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Posts from the ‘bibelot’ Category

A New Lantern Design

June 16th, 2012

Daniel Pontius


These  linen shades are a collaboration between Jane Hallworth and myself.  Jane asked me if I could hand-embroider something on a linen sleeve to go on a hurricane lantern and I said, Of course. I did a series of 3 lamps. “Do I Still Long for my Virginity and then lists of names, male and female. The lanterns are now for sale at Hallworth Design.

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A Pair of Trust Ritual Masks

January 18th, 2010

Daniel Pontius

USA Late 19th century to Early 20th century. Three dimensional masks made of paper mache, fiber, felt and paint. Used in Odd Fellows Rituals. $4,500.

Elsie and her Bibelots

March 10th, 2009

Daniel Pontius

Above is a much published photo c 1890 of Elsie de Wolfe in her Turkish Room at 49 Irving Place, NYC. This is the essential before shot; before she became a decorator; before the new century. It was the ending of the Victorian Age and she was at the end of her acting career. She was going to have to do something. Check SpellingIn this before picture, she had not yet decorated 49 Irving Place, which helped to jump start her path (nothing new is what she said of decorating; woman have always done it). In the before photo she is in her late 30’s and living the Sapphic life and by 1905 at 40– she had received her first commission and off she went– and that, as they say, was that.

Bibelots has attempted to get permission to use a photo of Elsie de Wolfe by Cecil Beaton taken in the 1930’s. It is the quintessential after photo. Elsie de Wolfe at her most personal reinvention. Bibelots was told that “in theory” permission could be given for a fee…Well, enough said. You Dear Reader can see the image on your own at the National Portrait Gallery Website at this link: AFTER.

Elsie, I’m almost overwhelmed with a lack of words to describe this image. Elsie, the gilt! Never again will this be done so well. Is this your in-town home at 10 Avenue d’Iena or is it Villa Trianon, Versailles? 

I would like to imagine it is your Paris apartment, although I think it is Trianon. You were enraptured in the new found social status of your mariage blanc to Sir Mendl. You had stepped out as the newly fashioned Lady Mendl, New York behind you, it is at Avenue d’Iena that has always felt to me the culmination of your career:

“Throughout this period, the decorator became identified with conspicuous connoisseurship through the adoption of extravagant bibelots, particularly crystal obelisks and miniature jade and crystal animals. Her embrace of these, rather than Giacometti sculptures and Neo-Romantic paintings, further served to distance her from the interiors du jour of her contemporaries.

These treasures–including a small 18th-century gold-and-diamond coach and a magnificent crystal ship in full sail–were frequently used as centerpieces on her dining table”(257, Sparke).