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The word Calligraphy is derived from the Greek words kalos, which means beautiful and graphein meaning to write. Throughout history, man has been in a constant pursuit to express himself and the art, ever evolving: cave paintings, hieroglyphics carved or drawn on papyrus, pictograms, animal drawings, through to the first alphabet believed to be developed by the Phoenicians, we’ve always been expressing ourselves by hand. By 850 BC the Romans used the Phoenicians style of writing, adapted it to suit Latin, heralding the spread of this language via the churches of Europe. The Arts, the Renaissance & Calligraphy During this period, the art of calligraphy flourished and the Italians invented italic script, very popular throughout Europe but with the advent of the copperplate, this art form was endangered until the 19th century; the steel pen, and fountain pen replaced the flat-edged pen, made calligraphy harder to achieve. William Morris Saved…

“Want to come up and see my etchings?” The opportunity to throw out a line like this may be one motive to collect prints, but there are much better reasons. Collecting prints is the auction equivalent of “having your cake and eating it too.” “Print” is a broad term that, in the context of fine art, refers to a work for which the artist creates the printing matrix, such as an etched plate, a lithographic stone, or a carved woodblock, and uses this to create multiple impressions of an image. The artist may or may not be the actual printer, but generally approves of the quality and methodology of printing, and often signs his or her prints by hand. What are Prints? Prints tend to be smaller in scale than paintings – unless you’re looking at Modern and Contemporary works – and generally invite the close, intimate scrutiny that a…

Sotheby’s is the fourth largest auction house in operation that leads the world in selling treasures of extreme value and excellence. Items such as historical books, decorative arts, and jewellery are sold every year for millions of dollars to the highest bidders.  Brief History Founded in London in 1744 by London bookseller Samuel Baker when Baker successfully auctioned “several Hundred scarce and valuable books” from the library of the Rt Hon Sir John Stanley. Sotheby’s was the first international auction house to expand into New York in 1955. Its legacy began with the sale of many scarce and valuable books. As the global market began advancing, the Sotheby’s brand began revolutionizing; evolving into the auctioning of not only books, but decorative arts and beautifully reclaimed jewellery as well. Notable Sales 1980: Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Juliet and Her Nurse sells for 7.04million 1996: Property from estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis…

“I think of my work as ephemeral architecture, dedicated to the beauty of the female body.” —Christian Dior The pinnacle of French haute couture and savoir faire, the house of Dior is one of the world’s most celebrated luxury brands. In three retrospective volumes presented in a collectible slipcase, Assouline’s Dior captures the most enduring images from each decade of the brand’s rich history. Immortalizing Dior’s fashion, fine jewelry, and fragrance collections, Assouline presents an objet as chic as its subject. In three retrospective volumes presented in a collectible slipcase, Dior captures the most enduring images from each decade of the brand’s rich history. Immortalizing Dior’s fashion, jewelry, and fragrance collections, this addition to Assouline’s Mémoire series presents an objet as chic as its subject. Dior Fashion: Former editor in chief of L’Officiel de la Mode, Caroline Bongrand is also a novelist and screenwriter. She has published seven novels, translated…

The Left Bankers are not so much an art movement as a social phenomenon, not so much something invented as stumbled across; not a group, but a series of individuals unknowingly connected by shared experience, ambition and ability, both artistic and practical. I first coined the name Left Bankers late in 2010 after becoming aware of a number of artists who had exchanged life in the City of London for a more creative direction – but in doing so they were employing the skills and contacts they had made in the City to develop their art, further their own objectives and create new opportunities for others. In fact, their number also includes people who have not left the City of London, but who have nevertheless already answered the call to follow their creative urge and have been able to realise their artistic ambitions. What is particularly interesting about them is…

Born on the 16th of October 1854 in Dublin, Ireland, Oscar Wilde was to become one of the most well known personalities of his day, and one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London. Early Life The second of three children, Wilde was born to intellectual parents who were both professionally and socially quite successful. From 1871 until 1874, Wilde studied at Trinity College in Dublin and was an incredible student, winning scholarships as coming first in his class in his first year of studies. In 1974, he moved to Magdalen College in Oxford to continue his academics. While at the school, Wilde became known as an extremely flamboyant dresser and played a large role in both the aesthetic and decadent movements. Society Life & Early Works After graduating from Oxford, Wilde began living in London as a bachelor. He published a book of poems that was well…

“Among the noble cities of the world that Fame celebrates, the City of London of the Kingdom of the English, is the one seat that pours out its fame more widely, sends to farther lands its wealth and trade, lifts its head higher than the rest.” —William FitzStephen, c. 1180 Expanding on Assouline’s popular series, The Light of London showcases a new collection of evocative black-and-white images by Jean-Michel Berts. In the twilight of dawn and dusk, when the stately avenues and gritty side streets are empty and silent, London’s smorgasbord of architecture both medieval and modern can be seen with new eyes. Jean-Michel Berts’s camera obscura exposes the unique character of this majestic city when the bustle of the global capital is stilled. “Architecture is the cultural reflection of a civilization” Jean-Michel Berts Jean-Michel Berts has been a photographer since age sixteen. With his first Rolleiflex camera he became…

“I have devoted my life to the study and appreciation of precious gems, revealing their true beauty. Perfection and artistic creation have always been my daily concerns.” —Alexandre Reza Beautiful book and stunning photos. A must-read for all lovers of fine jewelry! For the past six decades, gemologist Alexandre Reza has been one of Paris’s—and indeed the world’s—most exclusive jewelers, a master artisan and purveyor of exclusive gemstones based in Place Vendôme, the heart of fashion and luxury. To experience his ornaments is to discover history reborn: The diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies of his collections have seen the most extravagant centuries and epochs, from French monarchies and Persian dynasties to the Italian Renaissance. And yet Reza’s precious stones are never meant to be an antiquated homage to a prestigious past; a creator by instinct, Reza takes history as inspiration rather than for reproduction. His handcrafted pieces mix ages and…

I was sitting and looking out the window the other day at 24 inches of snow blanketing my yard. I should have been thinking about how beautiful it was, but instead I found myself griping, “Boy, is this chair uncomfortable!” I’d still rather be sitting than shoveling, but I had to wonder who made this chair, and what they were thinking. I bought it because it was apple green and I loved the color. I wasn’t thinking about whether it would be comfortable and functional. Sometimes it seems like the nicest looking chairs are the worst to sit in, and the comfiest ones look terrible. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Modern Functionalists in Bauhaus Germany Several movements have merged functionalism with great design and beauty in furniture. The Modern Functionalists at the Bauhaus in Germany come to mind first. In the 1920s, they created functional chairs with…

Born in 1839 in the town of Aix-en-Provence, France, Paul Cézanne was to become one of the most influential painters of the 19th century. As a post-impressionist artist, his work laid a concrete base for the transition from the art landscape of the late 19th century, to the fundamentally different world of art in the 20th century. His work also created a bridge between what is referred to as Impressionism and the later area of work called Cubism that emerged in the early 1900’s. Cézanne’s paintings have proven to be a truly enduring body of work. Hallmarks of the Masters Work As an artist, Cézanne possessed a mastery of design, tone, composition and color. His paintings are clearly recognizable because of the unique brushstrokes that were characteristic of his work. Choosing to ignore the traditional laws of perspective, he painted in a way that made each object in the piece appear…

As you know, the gorgeous Michelle Williams has taken on the role of Marilyn Monroe in the movie “My Week with Marilyn”. Marilyn Monroe had a trademark glamorous look, so we thought you’d enjoy a story illustrating both a look back at the 1950’s cosmetics she used and today, how to get beautified Marilyn Monroe 2.0 Style as Celebrity Makeup Artist and Beauty Expert, Melanie Mills, introduces new to the market, innovative products for looking like this Hollywood star. Whether you’re curious or just wanting to imitate the stunning starlet, you’ll be a big hit with this classic beauty look! And, take a look to see how much cosmetics have changed in 60 years! Duplicate Marilyn Monroe’s iconic look with helpful hints from Celebrity Makeup Artist and Beauty Expert, Melanie Mills. MARILYN 1950’s: Pond’s Cold Cream was applied at night before bed. MARILYN 2.0: To get flawless skin like Marilyn’s,…

With the earliest clocks, timekeeping was almost an afterthought. They were initially designed as mechanical calendars to accurately record the seasons, religious holidays and even curious superstitious practices. Calendars continued to be incorporated into clocks and watches even after the purpose of minute by minute timekeeping became more prominent. With the best antique clocks and watches, a calendar shows the mechanical genius and craftsmanship of the maker. Technology and the Clock Calendar attachments can include indication of the year, month, day-of the-month, day of the week, moon phases, high and low tide, sun rise, sun set, signs of the Zodiac and more. Every important horologist throughout history has made a contribution to this technology in the never-ending human quest to understand our universe. The Perpetual Clock Henri Robert, creator of the perpetual calendar clock (1794-1874), likely began his career working with Abraham Louis Breguet (1748-1823) of Paris. Breguet’s most complex…

GUILTY PLEASURES For all our readers in the UK, there is a fabulous documentary series you must see. UK: BBC 4 TV 27th June 9pm Guilty Pleasures: luxury in ancient Greece UK: BBC 4 TV 4th July 9pm Guilty Pleasures: luxury in the Medieval world Written and Presented by Dr Michael Scott A quote from Dr. Scott about Luxury: “Luxury isn’t just a question of expensive and beautiful things for the rich and powerful,” says Dr Scott. “It feeds into ideas of democracy and patriotism, of social harmony and epic courage, not to mention our values as individuals and our relationships with the divine. Indeed the most fascinating thing about luxury is that it is almost impossible to define, and yet we all know it when we see it, because we each have our own ideas of what luxury is (for some – including me – it might be as…

Collecting is an age-old hobby, a passion to buy, hunt for and accumulate treasures. But it seems that the drive to collect beautiful things has disappeared, primarily with the forty and under crowd. They appear to be far more interested in gadgets than objects. You may argue that serious collecting doesn’t begin until one has gone through college, married, and had children and a house. Maybe you have to be in your mid-40s to decide to invest in a collection. But that doesn’t seem right. I started collecting before I was ten. Back in the early 60s, kids collected baseball cards, dolls, stamps, coins (who didn’t have those little blue books?), Tonka toys and so on. Today what do they collect? Video games, Facebook friends, and iPhone aps. I believe that collecting is a bug that you catch early on and continue to nurture through adulthood. It’s no surprise that…

Every element of design in our world produces classics. Fashion and interior design both enjoy timeless influence from iconic stylists and their creative designs. Music spans generations and influences up and coming musical artists, and classic movies continue to fill must watch lists. Classics fill our lives with beauty and historical context. That which is timeless and endures trends, evokes a sense of loyalty, and is priceless, a classic typically represents the period in which it was created. And so it is with classic literature. Enhancing a Personal Library For some it’s a pile of favorite books stacked beside the bed. For others it’s a wall of floor to ceiling book cases with a tapestry of novels, journals, magazines and stylish storage all vying for attention on shelves lined with favorite titles and memorabilia. Yet, however large or small, a library without classic literature is missing a key element of…