approaching at Foggygates, and the book elves are in a tizzy making preparations. The carriage house is piled high with pumpkins, squash, potatos, and onions, and Fedex just delivered 2 cartons of "Satan's Helper XXX Hot-Death Pepper Sauce" (you know, sometimes I just don't ask what's going on, because it usually works out better if I don't know ahead of time. I believe politicians call that "plausible deniability"). There are 24 semi-wild turkeys out back which the book elves have been raising "free range" style all year, or at least there were until somebody left the pen gate open the other day.

But before they embarked on the Great 2006 Thanksgiving Wild Turkey Roundup (we've got Arlo interested in the song rights) they finished our latest printed catalog-

"BOOKS ON AMERICAN SILVER & SILVERSMITHS" features 190 books and catalogs on, well... American silver & silversmiths. Nothing tricky here, it's all pretty straightforward.

This catalog may be browsed on our website , or if you'd like a free printed copy, please send us your mailing address.

Monday, November 06, 2006

An Interesting Shaker Image-

I came across an interesting woodcut over the weekend featuring an African-American Shaker. This is a woodcut from an 1831 issue of "Atkinson's Casket" and is titled "Shaker's Worshipping"-

It has many nice details, including hats and coats hung on pegs, a presumed “outsider” looking on, and, at the right side, an African-American Shaker. You don't hear too much about Afrian-American Shakers, or at least I never have. Here's a closer detail-

We put the print up for auction on Ebay last night -you can see the auction here, or click our Ebay Auctions link in the right-hand column.

Friday, November 03, 2006

To the Memory of What-??

Funeral cards were very popular in Victorian times- they would be sent to family and friends announcing the death, with the same sorts of particulars you might see on a tombstone; they were not invitations to a funeral, as such, but acted as an anouncement of a death and were saved as a remembrance of the deceased.

But some of them were not all that they seemed at first glance. While preparing our latest "Grave Affair" catalog I ran across a very interesting little piece (not for sale in the catalog) which appears to be a funeral card, but is not...

For a larger picture, where you can see the lettering better, go to this page on our Grave Affair website. You can see our new "Grave Affair" catalog here.