Category Archives: Decorative Arts

A “Crazy” Quilt and its Revolutionary (War) History

Winterthur does not always acquire objects in pristine condition, untouched by time. For some objects, the years have not been kind. At some point, they have been purposefully altered, accidentally broken, or their histories forgotten. However, in their new state, … Continue reading

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Royal Commemorations: Celebrating Coronations and Jubilees with Objects

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Although Elizabeth ascended the throne on February 6, 1952, upon the death of her father King George VI, the coronation ceremony was delayed to allow for a period … Continue reading

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Chinese Export Porcelain, Swedish Iron, and Beer: A Union of Late 18th-Century Global Connections

An extraordinary pair of Chinese export porcelain mugs recently donated to Winterthur and featured in our Collecting for the Future: Recent Additions to the Winterthur Collection exhibition opening May 6, has a fascinating private as well as global history. Likely … Continue reading

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What’s Proof Got to Do, Got to Do with It?

  They seem to make unusual exhibition bedfellows: a pair of Tiffany Studios’ lampshades and an eclectic assortment of Staffordshire bear jugs, owl jugs, and candlesticks. On the one hand, the “Grape” and “Dragonfly” lampshades, on loan to Treasures on … Continue reading

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Historians as Detectives

One of the best examples of the difficulty involved in dating and verifying a genuine antique is represented by the Chinese export porcelain in the Intent section of the Treasures on Trial exhibition. These objects were not sold in a … Continue reading

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Timing is Everything

Exhibitions often represent a point in time, and although Winterthur’s new exhibition Treasures on Trial: The Art and Science of Detecting Fakes has been a project two-and-a-half years in the making, its arrival in early 2017 could not have been … Continue reading

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A Closer Look: Winterthur’s Dollond Telescope

Taking a closer look has a double-meaning when a telescope is the object of our gaze. This one, with a mahogany wood barrel and brass fittings for glass lenses, is a special treasure in the Winterthur collection. It seems enormous … Continue reading

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Blossoming Prints: The Dutch Flower Still Life Tradition at Winterthur

Winterthur welcomes the first day of spring with printed flowers in bloom! Visitors to Winterthur know that Henry Francis du Pont’s love of flowers and gardens extended to his collecting and decorating practices. In addition to displaying fresh flowers in … Continue reading

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The Julia Child of Needlework

The second blog post in our New Accessions series features the needlework of Erica Wilson (1928-2011) recently donated to Winterthur by her family. Quite modern compared to the majority of Winterthur’s decorative arts collection (most of which were made before … Continue reading

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The Remarkable Life and Career of a Free African-American Cabinetmaker

This mid-19th-century mahogany veneer dressing bureau, one of Winterthur’s newest furniture acquisitions, is a visually striking object with an even more striking history. Although the dresser conforms to popular urban furniture designs of its era (with its distinctive carved bracket … Continue reading

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