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October 2002 Issue
Compiled by
Bruce Gventer

What follows is a random assortment of art and antiques related websites that we have visited and enjoyed in the last few weeks. Your discoveries and suggestions are always welcome. Send them to



Art and Architecture

       The Portland Museum of Art has a very nice collection with items dating back to the 18th century and has pieces right to the present. Some of the permanent works are by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Rockwell Kent, Marsden Hartley, and Andrew Wyeth.

          The Museum plots the development of Western visual arts, with a strong focus on Maine's own artistic history. They do have an equally strong collection of European and American masters along with a very nice display of decorative arts.

          One twist I have not seen before is the use of video to introduce you to the Museum collection. You can play the video directly from their site, or download it to your computer for later viewing.

          If you are an educator, the Museum has many programs to help you teach your pupils. This section also has a video showing young children participating in the Museum's Artrek program.

          I.M. Pei & Partners designed the Museum building, and you can view a video that shows highlights of the building's design features. I found these videos interesting and informative.

          If you will be in Portland, Maine, you will want to take a peek at the page which features the Golden Age of Portland, 1801-1866. You will find much to do around town with events sponsored by seventeen of the city's cultural organizations. ( See an expanded article on the Portland Museum of Art on page 42.




Laboratory at Suffern, New York circa 1900.



          This web site promotes the hobby about the California Perfume Company and Avon collecting. A caveat on the site states that it is not connected in any way with Avon products.

          Here I learned that there are many more products then I could have imagined. They include fragrances, toiletries, baby products, household items, perfumes, and many other products.

          The site is fairly new and still growing, but it already has a very nice selection of product images. Clicking on an item name will bring up an image and a description of the product that  even includes the original selling price.

          Not only are the products described, but there is also a company history and a listing of the people involved with the company. The site's designer asks for your assistance in helping the site grow. He would like to add articles and pictures to make this a more comprehensive site for the collector.




          This site specializes in mid-century glass from around the world. They offer the service of renting their pieces for use as props, something that I have not seen before.

          Their main sections deal with glass from Scandinavia, Italy, and North America. There is a section for contemporary blown glass and another for "mystery" glass.

          All items are priced for sale and have images of the pieces from multiple angles. Each photo shows a side view, an overhead view, a view of the bottom, and if signed, a view of the signature.

          The owner of this site is Laura Friedman, who describes herself as an avid glass collector. She states that her prices are sometimes negotiable, and she asks that you make an offer if you are interested in an item but don't want to pay the asking price. After items are displayed on the site for a while, she lists the glass on eBay. Additionally, she wants to buy your glass so feel free to contact her with one piece or an entire collection. Her links page will take you to other mid-century glass sites.




       The American Society of Bookplate Designers and Collectors tells us that bookplates are placed inside the book to identify the owner. They have been around since the fifteenth century, and are also known as Ex Libris.

          Many artists of note have designed the art for these bookplates. Some of the artists whose work can be seen on bookplates are Albrecht Dürer, Thomas Bewick, Paul Revere, Kate Greenaway, Aubrey Beardsley, Marc Chagall, M.C. Escher, Rockwell Kent, Leonard Baskin, and Barry Moser.

          The bookplates can be made from woodcuts, metal engravings, silkscreen, etching, pen and ink drawings, or lithographs. They are, in fact, small pieces of art themselves; some can become quite valuable. Most, however, are very affordable, some costing only the price of the book they are pasted into.

          Posted on the site is the Ex Libris Chronicle, a journal with articles of interest to bookplate collectors. Also of interest to you will be the links the site provides. The Art of Ex Libris will take you to an international directory of Ex Libris Societies. Another link will bring up a listing of heraldic bookplates. Another link of possible interest is the link to the wood engravers network that will teach you much about the art of wood engraving. The link to the Beethoven Ex Libris Society takes you to a site that is trying to catalogue all the bookplates that have images of Beethoven and other music related bookplates.

          Membership in The American Society of Bookplate Designers and Collectors costs $85.00 per year. Members receive the Ex Libris Chronicle, the annual Year Book, and an assortment of bookplate publications of interest.     





The Daguerreotype

          The Daguerrian Society's site offers much information and many images concerning this early form of photography, and they offer you your choice of music while you browse. You can choose between period and contemporary music. A second browser window will open and the music will start to play in a few seconds. Simply close the second window to make the music stop.

          The site starts with a gallery of images, but the real meat will be found in their resources section. Here you will find a history of the daguerreotype and an extensive bibliography for further study. Many of the sources are from original 19th century articles. There is much to be read and learned here.

          The inventor credited with the daguerreotype was French artist Louis Daguerre who was born in 1787. He worked for many years trying to perfect the process. For a time he had a partner named Joseph Niepce, but Niepce died before the process was successfully completed. The process was first publicized in 1839 and apparently caught on with the French public right away.

          The Daguerrian society invites you to join its 900 members who all have a deep interest in the subject. Of special interest to members is the society newsletter, which is published six times a year. Each newsletter includes previously unpublished daguerreotypes. Another benefit of membership is the annual four-day fall symposium which features presentations, discussions, and the benefit of gathering with those who share your interests.


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