Antiquespeak

Antiquespeak

by Kathryn B. Hiesinger, George H. Marcus
     
 

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Continuing the popular and illuminating "Speak" series, this handsomely designed volume offers a user-friendly lexicon of the decorative arts.

Understanding antiques requires knowledge of a specialized vocabulary that tells initiates what something is, where it came from, and when it was made. AntiqueSpeak provides this essential information in

Overview

Continuing the popular and illuminating "Speak" series, this handsomely designed volume offers a user-friendly lexicon of the decorative arts.

Understanding antiques requires knowledge of a specialized vocabulary that tells initiates what something is, where it came from, and when it was made. AntiqueSpeak provides this essential information in concise but illuminating essays that cover almost a millennium of styles (such as Baroque and Art Deco), materials (glass, ivory), types of objects (furniture, toys and games), specialized areas of collecting (folk art, Judaica), and concerns involved with acquiring and caring for antiques (auctions, condition, marks and signatures). In addition, the book includes a handy one-page StyleChart; a section of color plates (one for each major style); an album of ornaments and classical orders, represented by line drawings; labeled drawings of selected furniture types; an introduction that explains how to use the book; and an invaluable index that provides dates and nationalities for all the designers, craftsmen, artists, and others discussed in the entries.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent reference book." — Asbury Park Press

"This terrific paperback, in a manageable 6-by-9-inch size, is jampacked with information that both novices and veteran collectors will appreciate…A time-line-style chart is a handy reference guide." — Houston Chronicle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789201898
Publisher:
Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/28/1997
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from: Antiquespeak

Introduction

A USER’S MANUAL

Understanding antiques requires knowledge of a specialized vocabulary that tells initiates what something is, where it came from, and when it was made. Lacking this language impedes serious discussion. Yet how many people know what is Empire about a sofa or the difference between a knotted or a woven carpet? Or what is Louis XIV or Louis-Philippe, porcelain, or pottery? Even experts in one area can be tripped up by the intricacies of another, and the definition of antique itself is imprecise. That is why this book can be very helpful to amateurs and professionals alike.

The essays in AntiqueSpeak discuss European and American styles (such as baroque and art deco), materials (glass, ivory), types of objects (furniture, toys and games), specialized areas of collecting (export wares, Judaica), and processes related to acquiring and caring for antiques (auctions, condition). Each term is explained in a concise survey of the subject, and the essays are arranged in alphabetical order.

The essays that define styles—the set of constant characteristics that give sufficient coherence to an artistic expression of a group or period to make it recognizable and distinguishable from others—are divided into the journalistic categories of Who, When, Where, and What.

WHO is a list of the principal architects, artists, designers, craftsmen, manufacturers, and theorists. Certain individuals and companies appear in several entries, sometimes working in different countries, during different periods, and in different styles.

WHEN signifies the moment of greatest vitality for a particular style. The entry for rococo revival, for example, gives the dates 1830s through 1870s, but the style continued in certain circles long after that. When the style has the name of a monarch, however, the reign dates for the monarch have been cited to avoid confusion, even though in many cases the characteristics of the style were apparent before the reign began and persisted strongly after it was over.

WHERE identifies the countries or continents in which a style was centered. It does not mean that artists and craftsmen involved in that style did not live or work in other places, nor that the style did not eventually travel to other areas.

WHAT defines the origins, nature, and implications of the style. As can be seen from these entries, the history of European styles (at least those following the Renaissance) was centered in France and England, and many styles take their names from the monarchs of these countries. This is not a case of Franco or Anglophilia. From the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth century in Europe, France set the styles and the rest of the Continent followed, so that it is not at all uncommon to see references to "Spanish Louis XV" or "Russian Empire" objects. Even though many influences came to England from France, British decorative arts had a separate line of development with its own versions and sequence of styles, which were also diffused throughout its colonies. Thus in colonial America the styles followed the same forms and nomenclature as those used in England.

What is the best way to use this volume? That depends on who you are. AntiqueSpeak has been designed for different kinds of users and different situations. Confronted with a particular antique object, a reader might want to look up its period, decoration, and material (for example, rococo, chinoiserie, gold and silver). The student, collector, and inveterate antique hunter will find it useful to read the book from beginning to end, then return to it as needed, guidebook fashion. A StyleChart puts the material in chronological perspective; cross-references and an extensive index (which provides dates for the figures discussed in the book) ensure easy access to additional information. The purpose of all these elements is to offer the reader an unintimidating way to become familiar with the language of antiques.

Meet the Author

Kathryn B. Hiesinger is curator of European decorative arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She is also the co-author of Abbeville's Landmarks of Twentieth-Century Design: An Illustrated Handbook.

George H. Marcus is adjunct assistant professor of the history of art at the University of Pennsylvania. He is co-author of Abbeville's Landmarks of Twentieth-Century Design: An Illustrated Handbook. as well as a number of other books on design. He co-curated the exhibition "What Is Design Today?" at Philadelphia University and wrote the accompanying book. For over thirty years, he served as director of publications at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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