Friday, August 27, 2010
I have a thing for finials and urns, and sometimes I hit the jackpot and find both in the same object. I found this wooden finial recently at a St. Petersburg antique shop. The carved flame and wreath base made it a must-have. Incidentally, the correct description of the grooves, as they would apply to columns, is "serpentine fluting."
The base has one corner that needs to be repaired. It looks as though there might have been a struggle to pry it from its last home, but how fortunate that there was no further damage.
How is it that some of us are so drawn to certain iconic shapes and objects? Is it due to genes, past lives at Versailles, teachers, our environment? I have no doubt that part of my attraction for things classical is because – when I was just out of toddlerhood – I spent many hours following my grandfather as he methodically documented Washington, D. C.'s National Gallery. He used a Zeiss Ikon, always shot in black and white, and always printed on a heavy matte paper. Like the one above, his images were rich in contrast and all these years later, still wonderful to study. This is a detail of an ornamental urn by the French sculptor Claude Michel, known as Clodion. It was carved in 1785.