Sporting Prints

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We are all fans of Downton Abbey here at J.Pocker, but we were especially inspired by the classic horse race in last week's episode. It got us thinking about the sporting prints in our own collection. Robyn Pocker has been a longtime fan of the British racing world so we asked her to weigh in on some special framing tips.

A collector has to really appreciate the quality behind sporting images. Not everyone can own the originals but there are great alternatives available.

The best ones to look for are copperplate engravings made from the original copper plates. They are printed on lovely paper, each one done by hand, one at a time, printed in black and white then colored by a master colorist.  When well done, you can clearly see the details of the horses’ eyes and the faces of the riders. Racing images have the most color. The silks worn by jockeys have a color range that is always dramatic. 

The originals are often seen framed in traditional black Hogarth frames with gold detail. After that, there is a choice of walnut burl veneer or what we would call a traditional sporting frame, gold with a lambs tongue detail at the lip.

Sporting prints are always well done in a study and massed together they are so handsome. Endless topics are available including hunting, horse racing, coursing (rabbit hunting), hog hunting in India, and behind the scenes imagery of country life.

Here are a few of our favorite sporting prints:

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View more sporting prints here, and a selection of our frames here. Please do visit one of the stores for the full collection.

Suzanne Smeaton on Kulicke Frames

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The clean, simple metal frames that so often form the perfect complement to contemporary artworks were a radical innovation when they were first introduced in the 1950’s. Designed by artist, designer and framemaker Robert Kulicke (1924-2007), the frames were his solution to requests from his Abstract Expressionist artist-friends Robert Motherwell, Willem DeKooning, Barnett Newman and Franz Kline. The frame was inspired by the Barcelona chair, designed by Mies Van de Rohe. Kulicke said, “I came to realize that abstract painting needed a welded polished metal frame in order to be elegant enough for the large powerful art.” Kulicke also provided over 2,000 such frames to the Museum of Modern Art for use in traveling exhibitions, and their use radically transformed the aesthetic of framing employed at MOMA after their 1984 expansion.

Kulicke also later developed a Lucite frame for the photography department at MOMA; now referred to as the Plexibox frame. The Plexibox frame addressed the desire for both an unobtrusive frame and one that would guard against dust. Both the welded aluminum frames and the Plexibox frames offer an unadorned yet sophisticated framing treatment for art and photography. 

Thank you to Suzanne Smeaton for writing this guest post.

View a selection of our frames here, or visit one of the stores for our full collection.

Inspired by Marsala

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Like many design enthusiasts, it's always exciting when Pantone announces their color of the year. Cross-referencing trends that span interior design, fashion, and beauty, it always amazes me how relevant and meaningful the color ends up being for professionals across so many different industries. For interiors Pantone explains that Marsala is, “complex and full-bodied without being overpowering, it provides a unifying element for interior spaces.” I would have to agree with that statement — I've seen Marsala referenced in many new interiors (especially wall colors!) that our interior design clients bring to us when working on custom framing and mirror projects. 
 
Marsala also happens to be a color in so many of my favorite flowers, I was thrilled to receive new prints for spring that embody so many different variations of Marsala. View a preview of our new Marsala inspired floral prints below, along with some of my favorite inspiration from our Pinterest boards.

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View a selection of our prints here, or visit one of the stores for our full collection.

 

Images via our Pinterest page

Botanical Prints

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In the depths of winter sometimes it’s impossible not to think about spring - especially being a gardener and flower fanatic (I’m even counting down until May when I go to London for the Chelsea Flower Show!). With that said, it’s important to remember that winter is a season for reinvention, and the purpose of our home becomes even more a place of refuge, relaxation and entertaining. Botanical prints are more versatile than you may think - and for me they become even more meaningful in the cold winter months. A lovely botanical watercolor can mix in a salon style wall just as easily as it can be a statement over a sofa. I love big groups of botanical prints hung in a grid - I’m also more inclined to stack two or three for more impact, even if they are not a pair. Some of my favorite botanical prints of all time are by Mark Catesby - see an edited selection of his prints here.

As for some tips on framing botanical prints, archival framing is key. Avoid the horror of burn marks from old matting. There are no rules about framing - French mats, silk mats, and modern or traditional - it’s all about the effect you want in the space.

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Find more framing inspiration on our Pinterest page and view a selection of our Botanical prints here or visit one of the stores to see the full collection. 

 

 Image via our Pinterest page

Robyn Pocker in Domino Magazine

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We came back to the office this year to discover Domino’s winter issue, and as always, it was chalk full of design inspiration. Months ago they called on us to offer some guidance when creating a gallery wall with their Style Editor, Elaina Sullivan. We are so thrilled to be included in this issue and wanted to share Robyn’s advice below:

1. First, lay everything you might want to consider out on the floor before hanging on the wall. You may decide to purchase additional photographs or artwork if the collection needs a bit more “body.”


2. If you’re having difficulty visualizing the spacing, mask out the arrangement with painter’s tape. You can then see if you’ll have enough height to adequately fill the space and make the wall “important” looking. Try to include a mix of vertical and horizontal works to fully occupy the wall.


3. For the sake of ease, start by hanging on the right side and move to the left. Use picture-hanging hardware (such as the OOK brand) or, alternatively, two nails for each piece, each hammered one third of the way into the wall.  BTW: Download a level app on your phone to ensure your pieces won’t hang askew. 

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Find more gallery wall inspiration on our Pinterest page and read the feature on Domino's website here.

 

Images by Brittany Ambridge and via our Pinterest page

Mark Catesby

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Some of the earliest known American illustrations of natural history are credited to Mark Catesby, an English naturalist who committed his life to documenting the natural world and pioneering the field of modern natural science in the 18th century. 

His watercolors (many of them featured in our prints collection) still capture my imagination with their beauty. As an artist, his etching of birds and plants chronicled the diverse natural beauty of colonial America 100 years before Audubon. (It also turns out Catesby was quite resourceful — at first he was actually unable to afford an engraver… and self taught himself before presenting his first collection of illustrations to the Royal Society of London!). Catesby was the first naturalist to conduct a study of the lush and varied habitat of North America (we have an extensive collection of his botanical prints) and as a scientist, he was the first to empirically observe and recognize the natural and man-made dangers of species survival.  

As both a scientist and an artist at the golden dawn of modern natural science, it’s astonishing how relevant and beautiful his illustrations still are today. Case in point— there is a gorgeous home in the Bahamas featured in House Beautiful’s December issue by interior designer Amanda Lindroth. Hanging above the sofa in the family’s living room is a collection of our Catesby prints — a Flamingo, Wood Pelican and Whooping Crane. Maybe just as Catesby saw them 500 years ago. 

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View a small selection of our Catesby prints on the website here and please do visit one of our stores to see the full collection.

 

Image via House Beautiful

Robyn Pocker on Mirrors

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Decorating with mirrors can be tricky — the right size, style and scale of decorative mirrors can really impact an interior. We asked Robyn Pocker to weigh in on several inspiring spaces that use decorative mirrors: 

"A wall of various mirrors is a real space opener. The best part is the light it can bring to any space. #1 rule is to be sure something attractive is being reflected in the mirrors (i.e. a well conceived wall and not a messy desk!). The mirrors should have some unifying aspect and that's where you can really get creative."

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"The foyer is your personal statement. Make it bold and really set the tone before you guests walk on. The adage that 'you never get a second chance to make a first impression' is in full force in the entryway. The first rule of hanging a mirror is in perfect here. Reflect something pretty. The stairway banister and all the blue and white are filling up the space because the mirror frame is its own statement. And then the reflection, quite a picture."

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"Over Mantles, as they are known in England, become part of the architecture of the room itself. Make sure to show your framer images of accessories and objects you'd like to style as well the interior inspiration — the grand scale of these mirrors become such a statement and focal point of any room, so make sure you work closely with your framer to get it just right."

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"Bathrooms are a place to have some fun with choosing a frame. Bamboo for an Asian inspired wallcovering is fun. In my powder room I have one that is painted blue and the frets of the bamboo are silver leaf. You can add texture with a faux finish or wood grain. A great mirror choice can really be the final polish and detail for a bathroom. Don't settle in this space, you use it every single day."

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"This Spanish style frame is more versatile than you might think... it's a wonderful large scale mirror with drama. It can also work well on small black and white drawings. (It's quite often used on lithographs by Picasso or Braque.) The scale is everything with this style of frame. Drama when you want to make something black and white, more bold and classic on a Braque." 

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I love this modern take on a trumeau mirror. It incorporates the traditional 18th century French mirrors style which is usually exceptionally traditional. A mirror this size and proportion can't help but bring light to a room. It's the focus (yet in a subtle way) of otherwise leftover space.”

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To view our custom mirror collection click here

 

All images via our Pinterest page

 

The Lauder Cubism Show

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‘Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection’ on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through February 16, 2015 contains masterworks by four artists who created the movement: Pablo Picasso (Spanish 1881-1973), Georges Braque (French 1882-1963), Fernand Leger (French 1881-1955), and Juan Gris (Spanish 1887-1927). Coming from Lauder’s personal collection the artworks are sensitively framed and provide opportunities to see what forms of frames are found on such artworks. 

The most prevalent design is the cassetta frame, executed in many variations. The cassetta profile emerged from 15th Century Venice and has a wide, flat panel with raised inner and outer edges (hence the term cassetta or ‘little box’). The cassetta frames are most often black and frequently utilize delicate gold designs confined to the corners and/or midpoints of the frame; their angularity and restraint are an excellent choice for the refracted compositions. Similarly, a gold step frame on Braque’s Bottle of Rum has softened edges of each step and recedes into the composition, heightening the sense of perspective. Black, as a surface in general, is a sophisticated and dramatic choice for such modern artworks and heightens the expressive brushwork and palette. On Leger’s Sketch for Acrobats In the Circus a matte black surface echoes and supports the matte surface of the canvas. 

Carved Spanish designs in black and gold speak to Picasso’s roots and his fondness for 17th Century frames; on his Head of a Woman - Study for Nude With Drapery the robust carving and interplay of black and gold surfaces underscores the drama and boldness of the image. 

In contrast, a pale delicate work by Leger, Drawing for The Card Players, contains both angles and soft rounded shapes. It is sympathetically framed with a similarly curved reverse ogee frame finished in a light, understated gold that does not overwhelm and complements the warmer tonalities of the drawing.

On the whole the frames in the exhibition are excellent choices in terms of both historical precedent and sympathetic designs that support and enhance the Cubist compositions - it is a rare chance to see a coherently framed collection.

Holiday House

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Founded by Iris Dankner seven years ago to raise breast cancer awareness in the design industry, Holiday House is now open on East 63 Street. If you have never attended, this is your year. It has never been more beautiful. After just getting home from the opening night gala, I’m even more inspired by Iris and the inspiring designers that support breast cancer research. It’s really unlike any other designer show house. The wonderful Iris Dankner sends her own energy outward to every corner of Holiday House. Some highlights…

Amy Lau's dining room could make you swoon for sheer scale and tabletop design. Leslie Banker's tropical room for a small dinner party is so inviting and the bookshelves hold so many curiosities to examine. I also loved Caleb Anderson's use of art, almost installed in a bookshelf as bookends. I thought that was a very elegant way to display a small painting. Matthew Patrick Smyth's use of gray mirrors was perfect. Hard to see the line between using those mirrors as art and mirror.


The real highlight is the courtyard gallery. Filled with photos of beautiful breast cancer survivors and short stories about each brave woman. To learn more log onto www.clothingimmaterial.com

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For more information on Holiday House visit www.holidayhousenyc.com