What is it? Antique Italian rosewood desk on curule supports, with leather writing surface
Where it’s from: 19th-century Italy
Cocktail-party tidbit: “Curule” refers to the legs’ x-shaped, crisscrossing structure, and dates all the way back to the ancient Romans (who are said to have borrowed the idea from the ancient Egyptians). The x-shaped form originally appeared in chairs, called sella curulis, upon which Roman magistrates would sit. The wide x of the chairs’ legs were one feature: The others, low back and no arms, made the chairs uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time, indicating that the Roman leaders should handle their business efficiently. The curule design element has endured for thousands of years, enjoying starring roles in the Italian Renaissance and 19th-century America, among other eras….
Where it began:
Artist and designer Émile Gallé was born in Nancy, France, in 1846. As a child, he studied drawing and botany. He later learned the art of glassmaking and began his career at Meisenthal, France, an international center for studio glass. The son of a successful faience and furniture maker, Gallé returned to Nancy and joined his father’s earthenware and furniture factory, where he began experimenting with various intricate techniques in glassblowing. His first designs were lightly tinted glass decorated with engravings, but quickly he developed techniques for richly colored glass, which was carved or etched. After his grand success at the Paris Exhibition of 1878, Gallé became a celebrated designer throughout the world. He’s considered one of the major creative forces in the French Art Nouveau movement.
This charming mushroom-shaped lamp takes its inspiration from Gallé’s love of nature and everything organic and wild. Being a botanist, Gallé created designs derived from dragonflies, flowers,
and even the concentration of dew on leaves.
This lamp is gorgeous and relatively small. Use it to create an elegant and organic look on a living room side table or in a library or reading nook. The array of colored glass subtly emanates beautiful light.
Why we love it:
Not only is this a superbly made lamp, but it’s also a rare, historical gem, a once-in-a-lifetime acquisition.
Shop our curated selection of Émile Gallé cameo vases on The HighBoy.
1. Gallé Yellow Cameo Glass Vase | 2. Gallé Miniature Cameo Glass Stick Vase
3. Gallé Rare Black Thistle Cameo Glass Vase | 4. Gallé Miniature Purple Cameo Glass Vase
5. Gallé Four-Color Cameo Glass Stick Vase
Where it began: In 1902, upon his father’s death, Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of founder Charles Lewis Tiffany, became the first official design director for Tiffany & Co. Long before this, however, he was an active artist, who embraced nearly every medium and eventually transformed the brand’s traditional approach to jewelry to one of delightful color, celebrating nature and organic shapes.
Early on, Tiffany became known for his iridescent glassware, like this stunning scalloped edge bowl, and eventually, for his exquisite stained-glass lamps. His work led him to be recognized as a visionary leader of the Art Nouveau movement. Not surprisingly, Tiffany eventually established the Tiffany Artistic Jewelry department in the company’s Fifth Avenue store, where his jewelry and precious objects were manufactured.
Cocktail-party tidbit: Around early 1893, Tiffany established a glasshouse in Queens, New York, where he developed a method to blend different colored glass together in the molten state. He dubbed his glass “favrile,” a play on the Old English term “fabrile,” which meant “hand-wrought.”
Where to use it: Anywhere! This precious bowl is not just iridescently stunning and carefully crafted, but its color will also add instant style to any room. The piece would be the perfect accessory to a stunning glass coffee table or would brighten up an entry on an elegant console table.
Why we love it: Louis Comfort Tiffany could have merely followed in his father’s (affluent) footsteps, but instead, he pursued the artisan’s life, creating beauty and celebrating craftsmanship. This bowl is a perfect reminder of that noble impulse.
The HighBoy is nominated in three categories of the Design Bloggers Hall of Fame! Best Writing; Best Graphics, Photography, and Presentation; and Best New Design Blog! If you’ve enjoyed our blog today, would you go vote for us? We would be so thankful!
Where it began: During the Régence period in France (1715-1723), King Louis XV was too young to rule the land, so a Regent, Philippe D’Orleans (who was the nephew of King Louis XIV) governed in his stead, thus the name of the era. Cultural changes after the death of Louis XIV were afoot, and the decorative arts reflect these changes: The popular style broke away from the rigid and refined elements of Louis XIV furniture by adding bolder and more elaborate designs to rectilinear forms.
Cocktail-party tidbit: The inner border’s motif on this beveled mirror is called les perles, for its resemblance of a strand of perfectly matched pearls. Pearls have always been associated with great wealth, as they are a natural creation—and before the invention of cultured pearls (in the early 1900s), the gems required significant time, effort, and expense to acquire.
Where to use it: You might expect to see this mirror in a grand hallway hung over an elegant console table—a brilliant display, no doubt—but we think it would look equally stunning hung over a fireplace in a slightly more contemporary setting.
Why we love it: The details and artistry of the frame make it part-mirror, part-artwork. Instant glamour.
Want more to complement this luxurious look? Shop more Régence period items now on The HighBoy.