Emma Testerman, Author at Thomaston Auction

When it comes to high-end jewelry, auction houses are the best sources to go to. Beyond the glitter and grandeur of these events lies a language all its own — a lexicon of terms that can make or break a sale, and can turn an ordinary necklace into an extraordinary masterpiece.

In this beginning segment called ‘Bling’s Anatomy,’ we'll explore the important anatomy of jewelry, and unravel just how vital the terminology is.

Whether you're a passionate collector, an aspiring buyer, or simply someone who appreciates that gemstone shine, understanding jewelry terminology can unlock a world of possibilities.

There are three major categories that all jewelry collectors, as well as makers, must know by heart: Setting, Clasp, and Chain Type.

All jewelry pieces begin and end with the clasp, and is a key fixture in all accessories, from cufflinks, to necklaces, to bracelets and earrings. While we have seen an array of clasps, chains, and settings that are modified or mixed, we will focus on the most popular styles that come through our gallery.

Spring Ring

This is one of the top most common clasps in jewelry, along with the lobster claw. It’s  relatively simple and is designed to be inexpensive in bulk for jewelry creators, but with precious metals like platinum or gold, it can drastically increase the value of the jewelry piece.

There is a reason this is the most common in jewelry creation, as used in this pearl necklace we sold years ago.

Lobster Claw

This is another extremely popular clasp used in jewelry, and by far a favorite for many jewelry makers! A fun design and easier to use compared to the spring ring, the lobster claw is also known as the trigger hook or my personal favorite, the bocklebee clasp!

            A great example of the iconic lobster claw clasp would include this diamond and yellow gold bracelet we sold.

Box Clasp
            Box clasps are quite common in estate and high-end jewelry, as these clasps can morph into a hidden clasp with any surface designs or decorations. The chain or bar on the opposing side of the necklace, or bracelet, is placed within the teeth of the bar and clamps tightly. Compared to the two previous clasps, the box is the most secure and optimal choice for many jewelry enthusiasts.

An example of a box clasp is this platinum and diamond encrusted bracelet by Cartier.

            While commonly used in fashion jewelry and less so in high-end or estate accessories, the toggle is another favorite by enthusiasts as it's the easiest clasp to adjust and wear. These are mostly seen on bracelets, but necklaces can sport a stylish toggle as well. The toggle provides a unique and fun personality compared to the others, and can be treated as a secondary pendant.

A great example of a toggle clasp is this 14k yellow gold charm bracelet.


Seen frequently with high-end jewelry and desired by most, if not all, jewelry collectors, hidden clasps provide top-tier security as well as maintain the gleam and extravagance of the piece. Usually these hidden clasps are designed to appear as the main centerpiece or are hidden as one of the many beads or chains.

(And because of this, we occasionally have to help previewers in the gallery because they’re so neatly hidden within a bracelet or necklace. Sometimes even we can’t find them at first!)

Jewelry setting can definitely make or break the entire ensemble. Every gemstone that’s cut and placed for a necklace, ring, or bracelet will define the overall allure of the piece. If you’re in the throng of people who are currently looking for wedding bands in time for the season, these terms are of high importance depending on the ring you’re looking for!

This is also where the buyer’s tastes highly affect the popularity of the jewelry piece as well, as the gem’s foundation can affect that final bid.

A bezel setting is something most jewelers are quite familiar with, as well as prong and channel settings. It is a secured groove holding the crystal or stone, a pretty basic form of a jewelry setting.

These two gold and diamond earrings with white gold bezels show the detail of the setting.

Prong settings are often seen in rings, especially engagement rings. The tongs, or ‘prongs,’ form a secure claw that holds the gemstone or crystal above the band. This allows light to create a more dazzling effect on jewelry compared to bezel, bar or gypsy settings. You can see an example of prong settings within this gold, diamond and sapphire bracelet we sold in a past auction.

This is also a common form for engagement rings, as the illusion settings create an effect where the diamonds (or stones in general) appear larger than they actually are. Along with the metalwork of the band, there is a mirror effect that evokes a more dazzling tone for the wearer. It also uses some forms of the bezel setting, too.
            A great example of an illusion setting includes this white gold engagement ring with diamonds.

This is also known as a flush or burnish setting, and is when the gemstone is set into the metal of the band or chain. This is one of the oldest forms of jewelry setting known in the world, you will often find ancient Roman, Greek or Byzantine jewelry with this type of embellishment!
            In modern day, they are quite popular for men’s jewelry, and are the most secure and preserve the stone’s surface clarity.
            You can see the gypsy settings of diamonds within this men’s platinum ring we sold a while ago.

Common in eternity bands and rings, bar settings are quite easy to spot for beginning collectors and enthusiasts, as they have inset stones separated by the band’s metal in a ‘bar’ shape. For those seeking the most security and durability for their jewelry, this would be a premium choice.

An example includes this 14k wedding band with diamond stones we sold in the past.

Channel settings are by far one of the most popular jewelry settings across not just rings, but also bracelets and necklaces. These offer a sleek and sophisticated appearance with their geometric patterns and uniform shapes, and are known to be quite durable through time and wear.

A great example of channel set jewelry we sold includes this lot of men’s yellow gold cufflinks, bedazzled with sapphires and diamonds.

Pronounced, ‘pah-vay,’ is a fun jewelry setting that uses tiny gemstones, usually diamonds, across the body of the jewelry piece in a tight design, much like a paved street. Hence the name, derived from the French word for ‘paved.’

Pavé is a popular setting style for those looking for bright, dazzling and glamorous appeal. The louder, the more prouder!

Finally, we get to the most essential element of all jewelry terminology, it’s the chain. The chain, much like the setting, defines the overall style, cost, and allure of the piece. Obviously, there is a multitude of chain styles, but the most common and popular you’ll see within auction galleries and jewelry boutiques are the ones that follow below.

A popular choice among necklaces, herringbone is also known as the ‘broken twill weave.’ This style of chain bears an iconic V-shape design. It received its name for its similarity to that of the skeleton of a herring fish.

A dazzling example of herringbone chains include this gold bracelet with diamonds, pearls and sapphires.

This type of chain is quite literally a box-style chain, with square or rectangular links throughout. Smooth and sleek, this style is pendant friendly for necklaces and typically feature lobster, box or illusion clasps.

This pearl and gold pendant seen below dangles off a box chain necklace, which sold in a previous auction years ago.


Again, a very straight-to-the-point name, it resembles much like an electric cable.  By far the most durable of all chains, and come in various thickness levels. Due to their sturdy and minimalistic design, it’s also the easiest for owners or jewelers to clean.

This yellow gold bracelet is mostly just a cable chain.


Rope chains are easy to discern due to their twisting design, resembling a rope or cord. This chain design is popular with collectors and makers, and is a classic and timeless piece for any wardrobe. Unlike the cable chain, rope chains do take more time to clean, but overall are the easiest to maintain in good condition.

This long 18k yellow gold chain sold at auction a while back for $4,000.


Finally, the last but certainly not least of them all, the curb chain contains flat, interlocking links that create a smooth and classic design. There are a variety of styles for curb chains, and are often seen in popular culture worn by celebrities, singers and entertainers to display their wealth and style. They are extremely versatile and are easy to maintain and clean.

This diamond and yellow gold necklace sold in a past auction years ago for $12,000.

In another upcoming blog post, we will follow up the Bling’s Anatomy series with gemstone cuts and the creative hybrids behind them.

If you find yourself hoping to acquire more estate jewelry pieces to add to your collection or wardrobe, feel free to sign up for our e-newsletters and be the first notified of any and all special jewelry lots coming up soon! Or, if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and looking to consign jewelry to an auction house near you, you can email our appraisal team at appraisal@thomastonauction.com or stop by for Free Appraisal Day every Tuesday. Check out our Free Appraisal Day page on our website to view our morning and afternoon session times.

Pottery is a timeless collectible and art form that has continuously prospered since the dawn of human civilization. It comes as no surprise that it still holds an iron grip in the art market, let alone within antique dealerships and auction galleries like ours.

If you’re starting to get into collecting, making, or learning more about pottery, we can provide a list of our most popular forms of pottery that we see come through our gallery.


Wedgwood is an English fine china and porcelain created by Josiah Wedgwood and Sons in 1895. Its rapid success made it one of the largest manufacturers of Staffordshire pottery.

Many collectors would know Wedgwood just by looking at it, especially with its iconic Jasperware, which has an unglazed exterior and often displays Roman or Greek classical figures.

A great example of Wedgwood is this 19th c. Blue Jasperware Portland Vase with Classical figures, which sold in our March 2019 auction for $1,930.


Rookwood stems from the American company, Rookwood Pottery.

During its popular years, it was a recognized manufacturer of decorative American art pottery and sought after by not just artisans but architects as well. The company was hit hard by the Great Depression and rapidly declined. It has since seen a resurgence in collector admiration in recent years.

A fine example would be this Vellum Glaze Vase decorated by A.R. Valentien, which sold in our August 2013 feature auction for $26,267.


Earthenware is made from clay that is fired at a relatively low temperature. It's one of the oldest and most common types of pottery found around the world. The clay used for earthenware is usually red or brown.

Earthenware has a porous structure, meaning it has tiny holes that can absorb water. This makes it less watertight compared to other types of pottery.

To make it more waterproof, a layer of glaze can be applied to the surface before the final firing. The glaze is a special liquid that, when fired, forms a glassy coating on the pottery, sealing the pores and making it more suitable for holding liquids.

A fine example would be this 16th-17th c Tin-Glazed Earthenware Bracket, which sold in our January 2012 auction for $2,300.


Mochaware originated in the late 18th century and is known for its distinctive swirled or marbled patterns. The name "mochaware" comes from the word "mocha," which refers to the port in Yemen where the pottery was believed to have been traded.

Creating mochaware involves a unique technique called "mocha diffusion." To begin, a potter starts with a vessel made of earthenware clay, such as a bowl or a mug. The potter then applies different colors of liquid clay, called slip, onto the surface of the vessel.

Using a tool, the potter drags or swirls the slip on the surface, creating the characteristic patterns. The slip colors can be layered, allowing the potter to create intricate designs.

After the slip decoration is complete, the pottery is fired at a relatively low temperature. The firing process causes the clay to harden and the slip to fuse with the vessel, creating a durable and decorative piece of pottery.

Mochaware was especially popular during the late 18th and early 19th centuries in England and the U.S. It was often used as tableware and prized for its visually appealing patterns.

Today, antique mochaware is highly sought after by collectors, and contemporary potters continue to create modern interpretations of this distinctive style.

A great example would be this Earthworm Pattern Bowl, which sold in our July 2023 feature auction for $700.


Spongeware gets its name from the technique used to create its pattern. The pattern resembles a sponge texture by applying paint or glaze using a sponge-like tool.

After the application of the sponged pattern, the pottery is fired in a kiln, which hardens the clay and sets the glaze or paint. This firing process gives the pottery its durability and makes it safe for use.

Spongeware is known for its rustic appearance. The technique allows for endless possibilities in terms of color combinations and patterns, making each piece unique.

Spongeware has a long history, dating back to the 18th century, and has been popular in different parts of the world. It continues to be appreciated today for its nostalgic aesthetic, adding a touch of character to any setting.

A great example would be this lot of 19th c. Stoneware Lemonade Pitchers, which sold in our August 2013 feature auction for $2,170.


Agateware is known for its marbled patterns, similar to the natural patterns found in agate stones. It is created by combining different colored clays or clay bodies together, resulting in a unique and eye-catching appearance.

Potters start with two or more clay bodies of different colors. These clay bodies can be natural or clay mixed with pigments. The clays are kneaded together to create a uniform consistency.

The potter then shapes them into various forms. The potter can choose to layer the clays, stack them, or swirl them together to create the desired pattern.

After shaping the clay, the pottery is typically left to dry to a leather-hard state. At this stage, the potter can refine the form and add any additional details or textures.

Finally, the agateware is fired. The firing process vitrifies the clay, transforming it into a durable material. The temperature and duration of the firing depend on the specific type of clay used.

Agateware has been practiced by various cultures throughout history. It continues to be appreciated for its striking appearance.

A fine example would be this Large Deep Fruit Bowl which sold in our February 2019 feature auction for $250.


Staffordshire refers to a type of ceramic ware that originated in England. It became popular during the 18th and 19th centuries, and played a significant role in the development of the ceramics industry.

Staffordshire encompasses a wide range of products, including dinnerware, figurines, decorative items, and tiles. These items were made using different types of clay, such as earthenware or porcelain, and were often decorated with colorful glazes or painted designs.

One of the most notable aspects is the production of Staffordshire  figurines, often referred to as Staffordshire figures or dogs. These figurines depicted animals, historical figures, or scenes from everyday life. They were mass-produced and affordable, making them popular for middle-class households.

Staffordshire also played a significant role in the development of transfer printing, a technique that allowed intricate designs to be applied to ceramics using engraved copper plates. This method revolutionized the ceramics industry, enabling the mass production of highly detailed and affordable wares.

The popularity of Staffordshire extended beyond England, with its products being exported worldwide. The ceramics from Staffordshire became a prominent feature in many households, contributing to the cultural and artistic heritage of the region. Today, Staffordshire is highly collectible, and antique pieces can be found in museums and private collections.

A great example would be this lot of five hand painted Staffordshire hens on baskets, which sold in our August 2010 feature auction for $2,500.


Blackware is known for, as its name states, its rich black color. (Same goes for similar colors like yellowware, redware, etc.)

It is created using a specific firing technique that involves restricting the oxygen supply during the firing process. This lack of oxygen causes the clay to turn black instead of a natural color.

To make blackware pottery, a potter starts with clay that has a high iron content. The clay is shaped into the desired form, such as a bowl or a vase. The pottery is then dried completely before it is placed in a kiln.

While firing, the potter controls the oxygen supply to the kiln. By reducing the amount of oxygen, the clay is prevented from fully oxidizing, resulting in a blackened color.

Blackware has a long history and has been created by different cultures throughout time. It is associated with various indigenous regions, including Southwest Native Americans from the U.S. and pre-Columbian tribes from Mesoamerica. It is often appreciated for its elegance and versatility, and blackware pieces can be found in both functional and decorative forms.

A great example would be this San Idelfonso Blackware Bowl by Maria Martinez & Popovi Da, which sold in a June 2013 auction for $2,100.


Spatterware is known for its colorful and speckled appearance. It gets its name from the splattering technique used to create its distinctive patterns.

The potter, once done crafting and glazing their piece, takes another glaze color and flicks it onto the surface of the pottery using a brush or sponge. This process creates tiny specks or splatters of color that scatter across the base glaze. Once the pattern is finished, the pottery is then fired.

Spatterware has a playful aesthetic, reminiscent of confetti or paint splatters. It can be found in a variety of forms, from tableware like plates and mugs to decorative items like vases and jars. It is often celebrated for its lively and whimsical appearance, adding a touch of fun and color to any setting.

A fine example would be this 19th c. Soft Paste set, which sold in our August 2013 feature auction for $805.


Basalt pottery is made from a type of volcanic rock, called basalt. Basalt is dark-colored, dense, and hard, which forms from the solidification of lava flows. When used in pottery, it creates durable ceramics.

To make basalt pottery, a potter starts by obtaining basalt rocks and grinding them into a powder. The powder is then mixed with water to form a clay-like consistency.

The firing process transforms the basalt clay into a vitrified, or glass-like, material. It strengthens the pottery, making it resistant to heat and provides durability.

Basalt often retains the natural dark color of the basalt rock, giving it a sleek and elegant appearance.

Basalt is appreciated for its unique aesthetic and the striking contrast it can create when paired with other materials or colors. It is commonly used for decorative purposes. The use of basalt in pottery adds a touch of nature and strength to ceramic creations.

A great example would be this set of three Greek vases, which sold in a February 2013 feature auction for $6,641.

Obviously, this is just a smidgen of what kinds of ceramic and pottery creations you can discover at any auction gallery, but certainly these are bidder favorites! Which are you most interested in?

Would you like to see a similar blog post on antique collectible glassware or woodwork? Let us know!

If anyone remembers our first feature auction of 2023, Winter Enchantment, they may recall that we offered and sold a multitude of William H.D. Koerner paintings. For those fans of the American painter and illustrator, you’re in luck! Not only do we have a great selection for July Splendor, but also our next feature auction, August Grandeur.

For those, however, who don’t know Koerner or his work, you’re probably wondering: What’s the big deal? What’s the hype behind him? Well, besides the fact that he’s the guy who dominated the art world of the American West, and grew in recognized fame even further once former Pres. George W. Bush hung a painting by him called, ‘A Charge to Keep,’ in the Oval Office.

But let’s delve further into what makes Koerner such a worthwhile and noteworthy artist of our country’s history.

William Henry Dethlef Koerner was born as Wilhelm Heinrich Detlev Körner November 1878 in Prussia. At three years old, his family immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Clinton, Iowa. Despite his lack of artistic training, his illustrative skills and sketches were noted by his family as he grew up.

By the time he was 20 years old, Koerner found employment at the Chicago Tribune as an artist, and then quickly moved on to become an art editor at the United States Daily. Once that paper fell out of business, he and his wife moved to New York City, where he worked at Pilgrim Magazine.

Koerner later enrolled at the Art Students League, then applied and was accepted into Howard Pyle's illustration school in Wilmington.

As he studied under Pyle’s mentorship, he shared his own skills and knowledge with other students, including Stanley Arthurs, Harvey Dunn, Frank Schoonover and N.C. Wyeth.

In 1912, the first exhibition by Pyle's students was presented to the public, and Koerner's works were a popular attraction and he gained significant traction by the audience and critics alike.

In 1919, the Saturday Evening Post invited Koerner to illustrate two articles with Western themes, which propelled him further into his art career. Koerner was captivated with the American West once he took on the role, and soon became one of America’s most recognizable artists.

Koerner illustrated more than 200 stories with Western themes and painted over 600 pictures for periodicals.

It is estimated he completed nearly 2,000 illustrations of which about 1,800 were done for magazines.

Maxfield Parrish influenced Koerner's color theory. Parrish illustrated "The Great Southwest" articles by Raymond Stannard Baker which appeared in Century Magazine.

A prolific and versatile artist-illustrator, "Big Bill" Koerner's work gained considerable visibility through his cover and story illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, The Ladies' Home Journal, Harper's Magazine, McClure's Magazine, American Magazine, Cosmopolitan and Redbook.

At the time of his death in 1938 at 58, the artist received commissions for over 500 paintings and completed drawings for more than 200 western-themed stories. Each week he produced at least one full oil, a head, and a vignette.

During the last three years of his life, Koerner was seriously ill and unable to paint.

Koerner's illustrations are compared with those of Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, Philip R. Goodwin, and Harvey Dunn. They are known for his bold brushwork with a vibrant color palette which enabled his vigorous depictions of the "Great American West," emblematic images of those untamed territories.

We are very lucky to have such an array of gorgeous pieces by Koerner, and most sold at astonishing prices. In our Winter Enchantment 2023 feature auction, this painting by him entitled, “When Christian Burned the Bounty,” sold for $10,000.

In our approaching July Summer Splendor auction, we will have five more gorgeous paintings available for bidding, including this somber piece entitled, “The White Geese.”

Our Koerner pieces in this sale will be available for bidding Sunday, July 9, by Lots 3417 to 3421. We highly recommend being an in-person, absentee or phone bidder for these paintings, as we’ve noticed that Koerner is seeing a resurgence in popularity between museums, galleries and collectors alike!

And just a little teaser for our August Grandeur feature auction, which will be held Aug. 25 - 27, we will have the last of our Koerner paintings embellished throughout the sale, including this stunner entitled, “Women of Pitcairn Island,” based off a scene from the book by James Hall and Charles Nordhoff.

Excited to see our next 21 paintings by Koerner this August? Sign up for special interest alerts by emailing our Marketing Associate and Outreach Coordinator, Emma Testerman, at emma@thomastonauction.com!

Or, you can call ahead and fill out a phone bid form by dialing 207-354-8141. This is not a collection to be missed!

As we enter into our next topic for our Elements of Art Movements series, we must look back on our previous topic of Art Nouveau. This movement shaped the path towards the next, which we all know as Art Deco.

For those who don’t know the significant differences between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, here are a two major points:

  • Art Deco’s style is more geometric in shape, with rigid symmetrical designs, while its predecessor contained a more natural, organic and flowing style.
  • This movement lasted from 1990 to 1945, whereas the Art Nouveau movement occurred before in 1890 to 1905.
  • Cubism, art nouveau, Bauhaus and decorative accents inspired from the Native Americans and Ancient Egyptians influenced Art Deco as a whole

Like many artistic movements and endeavors, Art Deco, also known as style moderne, originated in 1920s Paris, France. Like Art Nouveau, its popularity spread across not just paintings and prints but also architecture, sculpture, and fabric design.

Now that manufacturing facilities were seeing an all-time boom in demand, the art form quickly spread in popularity on an international basis. Creators and artists of the Art Deco era wanted to quickly move away from the Art Nouveau style, as its originality and luscious, organic designs promoted a type of elite aesthetic that the average middle-man can’t acquire or afford, whereas Art Deco was a more attainable art style for everyone to enjoy and have access to in their home, storefront or gallery.

This distinguished style promotes clean, geometric patterns and shapes that are meant to provoke simple sophistication and elegance. It’s during this movement that products like Bakelite, plastics, silver, chrome and obsidian became popular, as they were frequently used by companies and artists in their designs.

In aspects of architecture, you can still see the Art Deco design in today’s many popular buildings and locations, especially the Rockefeller Center in New York City, which was constructed from 1920 - 1940, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. And in the 1930s, there soon grew an entire district in Miami, Florida, dedicated to the art movement.

Iconic and noteworthy artists that dominated the movement include Rene Lalique, Louis Cartier, Romain de Tirtoff and Paul Landowski.

Some examples of Art Deco arts and antiques we’ve sold here at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries include this stunning handmade Art Deco period platinum bracelet with diamonds, which sold for $75,000 in our 2013 Summer Feature Auction.

Another Art Deco antique we’ve sold is this Russian 14K yellow gold cigarette case with a sapphire clasp for $3,250 in our 2016 Spring Feature Auction.

And from a more architectural standpoint, we have also sold interior items like this chrome chandelier with frosted glass shades by Verrerie D’Art Degue for $4,000 in the same 2016 feature auction.

While many art movements have come and gone, Art Deco continues to hold design and architecture in an iron grip, as it struck favoritism in America with its sleek simplicity, yet geometric genius that many skyscrapers and metro buildings to this day bear with pride.

If you haven’t already guessed by our auctioneering and appraisal credentials, art is pretty important to us here at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries. Even outside of our work, fine art, music, sculpture, interior design and fashion holds a special place in each of our hearts.

It comes as no surprise that we also love to listen and soak up any and all art educational videos, podcasts, blogs, and/or news articles we come across. During our soft moments in between auctions, I myself like to hop onto YouTube as we build our next specialty sale and catch up on any fun historical or artful videos that I can simply listen to while I work.

That got me thinking. As a member of our small but mighty Marketing Department, why not use our megaphones to share our favorite historical and artful content creators? Education is vital in the auction industry, it’s a key element in deciphering a painters’ signature, or telling the difference between a genuine piece or a forgery, or even how old a signed military document is.

While I cannot say that all of us employees at Thomaston Place have seen these YouTube creators that dedicate their craft to history, they certainly are mine. So by the power vested in me, as a member of the Marketing Department, I shall share with you my top five favorite YouTube creators that our clients and auction addicts alike would enjoy watching and listening to. (This is in no way a list from my most to least favorite, they’re all fantastic; it would be impossible to rank them.)

The first on the list is one for all bidders and buyers with a penchant for the colonial era. But instead of just collecting 18th C. furniture and art, let’s kick it up a notch by living like an American colonist in that era! The channel that dedicates itself to colonial history is Townsends, led by Jon Townsend and his army of reenactors who help him bring the 18th century lifestyle to our screens. Though the 18th C. cooking videos are a great way to tickle your interest - and maybe enhance your family’s next meal plan - I enjoy the dedication and the sheer passion Jon carries in each video. Whether it’s watching a blacksmith prep his station, or join a tour of an 18th C. kitchen, or even how to properly roast chestnuts during the holiday, this channel provides a warm comfort with an ancestral nostalgia worth embracing.

My Current Favorite Video: What’s in Early American Kitchens? - Colonial Cookware

Looking for something further down the timeline? For those with a fascination, such as myself, of the Victorian era, I’d like to introduce you to Bernadette Banner. While she does dabble in other textile-related content from the medieval to the Edwardian era, her knowledge on Victorian women’s clothing, hair care and antique collectibles is both remarkable and entertaining to listen to. She is one of many that proves that enjoying a vintage lifestyle can also apply to the younger generation. With her eloquent voice and articulate language, she provides both humor and education to any and all viewers who come to watch her sew Edwardian walking skirts, Victorian blouses, or attempt to run a saucy Victorian ankle account on an infamous social media platform.
While some of her videos may not be aligned to the conservative mind who don’t approve of tongue in cheek humor, I personally could not recommend her enough as she provides a breadth of knowledge with each video she creates.

My Current Favorite Video: Investigating One of the Oldest Victorian Sewing Machines! 1876 Wilcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch

In a similar vein to Banner’s content, I also thoroughly enjoy and recommend another Victorian-adjacent enthusiast and artist, Christine McConnell.
If McConnell sounds familiar to you, and you have a Netflix account, you might know her from her limited series that was released around the Halloween season of 2018.
While her channel is more ‘spooky Victorian’ than Banner’s, I always find comfort in each upload, and take extensive notes on some of the creations that she teaches in each video so I can try them in the future, (still haven’t, I have too many projects going on at once!).
From designing her own Victorian wallpaper, to restoring an antique lampshade, to her precise process of building a gingerbread house based on the Winchester Mansion in California, I find myself getting lost in the beauty of her crafts, no matter the season.
If you are not a fan of spooky, Halloween aesthetics connected to your Victorian tastes, I recommend Banner’s channel. If you’re down to party with the ghosts and ghouls year-round, Christine’s going to be your gal!

My Current Favorite Video: Setting the Table - From the Mind of Christine McConnell

While my own personal interests are in the Victorian-Edwardian Era, there’s a newfound interest in the roaring 20s, thanks to the channel Glamourdaze. This channel literally brings history back from the dead with their AI technology in enhancing old black and white films of the past. You can explore the archives of vintage fashion and beauty, and see the joy and color that our great grandparents and grandparents enjoyed. From ‘A Day 1920s in New York’ to ‘Vintage Morning Beauty Routine in 1937,’ there’s plenty of material here for both fashion enthusiasts, historians and all ages to watch.
It’s amazing, seeing the quality of color and movement in these old films!

My Current Favorite Video: Roaring 20s Paris - c.1927: AI Enhanced Colour Film w/sound

Last, but certainly never least, if you’re not looking for videos to sit down and take the time out of your day and watch, but rather play the audio while continuing your routine of household chores and work, join Lindsay Holiday with her channel, History Tea Time.
An educator at heart and soul, Lindsay shares her wealth of historical knowledge of royals, women’s history and a mish mash of miscellaneous information with anyone eager to listen. With her friendly cadence and soft music, listeners (and watchers as well, she provides great visuals and art relating to each subject) can explore the British Royal family tree, the histories of women’s undergarments, a birth timeline of King Henry VIII’s many illegitimate progeny, and more.

My Current Favorite Video: Black Aristocrats of 18th Century England & France

There are thousands more channels on YouTube and our favorite streaming services that provide great art and history documentaries and educational content for all interests and ages. In the matter of the auction world and our work here at Thomaston Place, I can confidently say that our passion and interest in art and history continues outside of our work, as shown by the many favorite creators I’ve listed above.
Let us know what your favorite channels are or those that you recommend, we’re always looking to enjoy more historical content! Who knows, perhaps one day you’ll see us sponsor a channel we support.

If you have an eye for beauty or architectural wonders, you’re probably very familiar with the ethereal movement of Art Nouveau. Imagine organic, flowing shapes, dream-like fabrics and soft female models poised in classical portraiture.

Artists like Alphonse Mucha, Otto Eckmann, Franz Stuck, and Henri Privat-Livemont and designers like Victor Horta and Louis Comfort Tiffany brought this movement to its highest popularity before Art Deco began to grow. But what makes something ‘art nouveau?’ We’re here to answer that for you. In this topic of Elements of Art Movements, we will mainly be focusing on the graphic arts aspect of art nouveau, as the architecture and furniture design in of itself is worth a separate post for its own reading pleasure.

Art Nouveau was born around the 1880s in Belgium. The name was adopted by the House of the New Art, or ‘Maison de l’Art Nouveau,’ which was a gallery in Paris that opened in 1895. Almost as soon as the new art style was formed, neighboring countries like France and Austria quickly took notice and embraced the ethereal art movement, and soon that flowed from those countries into England and across the globe to the United States.

The French artists of that time period often used the term ‘Art Belle Époque’ to describe this movement, while Britain and America used Art Nouveau. Due to famous designer and artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, the patriarch of the Tiffany brand, the U.S also associated this movement as the ‘Tiffany style.’

When the Art Nouveau movement began to take hold in Belgium and France, organic and winding flora were seen in almost all creations, as well as other creatures of nature, like dragonflies, hummingbirds, butterflies and swans.

As Art Nouveau adapted further into the 1900s, the natural decorations had more stylized lines. These stylized lines would then evolve further into geometric forms that would soon announce the coming of the Art Deco (and Roaring 20s) era!

With the advancement of technology and machinery during this time, the art movement grew substantially and gained popularity on an international level. Artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Cheret, Aubrey Beardsley and Alphonse Mucha gained immense notoriety for their incredible designs.

Art Nouveau is immensely recognizable; and artists associated with the movement found fame and fortune with its reigning popularity. Without the movement’s existence, we would not have known the talent of Eugene Grasset, who created the famous ‘Le Chat Noir’ poster in 1885 (and which a print of this currently sits in our marketing room!). We would not have been graced with the imagery of ‘Zodiac’ or ‘The Seasons,’ or even Gustav Klimt’s iconic ‘The Kiss,’ which hinted at the coming of the Art Deco movement in the folds of the couple’s golden fabric.

Art Nouveau generously provided grace, etherealism and implied its affinities with the Symbolist, Pre-Raphaelite and Japonist styles. It is a movement that will not ever be forgotten or lost to time, as it is linked with the technological advancement of printing on a global scale.

Some examples of Art Nouveau antiques and art we’ve sold at auction include this lithograph poster for ‘Lorenzaccio’ by Alphonse Mucha, which sold for $2,990 in our 2014 Summer Feature Auction.

Another Art Nouveau antique we’ve sold includes this dazzling 18K gold lady’s pendant watch for $5,433 in our 2013 Summer Feature Auction. Just look at those weaving vines!

Another Art Nouveau example includes this sculpture by Italian artist Attilio Fagioli, which sold for $3,336 in our 2015 November Feature Auction.

For more information on the Art Nouveau movement, check out The Art Story’s page and timeline at www.theartstory.org/movement/art-nouveau. Interested in consigning art nouveau antiques and art with us? Check out our Consignments Page!

Stay tuned for our next Elements of Movements topic: Art Deco!

Congratulations! You just started your private collection of art, or you are an eager artist/art enthusiast yourself, wanting to expand your knowledge. At Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, we’ve seen many different art styles, artists, and pieces, almost the equivalent of how much your typical art museum deals with.

There are, of course, certain terms and words that all new artists and beginner art collectors should know by heart, and we have that list for you! Here are our top 10 words every art collector should know.


A relief is a type of technique where sculptured elements are attached to a solid backing of the same material. The goal in creating reliefs is to make the piece look like it's raised from the original background. There are three ranges of reliefs: high, low, and shallow.

Some examples we’ve had in past auctions include this mid-19th Century Italian cast iron bas-relief plaque, depicting St. John the Evangelist. This was sold in our 2021 November auction, Autumn Majestic.


A lithograph print is a type of print made from a stone or metal plate. This form of printing was invented in the 18th century and was originally used for music scores and maps. This traditional hobby is used to print text or images onto paper or other types of flat, thin material.

In the 1890s, lithographs with color gained popularity after famous print designer Jules Cheret created a variety of colorful prints, which resulted in him being called the ‘father of the modern poster.’

Without the invention of lithography, we would not have recognizable artists like Toulouse-Lautrec, Georges de Feure and Pablo Picasso. Some of our most notable lithographs include this Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec poster, an iconic piece from the 19th century artist, “Aristide Bruant dans Son Cabaret,” which was sold in our July 2021 Splendor: Part One sale



Egg tempera is a painting medium that has colored pigments using glutinous material, like egg yolk, hence its name. Tempera paintings last extremely long, with some still surviving to this day dating back to the 13th century. It was the most popular painting medium until after the 16th century, with the rise of oil paints.

Despite the lack of interest in tempera art since the late Renaissance, it has been frequently used by artists like Andrew Wyeth, John Schoenherr, David Hanna, and Ganesh Pyne.

Some notable pieces of egg tempera mediums we’ve sold includes this hardboard painting by Don Stone, “Eiders,” which was sold in our August 2021 Splendor: Part Two auction.


Impasto is a painting technique where paint is layered thickly onto the canvas, thick enough to provide texture and the appearance of a three-dimensional subject. Impasto is originally an Italian word meaning ‘mixture.’ Oil paints are the most common type of paints used in this practice, since they dry slowly and already have a thick texture.

The most recognizable artists who used this technique include Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, and Rembrandt van Rijn.

Some notable pieces we’ve sold that are impasto paintings include this oil on canvas by Yu Ajun, entitled “Red Door.” This was sold in our February 2021 auction, Temptations.


Aquatint is a printmaking technique involving areas of tone, rather than lines. This technique is used alongside etching quite frequently. It lost popularity sometime after lithography took the artistic storm, but there have been revivals of the practice throughout art history. Aquatint plates wear out easily, and are not as flexible with being redone as other types of intaglio plates.

Some notable artists who use the aquatint technique include John James Audubon, Mary Cassatt, and Goya. A perfect example of aquatints we’ve sold here at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries includes this untitled aquatint duo by Anni Elsa Frieda Albers, a contemporary artist.


Gesso is a white mixture of chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of the like, used in painting as a preparatory substance for surfaces like wood panels, baseboards, and canvases. Most artists consider this a form of primer for their art.

There are two main variations of gesso: half-chalk ground and acrylic gesso. Acrylic gesso is currently widely used across the globe, often for its inexpensive material. Acrylic gesso is also considered problematic with oil paints and other types of medium, like egg tempera, as it causes incompatible mixtures to delaminate.

Gesso is also used in sculptures, especially with gold leaf or sculpted wood.

Some of our most iconic pieces of art that have a gilt gesso frame include this fantastic painting by the great Luminist artist, Ivan Aivazovsky. This oil painting, “After the Storm,” was sold at our August 2021 Splendor auction.


Dry point is a printing technique where images are carved into a plate with a needle, or a diamond-pointed piece of metal. This practice is tied very closely with engraving. Dry point is also a term used for manuscripts, often involving glossless inscriptions.

Traditional types of dry point prints often were constructed of copper plates, but modern techniques of the craft now use Plexiglas, acetate and/or zinc.

Some recognizable artists who used dry point include Mary Cassatt, Edward Thomas Daniell, and Stanislaw Maslowski.

Some of our favorite dry point pieces we’ve sold include this Salvador Dali piece entitled “The Kiss,” which involves both color etching and dry point. This was sold at our July 2021 Splendor auction.


Gouache is a type of water-based paint that contains natural pigments, water, and gum Arabic or dextrin. This is a prominent type of painting medium, as it’s been used the longest throughout art history. It’s almost like acrylic or oil paints since it can be used for opaque purposes.

The oldest historical use of gouache can date back to ancient Egypt, as well as Persian sculptures. Though in recent years, gouache is often used alongside watercolor paints or ink and pencil, especially 19th century art.

Some notable pieces of art we’ve sold include this Maurice Day painting, “Trip to the Dentist.” This was sold at our February 2021 Temptations auction.


Inpainting is a technique used by trained conservators at museums and archives to preserve the overall image by the artists’ mediums and style. If an oil painting, for example, is damaged, deteriorated, or missing parts, they are expertly filled to present a complete image.

This process can be applied to both physical and digital art, including photographs and video footage.

Inpainting techniques are dependent on the type of image. You can see examples of inpainting by using UV light, or a blacklight, when examining the condition of a painting.

An example of inpainting can be seen in this black-lit image of a James Edward Buttersworth painting we sold in our 2023 Winter Enchantment auction, seen in several spots along the left side and areas in center and upper right corner.


Craquelure is a French word for old paint that develops a series of cracking due to aging. It can result from not only aging but drying, intentional pattern design, or all the above. Craquelure is common in tempera and oil paintings.

There are seven types of craquelure styles, which connect to specific time periods, locations, and styles: Italian, Flemish, Dutch, and French. Craquelure is also a characteristic aspect of many types of pottery, often desired by pottery and sculpture collectors.

Some great examples we’ve had at auction that had craquelure includes this 19th century painting by George Forster, a still life with peaches, grapes, plums, and raspberries. This was sold at our November 2021 Autumn Majestic auction.

These terms and words will help all new artists and art enthusiasts alike establish and expand their art language. Not only does our blog provide useful knowledge in the public art interest, but also some of our most recommended art magazines we subscribe to.

Collecting art is both fulfilling as well as entertaining, whether it’s a form of personal investment or hobby. Using these terms can help you, as well as any other collector or bidder, discover exceptional pieces reflecting your special interests.

For all of our folk art and outsider art collectors and fanatics, we have a special item in our Winter Enchantment 2023 auction: a rare, large, carved and polychrome-painted standing rooster by German-born itinerant artist Wilhelm Schimmel.

And before you ask, no, this isn’t the same man who made exquisite luxury pianos. This is a different Wilhelm Schimmel, with a more colorful backstory. Our Wilhem Schimmel had an unfortunate penchant for alcohol that oftentimes fueled fights and the occasional stint in jail. But he did have a softer side, often shown in his wood carvings.

While his name is relatively unknown in the general art and sculpture world, folk artists would recognize Wilhelm Schimmel’s wood carvings due to his particular style. Best known for his bird carvings, particularly eagles, his style had a sawtooth, crosshatched pattern, a dovetailed wing construction, which is very similar to toys from Germany in that time. These sculptures were then coated in a layer of gesso, then painted.

Not much is known about this German immigrant, but we do know he found his new home in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, shortly after the Civil War ended.

Schimmel, or “Old Schimmel,” as many often called him, wandered the county looking for work at local farms, and would sell handmade carvings of animals to make a small living. He called himself an ‘image maker,’ in regard to his craft.

His carvings, as he would work, were often made for the farmers’ children. Of his many creations, it’s estimated that only 300 to 400 exist today. Of those only around 100 Schimmel eagles survive. Provenance is of significant importance in appraising Schimmel pieces since there are no known pieces with a recognizable signature in his hand.

He passed away Aug. 3, 1890, in a poor house at the age of 73. As he earned himself notoriety for his carvings, his obituary was published in many local papers, which was uncommon for the homeless at that time.

In the 1920s, the folk-art world started recognizing his work and it grew popular among collectors, like Abby Rockefeller and Maxim Karolil.

photo courtesy of Gardner Library

Today, Schimmel carvings have been featured in museums such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Presently, The Cumberland County Historical Society has one of the largest collections of Schimmel carvings in the country.

You can read more on Schimmel’s unique life through the Gardner Library’s archives.

As Marilyn Monroe used to sing, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” However, at Thomaston Place, anything that glitters and shines has our attention!

Some of us also collect crystals and stones as a hobby, like me. My current obsession right now are any and all types of opal, amber and labradorite. Just like our fellow jewelry fanatics out in the world, we’re eager to see (and try on) what comes through our doors.

While diamonds, pearls and garnets are common in estate jewelry, we often get gems among them that leave us in awe. Below are our top six gemstones we love to see come through our doors, as well as helpful information on consigning jewelry with us.

Our absolute favorite gemstone, by popular bidder demand, has to be jade. This iconic and familiar stone often holds a delightful, pale green color, though some variations also come in apple green, white and caramel brown. Popular among Asian buyers for its variation and symbolic worth, jade is considered a highly-prized stone, much like how diamonds are to us in the western world. In China, jade was considered an ‘imperial’ stone, where only high-ranking members of the imperial family had access and were adorned in them. Jade has also taken hold of the beauty industry as well, as seen in gua shas, beauty rollers and more. Such a versatile stone!

Our favorite jade piece is this sleek Edwardian lady’s ring, which sold for $10,000 in our February 2013 feature auction. We’d like to see more soon!

Another favorite, but a rarity among estate jewelry we receive is tanzanite. This gorgeous, deep blue gemstone is only found and collected in one place in the entire world, the hills of northern Tanzania. You’ll find these commonly sold with jewelry produced from Tiffany & Co., as they have major corporate claims over many of the mines out in Tanzania. Though this stone is relatively new to the gemstone market, its violet-blue vibrancy has garnered mass interest, almost reaching popularity to match the long-standing emerald and ruby status.

Tanzanite is one of the many birthstones for the month of December, as well as the gemstone for a 24th anniversary, so if you’re looking for a gift fit for a December baby, or your special partner of 24 years, we’d recommend gifting a beautiful, timeless piece like this 18K gold tanzanite necklace, which sold for $1,500 in our August 2019 feature auction.

Next up, and my personal all-time favorite, is the alluring black opal. 

Black opal mines first opened in Australia, 1902, but can also be found in areas around Ethiopia, and Honduras. 

Although the 1829 novel “Anne of Geierstein” by Sir Walter Scott made people nervous about misfortune when wearing an opal, it’s only considered ‘unlucky’ by those not born in October, at least from what new age followers say. 

In ancient Rome, however, opals were considered the gem of all gems, due to their iridescent splashes of color, and were considered a very powerful stone. Along with them, the arabic Bedouin tribe believed opals held lightning that struck the earth during thunderstorms.

Whether or not you believe this stone is unlucky or misunderstood, we can’t help but love holding these babies under black light and watching the colors dance.

Our favorite black opal jewelry piece we’ve sold so far includes this divine platinum ladies ring, with diamonds surrounding the opal. This gorgeous ring sold for $4,750 in our August 2013 feature auction.

We cannot continue this list without adding emerald to it. This gemstone holds the jewelry industry in its blue-green fist tightly. Along with rubies, emeralds dominate the jewel empire, and has so since ancient Egypt, as Cleopatra was known for her love and collection of emeralds. 

Emerald mines span across the world, from Russia, Australia, Italy, Peru, Bolivia, and scattered across the many regions of the African continent. A reigning member of the beryl family, emeralds are known to be the birthstone of May, as well as the 20th and 35th anniversary stone.

Our top favorite jewelry item adorned in emeralds has to be this stylish, Art Deco diamond and emerald bracelet, which sold for $11,000 in our Summer’s Bounty auction in 2020.

We’d be doing a disservice as a Maine business if we did not add tourmaline to our list of favorites, as tourmaline is our state gemstone! 

Tourmaline can be found in an array of bright colors, with the green-pink range being the most popular among collectors. Here in Maine, visitors can explore the Poland Mining Camps or the Topsham Quarry to find raw tourmaline. Like opal, this gorgeous gemstone is also an October birthstone, as well as the 8th anniversary stone.

We always enjoy any tourmaline jewelry brought to us, but one of our personal favorites has to be this stunning brooch, as its delicate intricacies ignite a sense of elegance with its precise stone placement. This brooch, which also holds sapphire and beryl, sold for $12,500 in our February 2013 feature auction. 

Last, but certainly never least, another top worldly favorite, which really does reign supreme above all gemstones in the jewelry empire, is the ruby. Even across the globe in India, in the Sanskrit language, the word for ruby is ‘ratnaraj,’ meaning ‘the king of all gems.’ If you ever want to make a lasting impression on anyone, do it with rubies.

The most recent record-breaking sale for a ruby jewelry piece was made in May 2015, where a 25.59 carat ruby ring sold for over $1.2 million. Ruby is the birthstone for July, and is the gem for the 15th and 40th anniversaries.

We’ve had many beautiful ruby-encrusted estate jewelry pass through our auction house, but the one we’ve auctioned off with the most character has to be this dazzling 18K gold pendant with carved, floral ruby and emerald pieces. This unique piece sold for $3,000 in our January 2012 auction.

With these trending gemstones in mind, if you ever find yourself needing more information on the gemstones and jewelry you have in your possession, we highly recommend checking out the official Gemology Institute of America website, www.gia.edu, where you can look up not only information on your favorite stones, but also the grading process, local retailers near you, and news in the gemology world.

If you are considering downsizing your wardrobe, liquidating an estate, or have no use for your old jewelry, we recommend you send pictures to our appraisal team, at appraisal@thomastonauction.com. From there, we can help you through the process of consignment, or we can buy out your jewelry, day of appointment!

We stay true to our creed here at Thomaston Place, preserving history through all incoming consignments. Your jewelry holds provenance that bidders would come to love, we guarantee it.

The Princeton Tiger by Alexander Proctor
LOT 3114 in Autumn Majestic

Future bidders and our catalog browsers may have noticed this bronze sculpture of a tiger resting proudly on one of our dressers offered in our final 2022 feature auction.

Princeton Tiger - front

While many may glance over this sculpture as just another animal statue, would it surprise you if this was in fact created solely for the purpose of reinventing Princeton University’s Nassau Hall tigers?

This is an exceptional piece – one of many, of course – in our November auction, “Autumn Majestic,” and will be available for bidding Sunday, Nov. 13. But what’s the story behind the sculptor, Alexander Phimister Proctor?

Alexander Phimister Proctor was born Sept. 27, 1860, in Bosanquet, Ontario, Canada, to Thirzah Smith and Alexander Proctor. His family eventually immigrated to Iowa in 1866, then Denver, Colorado, when he was 11 years old.

Growing up on the frontier, Proctor took his gun, pencils and sketch pads with him on trips through the Rocky Mountains. Proctor grew into a skilled woodsman and hunter, which played a large role in his future sculpting career.

In 1885, Proctor sold his Colorado homestead to move to New York, and pursue his studies at the National Academy of Design. Proctor, in reference to his extensive art education, said he was mostly inspired by the French sculptor, Antoine-Louis Barye.

Proctor’s first success was a small bronze fawn casting shown in New York’s Century Club in 1887. Frank D. Millet, who later supervised the decorating process of the World’s Columbian Exposition grounds in Chicago, saw it and decided to meet him.

In 1891, Millet invited Proctor to join a team of artists to create plaster sculptures for the fair’s promenades. Proctor accepted an assignment to decorate the end posts of the fair’s bridges with heroic-sized animals from America’s western wilds. He would work along with the nation’s most recognized sculptors.

Proctor used the Chicago zoo to model his animals in combination with sketches from his Colorado fieldwork. He shot and drew many elk, bear, and cougar.

The success of the Chicago’s Exposition helped his sculpting career significantly. It also provided him with a larger income and afforded him the chance to expand his art studies in Europe. In 1893, as plans were made to ship his Cowboy and Indian plasters to Denver for extended display in their city park, Proctor, along with his new wife, traveled to France.

Proctor finally returned to America in 1900. By 1909, when Princeton’s Class of 1879 commissioned Proctor to create the Nassau Hall tigers to replace the pair of lions the class contributed earlier, he was an award-winning sculptor who specialized in wild animals, like the bears and buffalo that roamed the West.

For his models, Proctor chose two tigers in the Bronx Zoo, Rani and Rajah.

“The bronze had to be thick enough to withstand the treatment undergraduates would give the statues,” Proctor said.

He attended the dedication ceremony on Commencement Day in 1911. “Standing on the platform in front of Nassau Hall, flanked by the statues, Margaret [his wife] and I were introduced by President Wilson and honored with the Princeton yell.”

Rani and Rajah’s descendants included a cub named Princeton.

In that same year of 1911, his work was exhibited at the newly constructed Portland Art Museum, OR, which purchased his Indian Warrior, the first original sculpture to enter the collection.

On July 8, 1915, Proctor copyrighted his first bronze, celebrating the American cowboy. He titled it “Buckaroo,” a term used in the Northwest to describe cowboys. The result would be one of his most successful and popular works.

From this studio in 1922, he completed an equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which was donated to the city of Portland, OR. Two versions were created for Mandan and Minot, ND, and yet another sculpture cast from the same mold years after his death was dedicated in Oyster Bay, NY, on Oct. 29, 2005. His work was also part of the sculpture event in the art competition at the 1928 Summer Olympics.

Between commissions, he would return to the western wilderness for inspiration, seeking indigenous tribes to pose for his works. Hunting and hiking in the western mountain region provided him with knowledge of animal life and behavior. Because of his western background, he became known as the “sculptor in buckskin.”

Proctor’s Oregon commissions include the equestrian monument to Theodore Roosevelt in Park Blocks, Circuit Rider in Capitol Grounds, and the Oregon Pioneer Mother at the University of Oregon.

Proctor’s sculptures became part of the American civic landscape, including the Buffalo on the Q Street Bridge, Washington, D.C.; Broncho Buster and On the War Trail, Civic Center, Denver; Pioneer Mother, Kansas City, MO; and Minot, ND; and Mustangs, University of Texas, Austin.

He is represented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and numerous others, including the A. Phimister Proctor Museum in Poulsbo, WA, established in 1997 by his grandson.

Proctor died in Palo Alto, California, Sept. 5, 1950, a few days before his 90th birthday.

“I am eternally obsessed with two deep desires: one, to spend as much time as possible in the wilderness, and the other, to accomplish something worthwhile in art.” — Alexander Phimister Proctor


The Princeton Tiger - Alexander P. Proctor

Dark Academia - Thomaston Blog

Autumn is coming quickly, and what better time to associate fall with its rich, dark colors, spooky aura and chilly winds than discover a new form of aesthetic design!

If you’re here reading this after exploring our last Aesthetic Trends topic, Light Academia, we welcome you to its alter-ego, its twin sister with a bad attitude, Dark Academia.

How is Dark Academia defined?

Dark Academia is described as the original ‘academic aesthetic’ revolving around classic literature, self-discovery, and scholarly passions. It is one of several iterations of the Academia aesthetic, each having a unique focal subject.

As in its name, and contrary to its younger version, Light Academia, this has a color palette consisting of darker tones like forest green, dark brown, black, beige, burnt orange, cream, gold and burgundy.

This aesthetic stems from the visuals of 19th century European cultures, American prep dress code styles and Gothicism. But besides the appeal of learning and literature, the dark side of it consists of mystery, drama, danger and criminality.

Despite its name coming to fruition in the 2010s, dark academia has always existed as a nameless form, often a style taken on by higher upper class society. The first counts of this aesthetic were noted in the ideals and lifestyles of Romantic-era nobles like Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and Edmund Burke.

When someone describes their aesthetic as dark academic, the best way to imagine it as a lifestyle and appeal towards prestigious campuses, museums, galleries and old libraries. Art forms often include marble sculptures, etchings, and Renaissance, Baroque Neoclassical and Romantic art movements.

Some recognizable pop culture that fits into this aesthetic includes books and TV shows like “Peaky Blinders,” “Sherlock Holmes,” and “Series of Unfortunate Events,” and artists like Mozart, Mumford & Sons and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Does this sound like your kind of aesthetic? Need to decorate or redefine your interior choices to fit the Dark Academia world? Thomaston Place is the best place to look for such things! (And for its alter ego, Light Academia).

If you’re looking for some fine art to fit this aesthetic, maybe in your living room or study, you could find 19th century toned portraits, like this oil painting that is attributed to Zedekiah Belknap that sold for $325 in our Vintage Accents auction, January Jubilee.

But if you need something to brighten the room this will hang in, you could find yourself a Tiffany lamp, like this one that was sold for $85,000 in our Autumn Majestic auction last year!

If you need a dark table for this lamp, and to go along with the growing style, you could find a table like this mahogany Regency dining table that sold for $950 in our 2021 Interiors & Exteriors auction.

And finally, if you’re looking for a rug or carpet to pull together the entire room, don’t forget one with a nice pile, like this Kashan silk rug that sold for $950 in our Winter Enchantment auction.

Dahlov Ipcar - Lions & Lambs

For our August auction, we will have a very special selection of art from none other than Dahlov Ipcar, including a gorgeous piece entitled “Lion of Darkness, Lamb of Light; Lamb of Midnight, Lion of Morn,” an oil painting depicting the duality of Light and Darkness.

We have previously featured Ipcar’s iconic works before in past auctions, but what’s the story behind Ipcar? Where did she get her style? How did she gain notoriety as Maine’s most recognizable artist and childrens’ illustrator?

Dahlov Ipcar was born in Windsor, Vermont on November 12, 1917, to William Zorach and Marguerite Zorach, a sculptor and painter, respectively. Eventually, the family moved to Greenwich Village in New York City, where her parents worked and taught during the school year, then they vacationed in Georgetown, Maine.

Ipcar liked cave paintings, Persian miniatures, Henri Rousseau’s jungle scenes, Japanese art, cubism — all of which she found in her father’s library, in the family’s farmhouse.

Along with her varied art interests, her parents decided to have a hands-off approach in regards to finding her own style, so she never went to a specialized art school, but instead attended progressive schools like City and Country, Walden, and Lincoln School of Teachers College.

Ipcar eventually put together her own unique approach with vibrant animals and landscapes from all those combined interests.

This type of parenting paid off, as her first solo gallery showing occurred at the Museum of Modern Art when she was only 22, in 1939.

Around the early 1930s, she married Adolph Ipcar, and moved to a small dairy farm in Georgetown, where she spent the rest of her life, raising her two sons, managing the dairy farm and continuing to paint, illustrate and write children’s books.

She began to write and illustrate children’s books with this art iconic style of hers in the 1940s, with more than 40 titles to date. Yarmouth’s Islandport Press has reissued her titles since 2010.

With her accomplished art gracing the halls of many museums and galleries, she grew into a recognizable name among prolific art collectors worldwide. Her work is in permanent collections of numerous museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Dahlov completed 10 mural projects for public buildings, two for the U.S. Post Offices in LaFollette, Tennessee, and Yukon, Oklahoma. Her murals in Maine include the children’s room at the Patten Free Library in Bath, and a 106 ft. panorama of Maine animals in the Narragansett Elementary School, Gorham. “Golden Savannah,” a 21 ft. mural of African wildlife, is currently installed in the atrium of the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In 1972, Dahlov received the Maine Governor’s Award for her contributions to the Maine arts. She also received three honorary degrees from The University of Maine, Colby, and Bates Colleges. In 1998, The University of Minnesota awarded Dahlov with The Kerlan Award for Children’s literature. In 2012, The Farnsworth Museum gave Dahlov the Maine in America Award.

 In 2012, the Farnsworth Museum of Art awarded her with the Maine in America Award which honors her outstanding contribution to Maine's role in American art. In May - June 2017, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art exhibited her early work, including a selection of original work from her 1939 solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.”

Dahlov continued painting until she passed away Feb. 10, 2017, at the age of 99.

“I find it hard to explain my art, but then it doesn’t really need explanation. It may seem mysterious or challenging, but all you need to do is to open your heart to the joy and excitement of a new visual experience, to accept a new vision of a world full of the unusual, a world of the creative imagination. ” –Ipcar

Business hours are 9 am to 5 pm (eastern time) Monday–Friday.
Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
PO Box 300
Thomaston, Maine 04861
51 Atlantic Hwy
Thomaston, ME 04861
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