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Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Christopher Newall

(b Liverpool, Aug 15, 1845; d Horsham, W. Sussex, March 14, 1915).

English painter, illustrator, designer, writer and teacher. He showed artistic inclinations as a boy and was encouraged to draw by his father, the portrait painter and miniaturist Thomas Crane (1808–59). A series of illustrations to Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott (Cambridge, MA, Harvard U., Houghton Lib.) was shown first to Ruskin, who praised the use of colour, and then to the engraver William James Linton, to whom Crane was apprenticed in 1859. From 1859 to 1862 Crane learnt a technique of exact and economical draughtsmanship on woodblocks. His early illustrative works included vignette wood-engravings for John R. Capel Wise’s The New Forest: Its History and its Scenery (1862).

During the mid-1860s Crane evolved his own style of children’s book illustration. These so-called ‘toy books’, printed in colour by Edmund Evans, included The History of Jenny Wren and The Fairy Ship. Crane introduced new levels of artistic sophistication to the art of illustration: after ...

Article

Rosamond Allwood

(fl c. 1790–c. 1839).

English furniture designer. In the mid-1830s he described himself as ‘an upholsterer of fourty five years experience’. He produced a series of pattern books containing designs for furniture and upholstery that was widely used by commercial cabinetmakers. The Modern Style of Cabinet Work Exemplified (1829) was reprinted in an improved version in 1835 and was still in demand in the trade as late as 1862, when it was reissued unaltered. King claimed that ‘as far as possible the English style is carefully blended with Parisian taste’ in the 227 designs, but he also included Grecian and Gothic furniture. King’s interpretation of the prevailing French taste is a typically confused mixture of bold Baroque scrolls and lighter Rococo curves. His Designs for Carving and Gilding (1830) contains both Greek and Rococo Revival designs, as does Modern Designs for Household Furniture (n.d.). In 1833 King published a book of full-size designs for makers of cabinets, chairs and sofas, turners and carvers entitled ...

Article

Peter Stansky

(b Walthamstow [now in London], March 24, 1834; d London, Oct 3, 1896).

English designer, writer and activist. His importance as both a designer and propagandist for the arts cannot easily be overestimated, and his influence has continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. He was a committed Socialist whose aim was that, as in the Middle Ages, art should be for the people and by the people, a view expressed in several of his writings. After abandoning his training as an architect, he studied painting among members of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1861 he founded his own firm, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (from 1875 Morris & Co.), which produced stained glass, furniture, wallpaper and fabrics (see §3 below). Morris’s interests constantly led him into new activities such as his last enterprise, the Kelmscott Press (see §5 below). In 1950 his home at Walthamstow became the William Morris Gallery. The William Morris Society was founded in 1956, and it publishes a biannual journal and quarterly newsletter....

Article

E. A. Christensen

(b London, 1806; d London, 1871).

English architect, designer, writer and collector. He received his architectural training under John Soane and practised independently from 1832. He wrote three books that established his expertise on the subject of Elizabethan design, architecture and ornament, and in addition he designed Elizabethan Revival furniture, which was shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.

From 1845 to 1852 Richardson taught ornamental and geometrical drawing as master of the architectural class of the School of Design at Somerset House, London. In 1846, along with H. J. Townsend (1810–90) and Richard Redgrave, he presented the curricular problems of the School to a Special Committee, which resulted in the reorganization of courses. In 1851 he was appointed Surveyor of the South Kensington estate of William Cavendish (1808–91), Marquess of Hartington (later the 7th Duke of Devonshire), and was responsible for supervising construction (1851–3) of the Earl’s mansion in Kensington Palace Gardens, London. His executed designs include works at Belsize Park, Hampstead (...

Article

(b New York, Jan 24, 1862; d Pavillon Colombe, nr Paris, Aug 11, 1937).

American writer . She was born into a wealthy New York family and was educated privately; she travelled widely, settling in France in 1907. Her first book was The Decoration of Houses (1898), written in collaboration with the Boston architect Ogden Codman (who had remodelled her home at Newport, RI, in 1893). Their aim was to raise the standard of decoration in modern houses to that of the past through a return to ‘architectural proportion’ and an avoidance of the ‘superficial application of ornament’. Each room should be furnished for comfort and according to its use and should be organically related to the rest of the house and the quality of life to be expressed. The work was successful and influential among both the public and such decorators as Elsie De Wolfe and William Odom. Wharton’s house in Lenox, MA, the Mount, built to her design from 1901...

Article

Rosamond Allwood

( fl London, 1825–50).

English designer . His influential pattern books reflect styles from the late Regency period to the early Victorian. His designs were executed for a number of important clients, including Queen Victoria (at Osborne House, Isle of Wight), Brownlow Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Exeter, William Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire, and Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland. Whitaker’s Designs of Cabinet and Upholstery Furniture in the Most Modern Style (London, 1825) contains 50 plates of designs for furniture and curtains. The designs are chiefly in the then current late Grecian manner, with a tendency towards rich ornament. In 1826 he published Practical Carpentry, which cites Thomas Hope as the major furniture reformer of the day, and includes a few Grecian designs. Five Etchings from the Antique (London, 1827) is a book of Classical vase designs. Whitaker’s most important work is the House Furnishing, Decorating and Embellishing Assistant (London, 1847...