Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Early French hand-coloured fashion stencils

Clothes are designed to cover the body, but why not have more fun doing it? Styles constantly change and return with variations on a theme, but the period from 1912 to 1925 represented most changes that we can relate to today. Paris early established itself as the location of the finest fashion houses, and talented artists were employed to introduce the designers' fashions to the public. The Musée des Artes Decoratifs at the Louvre in Paris displays elegant illustrations by eminent fashion artists as well as actual costumes from previous eras.

The first luxury periodical that used the pochoir method of illustration was Journal des Dames et des Modes – Costumes Parisiens, published from 1912 to 1914. These small individually coloured stencils are now rarely seen. Couturier Paul Poiret employed the finest fashion artists, who between them created 180 different images over the two year period. Each image for each magazine utilized many different stencils for careful layering of gouache and watercolour by hand. Fashion notes and poetry were included in the periodical, but fashion illustrations were the drawcard.

Umberto Brunelleschii was a fashion illustrator as well as a designer, as was George Barbier who made his debut as a designer during the few years of this publication. Charming pochoir illustrations were also contributed by Armand Vallée, Roger Broders, Etienne Drian, and other fine artists. Journal des Dames et des Modes - Costumes Parisiens presented prominent designers' fashions in an appropriate setting. Each charming scene exemplifies elegant behaviour and privileged lifestyle, capturing the spirit of the era when they were painted, but many of the designs are still relevant today.

These delightful pochoir illustrations of Parisian fashion are still treasured by people of all ages, - particularly when enjoyed, framed on the wall. View and purchase from Antique Print Club online 24/7 at  http://www.antiqueprintclub.com/or visit the Brisbane Antique Emporium, open daily from 10am to 5pm at 794 Sandgate Road Clayfield (entrance off Junction Road). Email sales@antiqueprintclub.com or phone 61 (0)7 5525 1363 for more information.

1920's Fabulous Fashion: Journal of Good Style

Gazette du Bon Ton. Arte - Mode et Frivolités (Journal of Good Style. Art, Fashion & Fun), or.. Gazette du Bon Ton. Modes et manieres d'aujourd'hui (Journal of Good Style. Fashion and Manners of the Day). A coveted periodical by both names, it was intended to appeal to the elite and was expensive (annual subscription of 100 francs is more than $400 today). Published in Paris around ten times a year from 1912 to 1925, its editor Lucien Vogel and distributor Condé Nast took over Gazette du Bon Ton in 1925, and then began Vogue magazine.

Unlike Vogue today, fashion illustrations for Gazette were each painted by hand, and inevitably were more popular than the magazine’s articles about privileged lifestyle. The finest fashion artists of the day were employed to draw and paint the latest elegant designs. Production of these pochoir was labour-intensive.

Each illustration required up to thirty individual zinc stencils to be cut. These were carefully overlaid for successive applications of ink, gouache and watercolour to build up the detail and mood of each image. Pochoirs were then attached to slips of paper for stapling into each paper cover, so that they would not be damaged. This enabled the 'fashion plates' to be removed easily for framing.  

(Quarter to 7. Music Hour)
French for stencil, 'pochoir' is universally used for these images, in recognition of French mastery of this process for illustrating fashion.   
Gazette du Bon Ton had exclusive contracts with seven of Paris's elite couture houses so that these designers' fashions were shown only in the pages of the Gazette. It was the first time that designers were publicly acknowledged for their fashion creations. A few of the artists were also designers and were allowed to include pochoirs of their own work.
(Lovely Secret)

Regular artists George Barbier, Pierre Brissaud, André-Edouard Marty, Thayaht (Ernesto Michahelles), George Lepape, Charles Martin, Étienne Drian, Maurice Taquoy, Eduardo Garcia Benito, and the David sisters, all had distinctive artistic styles (providing wide public appeal)  - and on occasion they imitated each other’s style. The most influential artist was George Barbier. The most modern interpretations were by Ernesto Michahelles who adopted the name ‘Thayaht’.
(The Indiscretion..)

Occasionally a double-size image was included - with a more detailed fashion narrative and subtle social comment. Fashions were shown in a suitable setting to indicate how to where them, and the frequently humorous titles add to their enjoyment. They are charming and timeless images, enjoyed by all. We are particularly fond of them ourselves, and have a great collection available from our website
http://www.antiqueprintclub.com/c-23-fashionpochoir.aspx – or from our exhibition at the Brisbane Antique Emporium in Clayfield on the corner of Sandgate & Junction Roads – open every day from 10am to 5pm.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Raphael brilliance at the Vatican

One of the finest artists of the Renaissance, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483-1520) designed magnificent frescoes for the Vatican private residence and its Loggia.
Raphael adorned the rooms of the apartment of Pope Julius II. Then, Pope Leo X commissioned Raphael to decorate the loggia adjoining the Pope’s residence. With his assistants during 1518-1519 (the last two years of his life), Raphael painted his designs on the pilasters (supporting pillars), ceiling vaults and arches. A testament to his genius, they are a High Renaissance masterpiece of classical design.

250 years later, to record Raphael’s brilliance, Pope Clement XIII ordered the intricate designs of Raphael's early 16th century frescoes to be engraved onto copperplates for Le Logge di Rafaele nel Vaticano (The Loggia by Raphael at the Vatican) published circa 1772-1777. An ambitious project, each of the very large engravings was superbly hand-coloured with gouache and watercolour.

In the loggia, at the base of each ceiling vault is a beautiful arch decorated with garlands of fruit and flowers, and friezes with architectural design embellished with gods, graces, and mythical beasts. The central vertical folds on the large copperplate engravings of the ceiling arches indicate the size of this grand publication. The images are approximately 33cm x 57cm

Each pilaster fresco was engraved on two large copperplates. Each joined pair measures 105cm x 44cm, and was superbly hand-coloured to accentuate Raphael’s imaginative grotesque motifs of beribboned flowers and fruit, gods and graces of mythology, and fine architectural decoration. Where detail had deteriorated and was illegible, design elements from Raphael’s Vatican tapestries were used.

The elegance and classical beauty of Raphael’s design – in particular his grotesques - greatly influenced neo-classical style. The grand engravings of Raphael’s pilasters were considered to be so important that ten years later they were engraved in pairs half the size of the first publication, so that each pair measured 37 x 50cm. Again in 1813, these exquisitely detailed copperplate engravings were published in Paris by Pierre-Philippe Choffard (1730-1809). 

Once again they were brilliantly hand-coloured in gouache and watercolour.  (Two pairs - each from sets of 6 - are shown here, framed in beautiful hand-made gold-leaf frames, or hand-made gilded antique veneered frames.)
These stunning 18th century engravings recording the brilliance of Raphael's fresco designs for the Vatican are of a style and quality more often seen in the Museums of Europe. It is rare that they are available to grace the walls and be enjoyed in your own home.

These magnificent original 18th century engravings of Raphael's beautiful frescoes at the Vatican are currently on display at the Brisbane Antique Emporium at Clayfield (open every day).  Some of them can also be seen in the Antique Prints: Classical/Design section of our website at http://www.antiqueprintclub.com/c-22-classicaldesign.aspx.
For further information or assistance please contact Derek or Kathryn Nicholls at sales@antiqueprintclub.com   

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Easy but Thoughtful Present-buying

It's that time of year again! Knowing what someone likes makes finding a gift much easier. What do they wear, surround themselves with or talk about? What do they like? There's nothing nicer than recognition of someone's interests. Why not buy a picture of something that interests them? Antique prints cover most subjects. 
Friends: Gold-rush c1853
Antique prints and maps can be large or small, expensive or not, conventional or strange, really old or surprisingly modern-looking. Antique means they are over 100 years old (and could be up to 400 years old). Rarity, condition and demand affect cost.
Australian historical antiques.
Colonial days in the Australian country and cities are fascinating reminders of how much our culture has evolved. Most people living here appreciate the early scenes of our country - even humorous engravings of experiences of immigrants from around the world - particularly during the gold-rushes.
Superb spray of orchids c1880
Botany, birds & animals.
From London and Paris c1800, we have engravings of the earliest flowers discovered in Australia. Gardeners who loves Australian native plants, or have a favourite plant or shrub in the garden, will surely appreciate an antique print that shows its flower all year round. As well as lithographs of Australian orchids, there are grand lithographs c1880 from H.G. Moon watercolours of orchids from all the world. Colours and shapes of foliage and flowers (even with finely engraved dissections), & almost-modern graphics of leaves, ferns, and fruit are decorative and timeless.
Phillip's Voyage. High-flyer c1789
Most people enjoy listening to and watching birds, but is it small or larger birds that appeal? Grand hand-coloured lithographs of Australian birds (and animals) are by John Gould c1840-1880. Small engravings by William Lizars c1840 are of exquisite detail and colour. Inexpensive but finely detailed are French hand-coloured engravings c1820-60 that have a few birds or animals to each page, or single bird portraits by Reverend Morris of the same period, - and groups of animals and birds. Children love the animals - as well as the more conventional choice of story book or nursery rhyme lithographs.
Faience. God of Wine c1870
Artefacts, Professions & Trades.
A porcelain collector might not have access to the finest Sevres or Faience, but will love beautiful porcelain lithographs to hang on the wall. Lithographs and engravings of early grand or simple furniture including those used by kings (including Egyptian tomb paintings) will appeal to more than interior designers and architects - as would the grace of classical building and landscape design, - and both flamboyant and simple 18th century design for furnishings, ceiling and wall decoration. 
Aren't we beautiful! c1792

Builders might appreciate carved wood or stone architectural details from 17th to 19th century or early machinery illustration.
Early engravings of medical instruments c1800, and anatomy lithographs c1880, are startling and informative. Many have seen 19th century caricatures of the legal fraternity, but did you know this series also featured lithographs of politicians, sportsmen, and anyone else who was newsworthy?
Goethe. Must get dressed..
Not only musicians appreciate engravings and lithographs of ancient instruments. They add character to any décor - as will 1920s hand-coloured pochoir linking fashion with music in a group with string instruments. Golf is well-covered in humorous Punch cartoon woodcuts, and golf fashion pochoir c1912-1925. 
Interrupted! ..19th hole? 
Everyone enjoys the charming and elegant Gazette du Bon Ton fashion narratives from the early 20th century - particularly those with humorous captions! 
Maps, Marine & Military.
Early military engravings are fascinating. They include 17thC small engravings of fortifications by Mallet and Bartoli's large engravings of Trajan's Roman battles (from the relief on Trajan's column in Rome), 18thC marine engravings of early voyages, 19thC finely-engraved battle scenes on land and sea, and naval and army portraits, engravings of the Crimean War, Bartlett's finely engraved English coastal scenes, and all manner of worldwide news. 
Britain-China Opium War & Joss House
Allom's interesting views of China after the first Opium war with Britain, and the sailing ships that carried immigrants and cargo around the world in the19th century, all make wonderful groups for large wall spaces - or add interest to a corner.
Roman Empire.. Barbarians.. not Australia.
Antique maps show our history, and the political changes of boundaries and inaccurate geography can become quite engrossing – sometimes referred to as Map Pox. The east coast of Australia, discovered by James Cook in 1770, resulted in European settlement in Australia. We have engravings from Captain Cook's voyage, and a wonderful French map from 17 years earlier, where Jacques Nicolas Bellin 'supposes' where the east coast might be.. Antique maps from the 17th century to the 20th century are all affordable. There’s a large choice of periods and styles – from as little as $40. A map in recognition of your ancestry, or a map of a country you visited, may not be as much in demand as a map of the world, so will cost less. Quality and rarity will also affect the value, but the finest are harder to find and will always appreciate more.  

Buy securely online 24/7 from http://www.antiqueprintclub.com/
Antique Print Club is open in Brisbane EVERY DAY (unless public holiday)
North-side: Brisbane Antique Emporium 794 Sandgate Road, Clayfield (entry off Junction Road)
South-side: Brisbane Antique Centre [where there are also Heritage Editions reproduction prints/maps displayed separately] at Exit 30 of M1 motorway (Beenleigh-Redland Bay Road junction at Loganholme).

Imagination is the limitation in gift selection - and a knowledge of what is available.. Gift Certificates are always available! Please contact us directly for assistance
 in your selection from our thousands of antique maps and prints: Derek & Kathryn Nicholls: Email sales@antiqueprintclub.com or  Phone  +61 (0)7.5525 1363 (+61 (0)412 442 283).

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Brilliance of Early Frescoes

The Loggia and the Sistine Chapel are probably the best known early fresco paintings that are recognized today, but fresco wall decoration was not a new idea when the Vatican contracted hundreds of talented professionals during the main period of embellishment, during the 15th to 17th centuries. Pictures were painted on walls for thousands of years before this.

Raphael's frescoes at the Vatican were revered from the time they were painted early in the 16th century. 150 years after their creation, from
1670-1677 Pietro Santi Bartoli (1635-1700) endeavoured to capture the beauty and essence of Raphael’s classical frescoes of maidens and men, centaurs and other mythological elements, from the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

A century later, Swiss architect and engineer Domenico Fontana (1543-1607) was responsible for much of Rome’s redevelopment. In 1600 he accidentally discovered the buried region of Pompeii during tunnelling for the construction of a viaduct. Not then identified as a great municipium, dedicated excavation of these ruins did not begin until 1748 - and haphazardly continued for the next 112 years. 

Another great municipeum of the 1st century, Herculaneum was not discovered until 1709 when men digging a well uncovered a decorated wall of the city. A town had been built above it, so excavation did not begin for 30 years. Artifacts and decorated walls from Pompeii and Herculaneum were illustrated as they were uncovered. Engravers were employed to transpose them onto plates for prints to be made to circulate the findings.

Some of the finest classical engravers of the day were employed to engrave the frescoes for the most important 18th century archaelogical work Le Antichita di Ercolano Esposta (The Antiquities of Herculaneum Exposed), published in Naples between 1757 and 1792.

 Some of these wonderful copperplate engravings have cross-hatched shaded sections to show where paint or mosaic had been destroyed - and remind us of their source.

Not only is it amazing that these frescoes survived and were rediscovered, it is also amazing that the fine engravings depicting them survive today. They are, after all, "just pieces of paper" as someone pointed out the other day. These beautiful antique prints represent art forms from hundreds of years ago.

Before modern technology, circulation of any information had to be carved or drawn onto a plate for printing. (For more information on these early printing methods check out our website Library http://www.antiqueprintclub.com/t-library.aspx.)

If you would like to see  and perhaps own your own beautiful 18th century classical artwork, please return to our website at http://www.antiqueprintclub.com/c-22-classicaldesign.aspx or better still, see them exhibited at the Brisbane Antique Emporium, 794 Sandgate Road in Clayfield - open every day unless a public holiday.