8.15.2014

Sexiest Men (no longer) Alive (UPDATE)


Baron von Richthofen, c 1917
80 direct hits. Need I say more?
Early aviator Harry Atwood, c 1910
Not exactly my type but flyboy's got something, too.

 Reverand Rollin Heber Neale, 1850
That is one nasty preacherman.
William Sydney Mount, 1853
A dastardly lout, a cad, a rogue. Tell me more.
Julius Caesar
Proving that sexy is ageless even at 2000+. Vici indeed.
Walter Sickert, about 1918
Walter Sickert is bad news in the best possible way.
Commander in Armor, Anthony van Dyck, c. 1625
Long lush hair, beautiful features, armor. Winning!
Vsevolod Garshin, Ilya Repin, 1884
Ok he seems like a mess but you know you'd want to help him edit his work, get him some new clothes and cook for him.
Adrien Brody would play him in the movie.
Theodore Gericault, Horace Vernet, 1822-23
He painted severed limbs, ship wrecks and the insane and he had tuberculosis. Quite a handful. Then again he looked like this.

Three Men and a Boy, le Nain brothers, 1647-8
Dark, sketchy, satiny long-haired fellows—lets have a beer and discuss.

self portrait?, Michael Sweerts, 1656
Sensitive, moony, he'd leave you love notes and give back rubs. They dont all have to be bad boys.
Portrait of a man against flames, Isaac Oliver, about 1600
The flames, the shirt down to there, the jewelry, this guy is almost too showy for his own good.
Were women throwing their farthingales and drawers at him?
first cousins, the future Tsar Nicholas and King George V
Sporting fellows if ever there were! Double date!
Albert of Belgium, about 1917
Impeccably turned out for trench warfare; he can carry me to safety anytime.
Anton Chekhov, 1890s
Weasly, but then again...
a tailor, Giovanni Battista Moroni, 1565-70
Turbulence beneath the calm, no mere shopkeeper, he.
The heart of an artist strains beneath that finicky, micro-slashed doublet.

I see Jeremy Irons in the movie.

William Hogarth, Louis-Fran├žois Roubiliac, c 1740
Hogarth is more of a runner-up but I do love this bust. 
He's got a laddish humor and pugilistic intensity that wouldnt be out of place in a Guy Ritchie film.
NEW! Daniel Trembly MacDougal (1865-1958), botanist and tree ring expert.
He'd go to the green market to get you flowers and fill you in on the taxonomical nomenclature

UPDATE! We have a new historical dead boyfriend! Thanks to Mia:
A lady could do worse than Daniel Trembly MacDougal!
MacDougal (1865-1958) began working at the New York Botanical Garden in 1899 as Director of the Laboratories and was promoted in 1904 to an Assistant Directorship. He was recognized as the leading American authority on desert ecology and one of the earliest botanists to research chlorophyll. He is also known as the inventor of the MacDougal dendrograph, an instrument used for recording changes in the volume of tree trunks.
I've been collecting them on and off, images of men that seem incredibly appealing to me despite the century or two (or several) that might separate us. It started with that photo of Chekhov. Something about the greatcoat and the reed slim cane and that cocky, short man sensibility...  You may remember the electrifying Reverend Neale and the darkly dangerous Mr. William Sydney Mount from my Sartorialist, 1850s Edition post.


This is merely a trifling survey and part of on-going research... A good Regency-era Romantic is a must and I am certainly forgetting some entrancing 18th century fellow so please do let me know who should be on this list.

Where is William Powell you might ask? Or Kurt Cobain? or any number of too-recent, too-recognized, or too-well-publicized men who could surely otherwise be on a list of Sexiest Dead Men? Well, this is an inexact science but I'd say they need to have been in their sexy heyday the better part of a century ago to make it to my list.


PS: Someone asked why I skipped Lord Byron. I have to report that his reputation always seemed more attractive to me than he did.

8.08.2014

Letter Perfect

above and below, two dramatically different Journal covers by the (Brooklyn!) master penman William E. Dennis (1860-1924).
Volumetric, constructed lettering with elaborate shadowing had its heyday in the 1890s to early 1900s.
Beautiful examples were found on stock certificates and maps (see BibliOdyssey for a collection of Sanborn map details)

No Bezier curves here!
 
Charles Paxton Zaner
A Journal cover created by a lesser hand (in my opinion) employing the ubiquitous
calligraphic bird flourish, a common practice device.
The penmen all too often literally "put a bird on it."
Much of what penman were hired for were business documents like these checks and vouchers.
This has hand written directions for the engraver and electrotyper.
Rules for drawing drop shadows
Commemorative cartouche for Ulysses S Grant, and "President" detail by Daniel T. Ames, 1868.
I believe Ames created the large ornament-choked plaque that still exists in the lobby of
the original Cooper Union building. Mid-nineteenth century lettering is usually fussier than later examples,
and typically employed more flourishes and scrollwork.
The Zaner-Bloser Collection at the University of Scranton is one of the largest collections of American ornamental penmanship of the later 19th and early 20th centuries.

The company was founded in 1888 by Charles Paxton Zaner as the Zanerian School of Penmanship. Elmer W. Bloser purchased a share of the company in 1891 and in 1895 the school changed its name to the Zaner-Bloser Company. They began publishing their own penmanship manuals. The school prepared students for careers as penmen. Penmen were essential to business, preparing legal vouchers, monetary notes, ledgers, writing correspondence and creating documents before the invention of the typewriter. They also created most advertising display lettering. Zaner-Bloser also taught students to become illustrators, engravers, and engrossers. Engrossing is the type of ornamental lettering used on diplomas, commemorative documents, and certificates. To my astonishment, Zaner-Bloser is still in business and--swimming against the proverbial tide--continues penmanship instruction today.



The Scranton collection is incredible and includes professional journals, hand writing manuals, instructional material for children, photographs of children learning to write, scrapbooks containing examples of ornamental penmanship done by master penmen and more. A good portion of this is digitized and downloadable in large sizes!

8.06.2014

Madoo*

Gingko and boxwood at Madoo Conservancy
The gingko grove at Madoo is underplanted with boxwood trimmed into balls.
The plantings invade the path in an intriguing breaking-the-fourth-wall sort of way.
brightly painted details are part of Madoo's personal, idiosyncratic charm
photo by Madoo Conservancy
the Chinese bridge with vintage Lloyd Loom bench
 
 
The garden paths all vary—each with different inlays.
These are slices of telephone poles.
Inside Dash's "summer house": hand-splattered floors and painted wicker
the painting studio
Bob Dash, Rain Across Sage Fields, 1975
Bob Dash, Pasture on the Hill, 1964
Bob Dash, The Terrace, 1975
Dash in the garden, photo by Madoo Conservancy
the late Robert Dash--Edible East End
Robert Dash in the summer studio building, 2009, photo by Edible East End
Madoo, the petite and poetic garden tucked away in Sagaponack on the South Fork of Long Island, is the legacy of the late Robert Dash, poet, painter, gardener, eccentric personality and acerbic wit. It's just shy of two acres but brimming with personal flourishes and historical references. The now verdant hideaway was barren land when Dash stumbled upon the property in 1967. Only a few ramshackle 18th and 19th century barns and out buildings delineated the plot which sat amidst neighboring potato farms. Dash set about creating the garden “blunder by blunder, increment by increment,” moving and renovating the buildings, adding antiques, statuary, cast-offs—fashioning enchanting tableaux in miniature along meandering pathways. It is this labyrinthine quality that imparts an Alice in Wonderland feel. Within its compact confines, Madoo features a "summer studio", the winter house, a "knot garden" (ground cover clipped into a woven motif) based on Tudor designs, a rose walk and rill complete with forced perspective, a quincunx bed, and an herb and vegetable kitchen garden recalling medieval potagers, among other highlights. The garden's "ever-changing" roster brings together roses, elephant garlic, yews, laburnum with ivy and clematis, ginkos and boxwood, and asparagus left to feather. I know next to nothing about gardening but it was just this mashup of high and low, historical and whimsical that enchanted me. Director Alejandro Saralegui, who gave me a personal tour in June, keeps Madoo a vibrant cultural presence with classes, tours, and events.

Dash was a poet -- starting off in the Beat era of the 1950s and 60s—and a self-taught painter of some renown. There is a show of the work of Dash and Fairfield Porter (a friend) at the Parrish Art Museum in WatermIll, through October 26.

*Madoo is "my dove" in Old Scots.

Madoo Conservancy, 618 Sagg Main Street, Sagaponack, NY 11962 (631) 537-8201
Madoo Conservancy PO Box 362/618 Sagg Main Street Sagaponack, NY 119 - See more at: http://www.madoo.org/#sthash.Rbik05GT.dpuf
The Madoo Conservancy PO Box 362/618 Sagg Main Street Sagaponack, NY 11962 Tel. (631) 537-8200 - See more at: http://www.madoo.org/#sthash.Rbik05GT.dpuf
The Madoo Conservancy PO Box 362/618 Sagg Main Street Sagaponack, NY 11962 Tel. (631) 537-8200 - See more at: http://www.madoo.org/#sthash.Rbik05GT.dpuf

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