Peace Bringing Back Abundance

Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting

A Passion for Painting Billowing ruched fabric, pointy toes of dainty shoes visible from beneath flounced skirts hemmed in gold fringes and ornate trims. A bejeweled crown on a pillow festooned with gold fleurs-de-lis; and a red velvet tablecloth flowing downward, its gold trim cascading onto a floral rug. Sumptuousness at every turn. Painting in its […]

Three children painted in the Elizabethan style.

Narratives That Illuminate Design

Narratives That Illuminate Design If you believe that design-centric coffee table books contain nothing more than visual surveys of portfolios, I am out to change your mind today by presenting my choices for narratives that illuminate design. What has prompted this quest? Two intelligently written books in Rizzoli’s holiday catalog—both of which were published earlier […]

Beautiful hand-painted majolica plate

Poetry and Ceramics in Savona

The 16th-century poetry that sprung from Savona made a strong impression on Thomas William Parsons when he found verses inscribed on a statue of the Madonna near the town’s lighthouse during a tour of Italy in the 19th century. He was so moved, the American poet penned the sonnet “Savona: Vespers on the Shore of the Mediterranean” that […]

Rolf Sachs Camera in Motion on Saxon Henry's blog

A Definition of Fleeting

“O nature, merciful and cruel mother, when do you have such power and such contrary wills, to make and unmake things so charming?” —Petrarch Petrarch, one of the best-known Italian poets of the Renaissance, built a legacy around the ephemeral emotion of grief. He once lamented that everything pleasing in the world was to him […]

Ally Coulter at Holiday House 2014.

Ally Coulter and the Opulent Salon

Ally Coulter’s grand salon on the first floor of the Holiday House NYC took my breath away the minute I entered the room. It was as if I’d stepped into a Romanesque nod to modernism that intermingles a smooth mix of time-honored and modern elements—Otto Naumann art and Newel antiques hold court alongside Fendi Casa furniture […]

Parma Italy's Riserva Palace

Rococo Style in Italy

If I told you the most surprising thing I found in Parma, Italy, was France, would you think I’d lost my mind? I’m not speaking in concrete terms, of course; I know my European geography. I’m referring to a remnant of the French aristocracy tucked into the Riserva Palace on Strada Melloni, one of Parma’s […]