NY -- NYC -- Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum -- Exhibit: Models & Prototypes Gallery:
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Description of Pictures: Models & Prototypes Gallery
For the opening installation, the gallery presents the exceptional 18th- and 19th-century models of staircases and some significant architectural models donated to Cooper Hewitt by Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw. The models represent a range of design styles and techniques, but most of the staircase models were designed in the compagnonnage tradition.
Compagnonnage, meaning “group of companions,” is a type of design practice that combined formal study with practical training from masters. Apprentices honed their skills in a workshop during the day, taking courses in the art of geometrical drawing and design in the evening, living together in a boarding house.
First, concepts were taught, then the handiwork, both of which became increasingly sophisticated. Each successful member made a “tour de France,” working and studying under masters in major cities.
At each stage of the learning process (acceptance, reception, mastership), apprentices created models, leading them to become masters of their craft and design.
Most of the staircase models produced in this tradition were made by masters of woodworking—joiners, cabinetmakers, and/or carpenters.
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Copyrights: All pictures were taken by amateur photographer Bruce Guthrie (me!) who retains copyright on them. Free for non-commercial use with attribution. See the [Creative Commons] definition of what this means. "Photos (c) Bruce Guthrie" is fine for attribution. Feel free to use in publications and pages with attribution but you don't have permission to sell the photos themselves. A free copy of any printed publication using any photographs is requested. Descriptive text, if any, is from a mixture of sources, quite frequently from signs at the location or from official web sites; copyrights, if any, are retained by their original owners.
Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
CHMOD_171222_05.JPG: Curved Staircase Model In The French Style, ca. 1850
CHMOD_171222_06.JPG: Staircase Model (France), late 18th century
This fine triple-height staircase model is similar to one designed by Robert Adam for 20 Portman Place in London. The model’s sustaining pillars ensure stability in place of the walls used in Adam’s staircase. The pillars are joined in a manner characteristic of a builder rather than a compagnonnage-trained cabinetmaker.
CHMOD_171222_09.JPG: Compagnonnage Examples
CHMOD_171222_10.JPG: Staircase Model (France), early 19th century
This double revolution staircase is unmistakably a masterwork, confirmed by details such as the carefully turned, ebony balusters and the sophisticated veneering used to create an inlaid “carpet.” A hint of revolutionary politics is introduced through a juxtaposition of Sèvres biscuit porcelain busts of the French philosophers Voltaire (left) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (right).
CHMOD_171222_16.JPG: Models & Prototypes
Models & Prototypes is a gallery devoted to exhibiting three-dimensional representations of ideas that demonstrate the design process; test concepts and resolve problems; enhance presentations; and display complex technical skills. The models displayed in this presentation represent a range of styles and techniques most are staircases from the compagnonnage (group of companions) movement in France dating from the Middle Ages, while others are architectural models of buildings.
Compagnonnage, a merit-based alternative to restrictive apprenticeships in traditional European guilds, featured a combination of formal study along with the opportunity to teach craft and design skills. Stages of exams in design and execution included modelmaking for carpentry, joinery, cabinetry, and metalwork. Apprentices (compagnons) honed skills in masters' workshops by day, with evening courses in the art of geometrical design drawing. A compagnon made an acceptance model after basic training. Acceptance led to the "tour de France;' during which the compagnon traveled to different masters in various cities, over several years, to learn essential disciplines. After a successful tour, the compagnon produced a reception piece to demonstrate competence. He became a completed companion when he produced a masterwork, which required a very high level of design, craftsmanship, and technical virtuosity in a harmonious whole. This magnificent collection, given to Cooper Hewitt in 2007 by Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, contains examples of each stage, with masterworks in both staircase and architectural design.
CHMOD_171222_18.JPG: Staircase Model (France), mid–late 19th century
This double-revolution staircase model is similar to one described as being “in Renaissance style for a store,” in plate 17 of a folio by E. Delbrel, published in Paris in the 1880s. The upper level is self-supporting and the railings’ balusters are turned.
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2017 photos: Equipment this year: I continued to use my Fuji XS-1 cameras but, depending on the event, I also used a Nikon D7000.
Trips this year:
(April) a 48-hour jaunt for a Civil War Trust conference in Pensacola, FL,
(June) an 11-day trip built around the Civil War Trust annual conference in Chattanooga, TN including sites in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee,
(July) the annual San Diego Comic Con trip with a sidetrip to sites in Arizona,
(August) a family reunion in The Dells, Wisconsin including sites in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin,
(October) the Civil War Trust Grand Review in Fredericksburg, VA, and
(December) a two-day jaunt to New York City.
For some reason, several of my photos have been published in physical books this year which is pretty cool. Ones that I know about:
"Tarzan, Jungle King of Popular Culture" (David Lemmo),
"The Great Crusade: A Guide to World War I American Expeditionary Forces Battlefields and Sites" (Stephen T. Powers and Kevin Dennehy),
"The American Spirit" (David McCullough),
"Civil War Battlefields: Walking the Trails of History" (David T. Gilbert),
"The Year I Was Peter the Great: 1956 — Khrushchev, Stalin's Ghost, and a Young American in Russia" (Marvin Kalb), and
"The Judge: 26 Machiavellian Lessons" (Ron Collins and David Skover).
Number of photos taken this year: just below 560,000.