[Photo by Hickey-Robertson from the Southern Accents book, Accents on Accessories.]
Sorry about the distracting crease. As you can see, this is a photo of a photo in an open book. It's popped up here before, but today I wanted to draw attention to a detail -- the delicate Arts and Crafts candelabra. With the V & A organized show, The Cult of Beauty, opening at San Francisco's Legion of Honor February 18, I've been reading the exhibition catalogue and looking at a lot of flat, stylized blossoms: Japanese-inspired chrysanthemums and Thomas Jeckyll's metal sunflowers, specifically.
In the U.S., the Arts and Crafts movement grew out of England's late Victorian Aestheticism. What interests me most about the trend on this side of the pond is the opportunities it afforded women -- chances to earn money working in the decorative arts, typically with ceramics, textiles, and metalwork. (We've talked about one of the most famous examples before: Newcomb Pottery. At Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans, young women often interpreted iconic Southern trees and flowers in a flattened, Asian-inspired style.)
The contemporary mashup above, with the candelabra flanking a 1928 painting by American avant-garde painter Alfred Maurer, helps me appreciate the shimmering metal pieces more, I think, than if they were in a full-on Arts and Crafts setting. It's like judging a person on her own merits instead of automatically lumping her in with a crowd. (BTW, the smaller painting is by Albert Andre.)