Saturday, March 31, 2012

From Amsterdam, Mid-Oughties

Acquired this 1930s bookplate design--it's printed on a large piece of card stock--at a shop on one of the main canals several years ago. Same place I first saw the hipster-ramshackle wooden furniture of Piet Hein Eek.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fresh and Cool as Water Lilies

Perhaps on some other planet? Sir Walter Scott wore the Waverlys. I myself find it hard to decide between the Modiste and Cocaroo No. 9. Leaning toward the Modiste, since I already have Cocaroo Nos. 1-8.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Near-Bonnet

In the century-and-a-half-old battle between sitter and camera, natural elegance wins.

Great things: the subject's intransigence; the near-bonnet-like hat; the strange curly shape, like a foreshortened apostrophe, on the cloth bench cover in the right-hand corner; the pale blue oxidation patches.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Brunhilde, O Beautiful Giantess

'As for the mighty Brunhilde, she remains monstrous, dream-like, and magnificent--a towering goddess fully worthy of her Valkyrie-crown, even when she is standing in what looks like her best friend's shabby bourgeois parlor.'

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dig the Black Socks

---if that is what they are. Something marvelously primitive about the rig here: every part of it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Macedonia . . .

. . . by way of Buenos Aires. One of several childrens' fancy-dress portraits (from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s) I've acquired from an Argentinian dealer. The subjects, as here, supremely calm and self-possessed in the manner of their posing.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ike Looking Pretty Good . . .

....but who's the other guy? The first presidential election I should conceivably be able to remember --but I don't. Kennedy -Nixon in 1960, however: I was all over it.

Rather lovely color choices here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


A slightly blurry but memorable tintype--the kid has strange energy, a lot of lower-body authority. The bow and center part likewise fine, and the odd contrast between the hands--one large and decisive, the other seemingly withered, fuzzed out--makes one lean into the tin surface to see more.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Gorgeous trade card from a late 19th-century toy manufacturer. The building at the back looks like it could be from Oz or Lego-Land indeed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Two Dirty Little Hands

For when they want something more than your trampoline act.

Francis & Day--a well-known early 20th-century songbook and sheet music publisher, located at 138-40 Charing Cross Road. To judge from photos on Google Earth, a Pret à Manger seems to have taken over at that address now.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Nothing Like a Dame

A few more of my favorite ladies from the ledger (see previous post).