The mirror has been in existence almost as long as humankind. By legend, the first mirror was formed in the ancient Himalayas when a little brook tarried to rest itself, as if to ponder and reflect upon its course. Thereby, in time, the first woman walked and looking down into the pool was surprised by—another girl!—which she slowly came to understand as a reflection of herself.
Duncan Phyfe, cabinetmaker, designed furniture just about 200 years ago. Yet his name, more than that of any other furniture maker in our history, embodies fine craftsmanship—fine American craftsmanship. His name has been whispered reverentially in art museums for decades, alongside the creators of the finest oil paintings and best porcelains. His is a legacy and a “brand” that tastemakers today would die for.
Almost all historical sources believe that the Ball & Claw design was derived from the Chinese: a dragon’s claw grasping a crystal ball, or a pearl, or sometimes a scared, flaming jewel. In Chinese mythology, the dragon (Emperor) would be guarding (with the triple claw foot) the symbol (ball - for wisdom, or purity) from evil forces trying to steal it.
Often while researching furniture design, people do not know exactly which designer they are looking for, when the designer lived, in what country, or how most furniture historians describe the designer’s style. Bienenstock Furniture Library offers this reference to help you to find the design information you seek.
When we see an Apple logo on our smart phone, we don’t think fruit, we think cutting-edge devices. When we see Starbucks’ green mermaid with long wavy locks, we don’t think sea creatures, we think a cool place for cappuccinos. And when citizens of America and Europe in the 18th century saw urns, they didn’t think funerals and ashes, they thought noble simplicity, beauty, and reason.
I am a firm believer that yes, in this digital age, we still need books, libraries and bookcases. As Mark Lamster points out in "Still Here, Metropolis", libraries remain vital places. Many of them are more crowded than ever as people come to study, work together, consult with experts, and to discover rare and hard-to-find books.