The Restoration of Rosa Bonheurs Horse Fair

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Why Beauty Matters

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Money Saving Recipe for Gold Leaf Sizing

Artisans world-wide spend a fortune on commercial brand oil-based gold leaf sizing.  The most popular brands include Luco, Dux, and L.A. Gold Leaf.  Pricing for quart size containers range from $35 to $55 depending upon retailer pricing.

Fast drying sizing sets up in 2-4 hours depending upon environmental conditions, humidity and airflow.

Regular slow setting sizing sets up in 6 – 8 hours depending on conditions.

Should the artist wish to save their hard earned money, I recommend buying a quart of Rust-Oleum Spar Varnish instead for around $18.00.  It will set up for tack in around 2-6 hours depending upon thickness of layer applied and environmental conditions.  For a faster set, cut it with mineral spirits or turpentine.  Mix well.  Experiment on painted wood or metal with various cuts in order to determine what works best in your environment.

As it is often recommended that one apply an oil based sealer “primer” prior to applying sizing, especially if one is gold leafing metal objects for outside use, I recommend buying a quart of Rust-Oleum Topside paint for around $18.50.  The gold leaf specialty companies sell their so-called “burnish sealers” for $46.00 to $66.00 per quart.

I buy the white gloss Rust-Oleum Topside paint and add yellow or red pigment when working with metal objects destined for outdoor use.  Pigments can be purchased from most art supply houses such as Dick Blick, Utrecht, Jerry’s Artarama, and Cheap Joes.

For indoor plasters or wood, two coats of  Sargent Art Liquid Metal Gold acrylic paint works well as a base coat sealer. 

Unlocking the mystery….

There is no mystery to gold leaf sizing or burnish sealer.

  • Gold Leaf Sizing=varnish.
  • Burnish Sealer=oil based paint.

The real mystery is why are so many artists pay exorbitant prices for oil based paint and varnish.  I suspect a course in brand marketing, consumer psychology, and perhaps basic chemistry would be in order for one wishing draw further conclusions.

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Congo River Boat Ride

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Unarmed Combat – Imperial War Museum Archives

Imperial War Museum, London

Video courtesy of Imperial War Museums, UK

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Simon Mann – The Mercenary

Video courtesy of LondonReal Youtube Channel.

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Bess of Hardwick: Four Times a Lady

Four times the nuptial bed she warm’d,
And every time so well perform’d,
That when death spoil’d each husband’s billing,
He left the widow every shilling.
Fond was the dame, but not dejected;
Five stately mansions she erected
With more than royal pomp, to vary
The prison of her captive
When Hardwicke’s towers shall bow their head,
Nor mass be more in Worksop said;
When Bolsover’s fair fame shall tend,
Like Olcotes, to its mouldering end;
When Chatsworth tastes no Can’dish bounties,
Let fame forget this costly countess.

From The Letters of Horace Warpole:

On Bess of Hardwick: She was daughter of John Hardwicke, of Hardwick in Derbyshire.  Her first husband was Robert Barley, Esq. who settled his large estate on her and her heirs.  She married, secondly, Sir William Cavendish; her third husband was Sir William St. Lo; and her fourth was George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, whos daughter, Lady Gracek married her son Sir William Cavendish

 

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The Field of the Cloth of Gold

Reprint from the Royal Collection Trust Website

The meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, took place between 7 to 24 June 1520 in a valley subsequently called the Val d’Or, near Guisnes to the south of Calais. The event derived its name from the sumptuousness of the materials used for the tents, pavilions and other furnishings. It was a spectacle of the greatest magnificence and the several artists responsible for this painting have made a fairly accurate visual summary of the various festivities that took place during the meeting of the two kings. Continue reading The Field of the Cloth of Gold

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Twelve Thousand Three Hundred and Fourteen Diamonds – King George IV’s Empty Crown

King George IV was known far and wide as the dandy king, incompetent, ugly, and vulgar.  As Prince regent, prior to his assent to the throne, he kept fast company with Beau Brummel, King of Dandies, a man sixteen years his younger.  And decadence followed.  King George was a gambler, philanderer, and spendthrift, spending in his lifetime well over £25,000,000 in today’s money.

Even his coronation crown was stuffed with rented gemstones for a cost to the government of £24,425.  The 12,314 diamonds had to be returned to the jewel dealers after the coronation as the government refused to purchase the crown for King George IV after the coronation.  The frame of the crown was created by Philip Liebart of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, London.

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King William III on Horseback by Sir Godfrey Kneller

Reprint from The Royal Collection Trust website:

Kneller was born in Lubeck, studied with Rembrandt in Amsterdam and by 1676 was working in England as a fashionable portrait painter. He painted seven British monarchs (Charles II, James II, William III, Mary II, Anne, George I and George II), though his portraits of Charles II are not longer in the collection, and in 1715 was the first artist to be made a Baronet (the next was John Everett Millais in 1885). A set of portraits of naval heroes was given by George IV to the Royal Naval Hospital in Greenwich in 1824. Continue reading King William III on Horseback by Sir Godfrey Kneller

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The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

Continue reading The Charge of the Light Brigade

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An Accurate Transcription of FDR’s Second Fireside Chat

FDR 2nd Fireside Chat

The downloadable audio clip is of FDR’s Second Fireside Chat recorded on May 7th, 1933.  

The transcript that follows is my corrected version of the transcript that is found The American Presidency Project website that was created by Gerhard Peters and Professor John T. Woolley of  the University of California, Santa Barbara Political Science Department.

I am not sure why the available transcription and seemingly most other transcriptions of FDR’s Second Fireside Speech are so poor other than perhaps the transcriptions are copies of the written speech rather true transcriptions of the delivered and recorded speech. Continue reading An Accurate Transcription of FDR’s Second Fireside Chat

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Motel


Motel, Motel
Do Tell

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The Warmth of a Country Christmas


Tucked into all corners of the large stately farm house
Loquacious aunts, uncles of letters, adventure and public house,
Grandmother wrapped in wool, grandfather’s pipe
Gas fired ceramic tiled fireplaces, a Christmas delight
Glowing red ember warming through the night Continue reading The Warmth of a Country Christmas

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Indian Summer


We opened the doors on the old Dodge van
parked under the big oak tree
the old farm house etched with memory
ropes hanging down and an old plank swing
She kicked her bare feet playfully in the dirt
and then soared to the sky
Looking out over Illinois corn fields
full in growth, glorious acres of green and gold
laden with the best crop in years
The pioneer cassette deck
laid back tunes,
CCR, The Band, Seger, Canned Heat, The Outlaws
Night Moves slowed the swing down
A blanket in tall grass, a cooler of ice cold beer
chilled to perfection
grass of different colors move the clouds
breezy wisps sailing gracefully across azure blue sky
It was beautiful, Indian Summer

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A Conversation between H.F. Leonard and K. Higashi

H.F. Leonard was an instructor in wrestling at the New York Athletic Club. Katsukum Higashi was an instructor in Jujitsu.

“I say with emphasis and without qualification that I have been unable to find anything in jujitsu which is not known to Western wrestling.  So far as I can see, jujitsu is nothing more than an oriental form of wrestling.  It is a boast of the exploiters of jujitsu that through it any weakling could render helpless even a well-trained athlete, and that, too, without inflicting any injury whatever upon the victim.  It would be an entertaining day in my life indeed were I to see such a feat accomplished.” —Statement by Mr. Leonard after an exhibition by Mr. Higashi. 

“American wrestlers are strong — much stronger than any of us pretend to be in muscular strength.  After all, however, wrestling is wrestling.  Against jujitsu it is mere child’s play.  I have met a number of Western wrestlers, and they are as helpless as babes against the art of jujitsu.  And no one versed in the art of jujitsu is mad enough to expect anything else.” — Statement by Mr. Higashi after an exhibition by Mr. Leonard. 

Continue reading A Conversation between H.F. Leonard and K. Higashi

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Franklin Library Book Deconstructed – Taking a Peek inside the Cadillac of Book Bindings

Have you ever wondered just how a Franklin Library Book is put together?

Franklin Library, a division of the Franklin Mint, as many a book collector can attest,  was considered the equivalent of the Cadillac division of GM in the modern 20th Century book market.  They put out several series of gorgeous full leather-bound books, quarter leather-bound and leatherette-bound books that would have made a 16th Century european Renaissance patron stand up and take notice: Continue reading Franklin Library Book Deconstructed — Taking a Peek inside the Cadillac of Book Bindings

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Proper Book Handling and Cleaning

The following is taken verbatim from a document that appeared several years ago in the Maine State Archives.  It seems to have been removed from their website.  I happened to have made a physical copy of it at the time I was looking into the preservation of leather book bindings back in 2006.

Main State Archives: Guidelines for Restoration and Preservation of Documentary Papers, Maps, Books. [http://www.state.me.us/sos/arc/general/admin/doconsrv.htm]

Handling Books

Never remove a book from the shelf by pulling upon the headcap.  Push back a few books at wither side and firmly grasp the sides of the selected volume. Continue reading Proper Book Handling and Cleaning

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List of the 60 Franklin Library Signed Limited Editions

The following highly collectible Franklin Library Signed Editions were published between 1977 and 1982.  They are all fully leather bound with beautiful covers and contain gorgeous and rich silk moire endpapers.  Signatures are protected by unattached tissue inserts.

The values listed are average prices that were sought by booksellers at the market cycle top of the collectible book selling market in 2007 during after the Pop in U.S. Housing Bubble and prior to the full blown World Economic Collapse.   It should be noted that these prices would be for books in pristine or like new condition.  Continue reading List of the 60 Franklin Library Signed Limited Editions

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AB Bookman’s 1948 Guide to Describing Conditions


AB Bookman’s 1948 Guide to Describing Conditions:

  • As New is self-explanatory. It means that the book is in the state that it should have been in when it left the publisher. This is the equivalent of Mint condition in numismatics.
  • Fine (F or FN) is As New but allowing for the normal effects of time on an unused book that has been protected. A fine book shows no damage.
  • Very Good (VG) describes a book that is worn but untorn. For many collectors this is the minimum acceptable condition for all but the rarest items. Any defects must be noted.
  • Good (G) describes the condition of an average used worn book that is complete. Any defects must be noted.
  • Fair shows wear and tear but all the text pages and illustrations or maps are present. It may lack endpapers, half-title, and even the title page. All defects must be noted.
  • Poor describes a book that has the complete text but is so damaged that it is only of interest to a buyer who seeks a reading copy. If the damage renders the text illegible then the book is not even poor.
  • Ex-library copies must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.
  • Book Club copies must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.
  • Binding Copy describes a book in which the pages or leaves are perfect, but the binding is very bad, loose, off or non-existent..

 

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Of what a hideous progeny is Debt the father! What lies, what madness, what invasions of self-respect, what cares, what double dealing! How in due season it will carve the frank, open face into wrinkles; how like a knife it will stab the honest heart!

— Douglass Jerrold