The Morgan Library & its hidden gems

The great works of art, rare printed books, manuscripts and paintings by Italian and Netherlandish masters that adorn Mr. Morgan’s opulent library, are not exactly hidden but scroll further down to discover some really rare gems – usually hidden from view – that were on show at the lower level.  Thomas Gainsborough
Portrait of Caroline, 4th Duchess of Marlborough, ca. 1770


Inspired thirteen different English translations, printed in more than a hundred editions. This is the first edition in English, a legendary rarity. Why it is so rare, is hard to tell; perhaps the first copies were loved to death or the printing was curtailed by a miscalculation of the publisher. Only one other copy is recorded in an American library. The Morgan also has Heidi in French and German first editions, both in bindings with the same pictorial designs as these volumes.


To mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the publication of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic story “The Little Prince”, the Morgan presents five newly discovered drawings by the author as well as intimate memorabilia from his time in New York during the 1940s. The items belonged to the American artist Joseph Cornell (1903–1972), who met Saint-Exupéry at the very moment the French author-aviator was drafting what would become one of the world’s favorite books. Cornell kept a dossier of papers and fragments that served as echoes of their encounters—everything from a marked-up cocktail napkin to an unpublished sketch of the little prince perched at the edge of a rose-covered cliff. Cornell’s Saint-Exupéry dossier was acquired by the Morgan in 2014 and is now shown in its entirety, for the first time, in the Morgan’s lower level lobby gallery.

The Morgan Library

May 20th, 2018

Charleston || Joseph Manigault House

Charleston is known for its rich history, an important piece of which are its well preserved, glorious mansions-turned-into-museums, bringing joy to architecture & history enthusiasts and large numbers of visitors to the city.

Be prepared for some awe inspiring historic house hopping when you visit Charleston, there’s no escaping that (not that you’d wish to escape it, I’m sure).

So, following our visit to the Aiken-Rhett House, most features of which have been lovingly preserved to their original style, today we tour the Joseph Manigault House, where almost all the rooms have been restored to their original colour schemes and feature historic pieces from the Charleston Museum’s collections.

Descending from French Huguenots who fled religious persecution in Europe in the late 1600s, the Manigaults prospered as rice planters and merchants during the 18th century and became one of South Carolina’s leading families. Joseph Manigault inherited several rice plantations and over two hundred slaves from his grandfather in 1788, and also married well. Arthur Middleton, father of his first wife, Maria Henrietta Middleton, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Following Henrietta’s death, he married Charlotte Drayton, with whom he had eight children. The Charleston Museum purchased the house in 1933, and has preserved and interpreted it ever since. [source: The Charleston Museum]

Joseph Manigault House

April 10th, 2018

Savannah || SCAD Welcome Center

As I mentioned earlier in this series, you’d have to work hard to escape SCAD when you visit Savannah. But every site being so interesting, bursting with fresh ideas, thought-provoking art or simply delicious scones, you’d probably wouldn’t want to miss it, anyway!

So, here we are, after an extensive look at the SCAD Museum of Art, a refreshing afternoon tea at the Gryphon, and some fun time with snooty ceramic faces at the shopSCAD, entering the place were it all started: the Poetter Hall, the first building that SCAD acquired in 1979, now home to their Admissions & Welcome Center, occasionally doubling up as an exhibition & event space. This is SCAD, after all.

May and Paul Poetter, founders of the Savannah College of Art and Design (along with Paula Wallace and Richard Rowan)


Allan Drumond
Un Petit Tour de Lacoste
Digital print from original illustration


Savannah, GA

April 5th, 2018

Savannah || Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters

Remember the third site of the Telfair Museums, which we had yet to see? Here it is, in all its grand splendour, starting from the humblest, the slaves’ quarters, walking our way through the garden and into the mansion.

We enter through a magnificent entrance hall into the largest room of the house, which is none other than the formal dining room; we work our way up an elegant staircase which rises to a landing, splits into two flights and, most interestingly, forms a bridge that connects the front and rear portions of the second floor – a rather unique feature, one we have never seen before (or since) in any of the mansions we visited; we peek into the various, lavishly decorated rooms, and the less-than-lavish service ones, in the front and rear halls of the second floor.

The two quarters could not have been more different.

You can find more information about the history, architecture and owners of the Owens-Thomas House, on the museum’s website.

April 5th, 2018

SCAD || British Accent

Secret Society

First two images: Pia Camil ‘FADE INTO BLACK’

For the exhibition “Fade Into Black,” Camil presented the latest and largest iteration of her ongoing interest in T-shirts as repositories of cultural information. Specially commissioned by SCAD, one colossal fabric mass made of hundreds of repurposed T-shirts was hanging from the ceiling as a single soft sculptural work. As an object that might resemble a curtain or a theatrical backdrop, the piece featured a gradient leading the visitor from black to white or vice versa.

SCAD Museum of Art – Savannah, GA

April 4th, 2018

Chicago || The Carbide and Carbon Building

Aka The Hard Rock Hotel – although that was about to change. We didn’t know it at the time, but a month later, the hotel would close for renovation; it now operates under a new brand, as the St. Jane Chicago. But the exterior, covered in polished black granite, topped by a tower dressed in dark green terracotta with gold leaf ornaments, must surely remain as impressive as it has always been, since the day of its completion in 1929.

Then, there is the dazzling lobby, all bronze and dark Belgian marble and Art Deco features – minus, I guess, the guitars which will have probably found a new wall to grace.

The building was designed by the Burnham Brothers, a commission by the Carbide and Carbon Company to house their regional headquarters.

November 3rd, 2017

Chicago || The Monadnock

The Monadnock was conceived primarily as a business centre; in fact, upon its completion, it was the world’s largest office building. Architects Burnham & Root designed the north half (built 1891); Holabird & Roche designed the south half (built 1893). Names that are becoming strangely familiar, by now.

The ground floor is purely commercial; a café, a restaurant, various retail shops, a ”shoe hospital”, every single one of them oozing old-school elegance. I am sure their interior design, unique yet totally coordinated, is a prerequisite and constitutes a lengthy clause in their leasing contract.

Whatever the cause, the result is the most atmospheric commercial gallery I have ever encountered.

November 2nd, 2017