Frogs have been frequent subjects for bookends since early times, probably because they are grotesque and interesting creatures. These pottery frogs are not very remarkable, but they are big so we will call them bullfrogs.
Art Deco, Clean, Modern, Geometric are all styles trending in home decor. These Double Scroll Bookends designed by Fred D. Farr for the Revere Copper and Brass Company illustrate high-style American Art Deco from 1935 by their geometric appearance, bright paint, and shining metal. They belong in any room with Art Deco decor and in any collection of Art Deco bookends.
In recent forays to modernism and antique venues The Bookend Collector has noticed an up-tick in the number of Art Deco Scroll Bookends for sale. These spring-loaded, rolled steel, scroll bookends are iconic examples of a period of Art Deco design in American manufacturing. Check out examples found in museum exhibits by clicking on the following links.
Here are 2 further examples of Revere Scroll Bookends from our book, BOOKENDS: Objects of Art and Fashion.
Spring is here! These bookends are perfect for Spring.
Each member of this pair is a lovely wood nymph embracing a removable glass bud vase. Her upswept hair and her softly draped costume add to the picture of a minor goddess or dryad. She stands on a forest hummock next to a tree stump that holds the vase. There is a red flower on the side of the stump that could be a Red Trillium. The vases are not important in supporting books. The ladies support the books, but the vases are held away from the books.
These bookends are quite Victorian in appearance and are reminiscent of the use of nymphs and fairies in the Arts of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Nymphs were popular in poetry, prints, stories, and music. Jean Sibelius composed and presented in 1895 “The Wood Nymph”, a tone poem based on Viktor Rydberg’s 1882 poem of the same name. An 1872 woodcut,”Die Quelle” or The Source, by the German artist, Kurt von Rozinsky is shown below. This same woodcut was featured in a 1910 edition of “The Bible and Its Story taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons”, a popular book in the United States.
A Wood Nymph with a vase displaying flowers from the local byways would have been a delightful addition to a 1910 decor.
Each bookend shows a young man standing and reading. He wears clothing appropriate to about 1895 – a cap, rolled up sleeves, suspenders, and short pants.. Perhaps he is reading a newspaper. His disheveled clothing and lack of shoes suggest he is poor.
Beyond these observations, the young man is a mystery. Does he represent some circumstance from long ago? Is this a reproduction of a painting or a sculpture or a depiction of a character in a book? We cannot place the young man so we conclude that he has no special significance other than the bookend-artist’s presentation of a young man from that era.
Perhaps one of our viewers will tell us the significance of this young man. Until then we simply have a very well cast and finished pair of bookends from Jennings Brothers, a respected foundry.
The first Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated cartoon, Fast and Furry-ous, featuring Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote was released in 1949 and featured the famous tunnel through the mountain scene. Coyote wishes to capture and eat Roadrunner, as usual, so he paints an entrance to a non-existing tunnel on a mountainside and expects Roadrunner to knock himself unconcious when he runs into the false entrance. To Coyote’s frustration, Roadrunner passes through the entrance and runs down the tunnel. Coyote tries to follow Roadrunner through the tunnel entrance and the tunnel, but he smashes himself on the painted entrance. The tunnel sequence starts at 3:31 of the 7 minute video.
The embedded Merrie Melodies cartoon is from the dailymotion website.
The bookends are marked Made in China and clearly reproduce the cartoon. All previous Chinese-made bookends we have seen have carried American nineteen-twenties or thirties realistic bookend subjects. Here the Chinese maker is appreciating and replicating zany American humor. Perhaps this presages a new wave of novel Chinese bookends.
These bookends are very substantial – large, heavy, and with eleven accurately-applied colors with paints that are not affected by water, detergent, or wax. AND ….. it is clear that anyone of a certain age that sees them covets them.
We saw this pair recently and were very surprised. We thought we had already seen all the Indian bookends, but this pair was new to us. It is probably very rare.
An Indian holding his pipe sits with his back against a large tree trunk, with a fire circle at his feet. Two tipis are in the background. The scene is enclosed in an art-nouveau or aesthetic style frame. It has the feel of a George Caitlin painting.
Tipis were houses for the plains Indians. Each tipi was constructed from supporting poles, tied at the top to give a cone shape and covered with tanned bison hides. A tipi could be disassembled and carted away, pulled by dogs or horses. Portability was very important because these people were nomadic and followed the herds of bison across the plains. The tipi on the bookends is representative of what artists in the early 20th century thought tipis looked like, it does not show flaps for a smoke hole and is therefore referred to as a stylized cone according to the author of “Historic Photos of Tipis” website.
This little girl is known as Sunbonnet Sue. The image was created by the artist and illustrator Bertha Corbett (Melcher) (1872-1950). Sue became an illustration for the book The Sunbonnet Babies Primer (1900) and for a very popular series of children’s books entitled Sunbonnet Babies (1902). You can read an excellent article on Bertha Corbett Melcher in the Minnesota Historical Society publication, Minnesota History Magazine.
Sue has remained a relatively unchanged embroidery and quilt pattern from before 1900 until today. She also appeared on postcards, dishes, ashtrays and quilts after 1900. Margaret Hobbs Cook, at 104 years young, has spanned that century of Sunbonnet Sue’s popularity and Margaret was still quilting at 103.
We attribute these bookends to Hubley. Hubley began in 1894 and produced quality painted iron toys, doorstops, bookends and other products until about 1970. Because the Sunbonnet Sue image originated and became very popular early on, we guess that Sue bookends were first issued in the first decade of the twentieth century. Many of the Sunbonnet Sue bookends that we see are poorly cast and extensively rusted. This pair has apparently original paint and in five colors.