Newly Conserved and Renovated Salon Doré Unveiled

Posted in museums by Editor on April 8, 2014

Salon Doré

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 The newly restored Salon Doré has just opened at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco:

The Salon Doré from the Hôtel de La Trémoille is one of the finest examples of French Neoclassical interior architecture in the United States. Richly carved and ornately gilded, it was designed during the reign of Louis XVI as the main salon de compagnie—a receiving room for guests—of the Hôtel de La Trémoille on the rue Saint-Dominique in Paris.

After being moved not less than seven times between 1877 and today, its appearance and presentation was greatly changed from its original aspect. For a period of 18 months from 2012 to 2014, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco closed the Salon Doré and the adjacent British art gallery at the Legion of Honor to allow for the comprehensive conservation and renovation of this important 18th-century period room.

Over the course of the conservation and renovation project, curators, conservators, and architects reinstated the room’s original floor plan, restored the gilding and paint, repaired and replaced key carved elements, and installed an 18th-century parquet floor, a coved ceiling, windows, and new lighting.

In its new installation, a new program of period furnishings bring renewed focus to the room’s character and original purpose by demonstrating the social function of the room as a salon de compagnie, a formal room for receiving guests and conversation. The renovated Salon Doré at the Legion of Honor is a truly groundbreaking museum display that sets a new standard for American period rooms.

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The museum’s website includes several instructive videos explaining the project.

The Style Saloniste, the blog of Diane Dorrans Saeks, includes a report (31 March 2014) by Philip Bewley, who spoke with both the museum curator Martin Chapman and project architect Andrew Skurman.


New Book | Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Power

Posted in books by Editor on April 8, 2014

From The University of Chicago Press:

Sylvia Sumira, Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Power (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-0226139005, $45.

9780226139005The concept of the earth as a sphere has been around for centuries, emerging around the time of Pythagoras in the sixth century BC, and eventually becoming dominant as other thinkers of the ancient world, including Plato and Aristotle, accepted the idea. The first record of an actual globe being made is found in verse, written by the poet Aratus of Soli, who describes a celestial sphere of the stars by Greek astronomer Eudoxus of Cnidus (ca. 408–355 BC). The oldest surviving globe—a celestial globe held up by Atlas’s shoulders—dates back to 150 AD, but in the West, globes were not made again for about a thousand years. It was not until the fifteenth century that terrestrial globes gained importance, culminating when German geographer Martin Behaim created what is thought to be the oldest surviving terrestrial globe. In Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Power, Sylvia Sumira, beginning with Behaim’s globe, offers a authoritative and striking illustrated history of the subsequent four hundred years of globe making.

Showcasing the impressive collection of globes held by the British Library, Sumira traces the inception and progression of globes during the period in which they were most widely used—from the late fifteenth century to the late nineteenth century—shedding light on their purpose, function, influence, and manufacture, as well as the cartographers, printers, and instrument makers who created them. She takes readers on a chronological journey around the world to examine a wide variety of globes, from those of the Renaissance that demonstrated a renewed interest in classical thinkers; to those of James Wilson, the first successful commercial globe maker in America; to those mass-produced in Boston and New York beginning in the 1800s. Along the way, Sumira not only details the historical significance of each globe, but also pays special attention to their materials and methods of manufacture and how these evolved over the centuries.

Sylvia Sumira is a leading authority on historic globes and one of few conservators in the world to specialize in printed globes. She worked at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich before setting up her own studio, where she carries out conservation work for museums, libraries, and other institutions, as well as for private owners. She lives in London.

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