Category Archives: Decorative Arts

Silhouette Sleuthing: Solving the Mystery of the Weston Profile Artist (Part 2)

In the first Silhouette Sleuthing blog post, I detailed how I discovered that one of the silhouettes in the Winterthur collection had been misattributed to artist Mary Pillsbury Weston, who was most famous for her Spirit of Kansas painting exhibited … Continue reading

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Silhouette Sleuthing: The Mystery of the Weston Profile Artist

What started as simple research into a silhouette in the Winterthur collection has progressed to a three-month trek through directories, census records, newspaper advertisements, maps, artist encyclopedias, archives, and auction catalogs. The silhouette in question, a group portrait against an … Continue reading

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Looks Good Enough to Eat! Dishes Imitate Foods in Dining by Design Exhibition

As well as studying early cookbooks, prints, and paintings, those of us who love the history of food can learn about past delicacies by studying the shapes of dishes and their ornament. In the Winterthur exhibition Dining by Design: Nature … Continue reading

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Tools, Textiles, and Water Mills

During the summer between the first and second years of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture graduate program, fellows disperse to research their various thesis topics. For me, this meant traveling from Virginia to Vermont, to explore the world … Continue reading

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Truths of the Trade: Collecting, Researching, and Exhibiting an Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World Cabinet

A mere shadow, faintly visible in raking light, is all that remains of the script that once spelled “Philadelphia” on the drawer front of Winterthur’s recently acquired double cabinet. This drawer may be blank, but gold painted letters still adorn … Continue reading

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A Winterthur Interview: Thomas Chippendale at 300

In celebration of the 300th anniversary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth, Winterthur Museum has organized an exhibit featuring its collection of rococo-inspired furniture, Thomas Chippendale’s publications, and related publications and objects influenced by Chippendale’s designs. Cecilia Aquino, Winterthur intern, sat down … Continue reading

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Dining by Design Meets Terrific Tuesdays! Who Says Kids Don’t Like Old Stuff, Too?

What is the most common lament that we curators hear from collectors and those lucky individuals who have inherited family heirlooms? Young people today have absolutely no interest in objects from the past. But is that really true? Perhaps, we … Continue reading

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Joyous Memories and Dining by Design

Among the greatest joys an exhibition curator can experience is seeing the pleasure with which guests respond to their displays. Very high on my list relating to Dining by Design: Nature Displayed on the Dinner Table (open through January 6, … Continue reading

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A Whimsical Walk through Dining by Design: Nature Displayed on the Dinner Table

We need more whimsy in this world. For me, ever the fan of anything bovine, that whimsy struck as I turned to enter the final room of the Dining by Design: Nature Displayed on the Dinner Table exhibition and was … Continue reading

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Celebrating a Milestone: A Lithograph Honoring the Fifteenth Amendment

A lithograph in the Winterthur collection depicts a grand parade on May 19, 1870, in Baltimore, Maryland, celebrating the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave African American men the right to vote. Published by Thomas Kelly and based on … Continue reading

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