Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/exhibitions/51668993/

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

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.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703485/

  • carved, planed, turned, and veneered walnut
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • building
  • domestic
  • display
  • stairs
  • model
  • walnut

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703475/

  • joined, planed, bent, and carved pear, wrought brass wire, turned bone
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • instruction
  • architecture
  • building
  • display
  • exhibition
  • model
  • miniature
  • geometric
  • spiral staircases
  • data visualization
  • double stairway
  • apprentices

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.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703479/

  • carved, inlaid, marquetried, and veneered walnut, pear, and oak
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • collectors
  • architecture
  • religion
  • pulpits
  • ornament
  • display
  • churches
  • canopy
  • stairs
  • masterpiece jury
  • model
  • historicism
  • posts
  • balconies

The technical skills featured in this model indicate it is a compagnonnage masterwork. A spiral stairway leads to a carved pulpit attached to a central column, both with molded paneling. The canopy is scroll-carved and the base is inlaid with a lozenge pattern. André-Jacob Roubo’s book, L’art du menuisier (1769–75), depicts a similarly formed pulpit.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703503/

  • carved, planed, joined, inlaid, and turned walnut and beechwood
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • building
  • curves
  • display
  • stairs
  • model
  • apprentices

This maîtrise (masterpiece) in the 17th-century Italian style, is one of the finest examples of the combination of architectural design and structure with staircase modeling.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460287/

  • carved and turned ivory and ivory veneer, gilt metal, wood
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architects
  • architecture
  • building
  • dome
  • studio
  • display
  • exhibition
  • temple
  • columns
  • model
  • historicism
  • Renaissance style

This very skilled model probably represents a 16th-century baptistery in the manner of architect Andrea Palladio. A Latin inscription on the steps reveals the maker to be the priest of a church in Cavarzere, in Italy’s Veneto region. The priest recounts that it took three years of “very hard work” to create the model. He presented the model to Pope Pius VI in 1782, when the Pope stopped to cross the river Adige by boat at the nearby town of Anguillara Veneta. The Pope so admired the model that he blessed the priest three times and gave him “spiritual rewards”; the priest apparently kept the model and inscribed it with his record of the event. Inscription for Architectural Model of a Baptistery or Church A. P. R. M. HOC.OPUS. A. DNO. JHO. BAPTA.RASIO.CAPITIS.AGGE RIS.SACERD. IMPROBO.TRIENII EXACTVM.LABORE.PIO.VI.PONT. MAX. E.GERMANIA.REDUCI.DUM.ANGULARIAE.PER. CIMBAM.TRANS ATHESIM.VEHERETUR.FUIT.OBLATUM. TANTAQ.SS.PATRIS ANIMUM ADMIRE.PERCULIT. UT.IPSUM. TER.BENEDICENS.AUCTOREM.SUUM.QUOQ.SPI RITUALIBUS.CUMULARIT.DONIS.XIII.KAL. JUL.A.P.C.N.M.D.CC.LXXXII. This work, completed in three years’ hard work by Giovanni Baptista Rasio (Name?), the priest of Caput Aggeris (Cavarzere, in Veneto), was presented to Pius VI, Pontifex Maximus, on his return from Germany while he was crossing the river Athesis (Adige) by boat at Angularia (Anguiluara Veneta), and it affected the mind of the Holy Father with such admiration that he thrice blessed its maker and heaped him with spiritual gifts. June 19, A.D. 1782. (Translation by James R. Zetzel)

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703477/

  • cut, joined, and inlaid mahogany, ebony, pear or sycamore, oak, molded biscuit porcelain (busts)
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • building
  • display
  • stairs
  • model
  • double stairway
  • apprentices

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).

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703481/

  • carved and turned pearwood
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • building
  • public
  • display
  • stairs
  • model
  • spirals
  • spiral staircases

This masterwork is a virtuosity of joinery. Its ogival turrets with turned finials are a sign of the mastery of roof-making. In the mid- to late-19th century, masters of compagnonnage who combined their talents on a masterwork sometimes paraded the piece through the city in which it had been made or was to be exhibited. This staircase may be one such collaboration.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703489/

  • planed and carved walnut and fir
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • building
  • display
  • stairs
  • model
  • spirals
  • apprentices

With stairs that double back without apparent support, this model is further elaborated with undulating sides and Gothic-style arches. Possibly an acceptance piece, this example shows a high level of skill without necessarily being a full masterwork.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460289/

  • carved, turned, and veneered pear, walnut, satinwood, and other woods
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • building
  • design
  • studio
  • display
  • exhibition
  • classical
  • columns
  • urns
  • colonnade
  • model
  • geometric
  • wood

David Linley (the professional name of David Armstrong-Jones, Lord Linley) is one of Britain’s best known furniture maker-designers. He specializes in high quality, sophisticated combinations of materials for designs that reference history but remain firmly contemporary. This collector’s fantasy building shows Linley’s command of architectural design applied to a decorative arts object.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703473/

  • carved, joined, turned, bent, and planed oak
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • building
  • display
  • exhibition
  • model
  • double stairway
  • apprentices

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.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460791/

  • pressed, carved, and cut cork with wood base
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • display
  • temple
  • commemorative
  • model
  • ruins
  • Grand Tour

This cork model reflects a period of renewed interest in classical design, from about 1770 to 1830, that made these models collectibles of the Grand Tour. It features meticulous workmanship and an exacting sense of proportion faithful to the original temple ruin. Often made by architects to supplement their income, these models use the color and irregular surface of cork to replicate ancient stone.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460437/

  • carved, gessoed, and painted wood, sheet glass
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • dome
  • commemorative
  • model
  • baroque
  • novelty

This is a precise depiction of the Radcliffe Camera at Oxford University, an important architectural landmark in the baroque style with Palladian elements, designed by James Gibbs and built between 1737 and 1749. Gibbs’s design is faithfully rendered: painted and carved gesso replicate the rustication and real glass in the windows.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703469/

  • planed, joined, and veneered cherry, walnut
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • building
  • display
  • stairs
  • model
  • apprentices

Although called “in the English style” in France, this model is at least a work of acceptance—if not a masterwork—in compagnonnage. It shows a complex, self-supporting multiple spiral, with veneering on the underside of the stairs.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703483/

  • planed, carved, veneered, and turned cherry
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architecture
  • building
  • display
  • stairs
  • model
  • apprentices

The ellipses of this double staircase are so elegant that the maker actually signed this with his adopted compagnonnage name, “Ugen.” New compagnons often took a symbolic name to show allegiance and to protect their true identity from those in traditional guilds wishing to seek punishment for those outside the guild system.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18703499/

  • planed, joined, and veneered pearwood, walnut
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architects
  • architecture
  • stairway
  • interior design
  • model
  • curved
  • spirals
  • spiral staircases

This style was popularized by the important master of compagnonnage, Agricole Perdiguier.

This object is currently on display in room 212 in Carnegie Mansion.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18705655/

  • graphite and brush and watercolor, pen and black ink on cream laid paper
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architects
  • stairway
  • staircase
  • drawing
  • curves
  • designers
  • spiral staircases
  • architectural drawing

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18705657/

  • graphite, brush and watercolor, pen and black ink on cream laid paper
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architects
  • staircase
  • drawing
  • interior design
  • designers
  • curved
  • spiral staircases
  • architectural drawing

This drawing, like the others on view, was executed by a received compagnon doing his “tour de France.” These drawings are from a series executed in Marseille, Tours, and Lyon over several years during the 1880s. The model relates to a specific design problem similar to that shown in the drawing.

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18705661/

  • graphite, brush and watercolor, pen and black ink on cream wove paper
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architects
  • architecture
  • staircase
  • drawing
  • interior design
  • curved
  • interior designers
  • spiral staircases
  • architectural drawing

Models & Prototypes Gallery: Thaw Models

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18707929/

  • pen and black ink, brush and wash, watercolor on cream wove paper
  • Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw
  • architects
  • stairway
  • staircase
  • drawing
  • interior design
  • stairs
  • curved
  • spirals
  • double stairway
  • architectural drawing

L’art du trait—or the art of drawing perspectives, elevations, cross-sections, and details of joinery—was part of the training of master craftsmen. The drawing shows an understanding of these disciplines, and the model shows the craftsmanship necessary to build it.