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[Exhibition] Newark Recalls Its Lustrous Metals Past


#1

Ok - here is another exhibition - this one I would REALLY love to go
see!!! If anyone gets to it, please post info!

Newark Recalls Its Lustrous Metals Past

NEWARK Artisans specializing in precious metals largely left
this city decades ago, and their buildings have been razed,
renovated beyond recognition or converted into apartment
complexes with names like Tiffany Manor.

But their products have been briefly reunited for “City of
Silver and Gold From Tiffany to Cartier,” an exhibition opening
on Wednesday at the Newark Museum. A 1967 National Football
League trophy has been improbably positioned between Tiffany
candelabra and pitchers that were exhibited at world’s fairs in
the early 1900s. The show’s curator, Ulysses Grant Dietz, is
also focusing on utilitarian products like teaspoons, stickpins,
collar buttons and belt buckles.

When the city’s metalwork factories were vying to meet worldwide
demand in the early 20th century, Mr. Dietz said at a preview,
“Newark was the Detroit of the jewelry world.”

Technological innovations on view include foldable eyeglasses,
and porcelain and glass vessels trimmed with electrodeposited
silver. The objects sometimes have multiple connections to
people in Newark; a 1904 trophy made by the local firm William
B. Kerr was awarded to the owner of a nearby printing company
who won a harness race at a track in a local park.

Mr. Dietz, the museum’s senior curator, has brought out company
drawings, salesmen’s samples and catalog pages drawn partly from
recent gifts like the archive of the onetime major jewelry
manufacturer Krementz & Company. When Krementz descendants
offered the material, Mr. Dietz said, “we piled my car up with
suitcases and boxes.”

Other recent scholarly studies of precious-metals artisans have
focused on Virginia, Philadelphia, Savannah and New York City.
An exhibition about Cincinnati silver opens in June at the
Cincinnati Art Museum, and a jewelry show planned for next year
at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago will display pieces
that were fashioned locally.

THE TEST OF TIME

Thomas Tompion, a 17th-century London clockmaker, designed
weight and spring mechanisms that remain reliable to this day,
and scholars have dismantled hundreds of his watches and clocks.
The machinery, however, is better understood than the man; no
one knows much about his background except that he was a
blacksmith’s son from Bedfordshire.

“There’s absolutely no record whatsoever of where he went, where
he trained,” John C. Taylor, a British inventor and historian
who has been collecting Tompion timepieces for two decades, said
in an interview. Dr. Taylor has lent the works for “Majestic
Time,” a Tompion retrospective running through Jan. 19 at the
National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia, Pa.

Dr. Taylor’s watches have been deemed too fragile to wind and
keep running, but the clocks chime punctually and their gears,
in some instances, are exposed. Visitors have been peering
intently into the display cases. “There’s a lot of forehead
prints on the glass,” Noel Poirier, the museum’s director, said.

The collection is normally on view at Dr. Taylor’s isolated
elliptical house on the Isle of Man. Some of the machines keep
better time than others, he said, but he enjoys the steady
ticking soundtrack. “You go and talk to them and they’re
friends, they have characters,” he said.

Travel to other continents is not necessarily healthy for
clocks, but Dr. Taylor wanted the collection to be seen widely.
“There’s nothing worse than beautiful objects not being
available to be appreciated,” he said. (The collection was also
displayed briefly at a clock symposium in Pasadena, Calif., in
November.)

Tompion was baptized at a Bedfordshire church in 1639 and
apprenticed to a London clockmaker in the 1660s. He commissioned
carved wooden cases and components from other artisans, but he
somehow maintained strict quality control. “Tompion was a
supreme perfectionist,” Dr. Taylor said.

Tompion never married, but he was apparently close to his
nieces; two of them married apprentices to the clockmaker.
Legend has it that Tompion at some point discovered that one of
them, Edward Banger, by then a partner, was having an affair
with a servant; timepieces that Tompion made with Banger have
been found with his former apprentice’s signature defaced.
“Tompion even cut out the word ‘Banger’ and put a plate over
it,” Dr. Taylor said.

In 2003 Sotheby’s in London sold a Tompion clock with Banger’s
name sliced out of it for $1.5 million. Six-figure prices are
more customary: Last month a Tompion clock covered in gilded
cherubs brought $321,000 at a Bonhams auction in London.

The British Museum is exhibiting a Tompion clock through Feb. 2
that belonged to British royalty; the museum bought it for
around $870,000 through Christie’s in London in 1982.

A few Tompion works are also on view in the Metropolitan Museum
of Art’s British decorative arts galleries. A 1670s clock in an
olivewood and ivory case with Tompion’s signature incised in the
face is keeping good time and chiming the quarter-hours near a
1670s staircase salvaged from a Hertfordshire estate. Its dials
also take note of the phases of the moon and the schedules for
high tides at London Bridge.

MANY, MANY HAIL MARYS

Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner, mother and daughter
historians in suburban Philadelphia, have a collection of about
900 rosaries housed in storage vaults. This month a new book
they have jointly written is being issued, “The Rosary
Collector’s Guide” (Schiffer), which features beads made of
materials like water vials, bogwood and tiny boxes of earth.

“People don’t realize the variations that are out there,” Helen
Hoffner said in an interview.

The authors have built a network of antiques dealers who set
aside devotional jewelry for them. People who have inherited
rosaries but are not devout also seek out the Hoffners to make
sure the beads go to respectful stewards. “They’re literally
looking for a good home for it,” Ms. Hoffner said.

The book describes how major manufacturers in the United States
and Europe, with names like Creed or Gloria, molded innovative
beads out of Bakelite, wood infused with rose-petal essence and
uranium glass that glows green when exposed to ultraviolet
light.

The Hoffner book lists typical prices for rosaries, nearly always
under $100. In October, an RR Auction sale in Boston offered John
F. Kennedy’s black onyx rosary with a silver cross, estimated to
bring up to $1 million. It did not sell, and its fate has not
been decided.