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What was the Art Deco style originally known as?

Style Moderne
Streamlined Moderne
Arte Moderne.
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Art Deco Collectibles: Fashionable Objets from the Jazz Age
by Rodney Capstick-Dale &
Diana Capstick-Dale

In the 1920s and 1930s the Art Deco style influenced everything from art and architecture, interiors and furnishings, automobiles and boats to the small, personal objects that were part of everyday life: Featuring high-quality photography and vintage illustrations and ephemera, this book brings these objects to life in exquisite detail for the first time. The objects in this themed book encompass the Deco style at its most alluring, as well as the modernity, excitement, and social revolution of the Jazz Age.

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French Art Deco Geometric Brooch

The Folksy Art of Painted Toleware
by Bob Brooke


During the 17th and 18th centuries, tinware in a variety of forms—candleholders, trays, kitchenware, and more—could be found in many homes. And while it was popular, it had a major drawback—rust.

Welshman John Hanbury discovered a way to prevent rust on tinware. He invented a method of “japanning” tin so that it wouldn’t rust, a major breakthrough in solving this common problem. He had a metalware business in Pontypool, Wales, where he produced tin trays and other utilitarian objects that were very popular. Hanbury coated the painted tin surface with a mixture of asphalt and shellac and named the process “japanning” because the glossy surface resembled the lacquer on Japanese trays.

Instead of tin, Hanbury made his trays and other pieces of painted pewter, making them quite expensive. Distinguished by lacy openwork rims, Pontypool toleware trays are still some of the most sought after by collectors. His intention was to imitate the exotic lacquered items from Japan. Makers of toleware from this time was most often decorated their pieces in the chinoiserie style, depicting Asian scenes on a black background.

Eventually, the French created their own version of toleware called “Tole Peinte du lac,” French for “painted sheet metal. Using a superior varnish such as vernis martin, they designed and created true works of art, using bright colored backgrounds with a variety of decorations. They produced stately urns, jardinieres, and trays, each carefully hand painted by artists. And while toleware began as a way to prevent common household objects from rusting, but eventually became an folk art form of its own.

Toleware in the United States
By the early to mid 18th century, the English had begun to manufacture painted tin, which they shipped to the Colonies. As with many imported items, American tradesmen and artists soon began to produce toleware. Irish brothers Edward and William Patterson, who had settled in Berlin, Connecticut in 1740, made hand shaped cooking utensils which they sold door to door. A 1749 English law forbade the production of tin in America, so initially they imported it from England, even with importing costs, their business flourished.

After the American Revolution, Colonial tinsmiths made beautifully hand painted trays for the wealthy, and shiny, unpainted and uncoated trays for those with lower incomes..

By the late 18th century, tinsmiths decorated their wares before selling them. Family workshops in Connecticut, Maine, New York and Pennsylvania produced toleware for sale. The men worked the tin and sold it after it was finished by the women who “flowered” or decorated the pieces with beautiful hand painted designs.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, American companies like Plymouth, Nashco, Pilgrim and Fine Arts Studio produced trays that artists hand painted using an assembly line method, using the distinctive one stroke method. An experienced artist loaded a brush with one or more colors of paint then applied it to the metal in a single stroke, creating shading and depth to a flower, leaf or other decoration. Experienced artists, mostly men, painted these “studio trays” were beautiful, and painted by accomplished artists, mostly men. Some of the more famous artists from this time period are Paul Dennis, Van, Fred Austin and Francis.

When speaking of toleware, antique dealers and collectors refer to kitchen objects created from metal, typically tin or thin steel, in decorative styles such as Arts and Crafts and Pennsylvania Dutch. Though decorative painting on these items is common, it isn’t necessary.

Tray prices can range from $35.00 to thousands, depending on age, condition, subject matter, and the quality of the painted decoration. Some of the more popular pieces of toleware include shades for bouilotte lamps and other candle shades, as well as trays and lidded canisters, in which stenciling and gilding has been done on a black ground.

Collectors look for unusual colors, what they collect differs as much as toleware pieces differ from each other. Some collect only Chinoiserie, pieces with mother of pearl inlay, roses, only black trays, or only French, or English, or American objects, for instance. Collectors look for pieces that don’t have damage on the painted scenes or decorations, these will always be more collectible and worth more than objects where part of the hand painted embellishment is peeling or damaged.

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