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In Review: The Modern History of Celtic Jewellery 1840-1980

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Written by Independent Media Source   
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 10:30

The Modern History of Celtic Jewellery 1840-1980 by Walker, Kelly, MacArthur, Breen. Available through

ANDOVER, N.Y. (PRWEB) - Walker Metalsmiths announces the release of The Modern History of Celtic Jewellery 1840-1980. The book contains chapters by two historians, Mairi MacArthur from Scotland and Tara Kelly from Ireland, as well as an American Celtic jeweler, Stephen Walker and Irish silversmith and jewelry maker Aidan Breen.

Originally conceived as the illustrated catalog for an exhibition of the same name, the book examines both Scottish and Irish jewelry from the 19th century Celtic Revival through more recent developments in the 20th century. The traditions of interlaced “endless knot” designs, ringed Celtic crosses, spirals and abstract animal motifs can be traced back to early medieval styles. The glorious artistic accomplishments created by Celtic craftsmen more than a thousand years ago, such as the Book of Kells and the Tara Brooch, became the source of inspiration for modern designers.

There has been resurgence of popularity for Celtic jewelry in the past twenty years. Contemporary consumers understand it as many things, from souvenirs of vacations or festivals, as reproductions of ancient artifacts and as heirlooms in a traditional style that express their family heritage. Stephen Walker states in his introduction, “Even when the modern designer creates something new and original, if that creation is done in the traditional style, our cultural inclination treats it as if it is already old, and that its authenticity must flow from a prototype in the past. Despite the fact that the truly fluent use of Celtic design and ornament is creative and original, the habit of viewing it all as something ancient is a strong one.”

The book is a long overdue examination of the recent history of Celtic jewelry. The authors examine the craftsmen and entrepreneurs who have, in modern times, restored and added to this living artistic tradition.

Aidan Breen writes an autobiographical account of his career that began with a traditional apprenticeship in 1959 with old school Dublin silversmiths and tells of how his Celtic design jewelry caught on as just as he made the transition from working as a chaser for the firm Irish Silver to being an independent designer-craftsman.

Mairi MacArthur tells the story of how Alexander and Euphemia Ritchie set up their own cottage enterprise on the Scottish isle of Iona in 1899. The Ritchie’s company Iona Celtic Art not only established the style of Scottish Celtic jewelry for the next century, but also served as a model for island and rural based craft business that is still widely followed.

Tara Kelly gives an account of Victorian manufacture and marketing of facsimiles and reproductions of Irish archeological artifacts, such as the “Tara” Brooch beginning in the 1840s. This activity brought the splendid artistic achievements of the past to a wide, middle class audience, through commercial promotion.

Stephen Walker ties the story together by following the progression from the Celtic design tradition of Scottish warriors, preserved in the styles of ornate weapons. He follows the survival and expression of the Celtic cross as jewelry and the Arts and Crafts Movement influence on Celtic design.

The 74-page color illustrated book is available on for $16.95 paperback. Limited edition hardbound copies for $29.95 are available exclusively at Walker Metalsmiths two locations, at 1 Main Street, Andover, NY and at 140 Packets Landing, Fairport, N.Y. The exhibition of over 70 historical pieces that are illustrated in the book will be on display until June 2 at the Fairport location. For further information call 1-800-488-6347.

Walker Metalsmiths is a family-run jewelry design workshop specializing in Celtic rings, crosses and other jewelry in gold and silver. Established in Andover, NY in 1984, Walker Metalsmiths now operates a second store in Fairport, NY and has been a leader in Celtic jewelry sales by mail-order and on the internet since the 1990s. In recent years, founder Stephen Walker has been increasingly recognized as a researcher and author on historical Celtic art and craftsmanship.

Click to purchase the book through

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The Modern History of Celtic Jewellery 1840-1980 by Walker, Kelly, MacArthur, Breen. Available through

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 10:42

Fleisher directs 47th edition of Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles

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Written by Outside Media Source   
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 16:16

Warman's Antiques & Collectibles 2014, published by F+W Media and Krause Publications

IOLA, Wis. — The antiques group of F+W Media and Krause Publications has released the newest edition of one of the most trusted titles in the antiques and collectibles field: Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2014. Edited by 15-year industry veteran Noah Fleisher, former editor of Antique Trader, New England Antiques Journal and Northeast Antiques Journal, and current Public Relations Director at Heritage Auction Galleries, the 47th edition makes sense of the inexhaustibly diverse domain of antiques and collectibles.

When asked what sets this newest edition apart from the rest, Fleisher says, “A larger, more informative introduction offers perspective from key market watchers. New collectors entering the collecting world are constantly affecting demand and prices so it’s important to take a step back and examine just how much this hobby and business has changed during the last decade and the new areas collectors may pursue.”

Geared toward providing a keen eye, discriminating taste and an authoritative voice, “Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2014” offers a dazzling display of more than 2,000 color images in concert with insight, advice and valuations from leading experts from across the country.

“We strive to make Warman’s not only the most informative annual guide on the market but also the most enjoyable to read,” said Paul Kennedy, Editorial Director of Antiques & Collectibles Books, Krause Publications. “Much like the hobby itself, sitting down with our guide should be a pleasurable experience, instructive and entertaining. With that in mind, we are thrilled to have someone of Noah Fleisher’s stature and ability guiding our efforts. Noah not only brings to the table an impressive understanding of the field but also a great deal of joy and appreciation for this grand adventure.”

Whether you fancy the tradition or the latest trend, you will find it in “Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2014.” This newest edition includes everything from ceramics and glass, furniture and jewelry, to toys and illustration art; new additions include Historical Americana, Wildlife Art, Science & Technology, Wine and Comics Art, among others.

Fleisher says, “This edition presents a number of areas that are up and coming as well as the finest examples of art and antiques.” He continues, “I also wanted to show that although the top of the market keeps bringing top prices, middle range items are showing strong improvement. There’s several years of pent-up demand for antiques and collectibles and as the economy improves I expect we’ll see both segments grow.”

“Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2014” ($29.99 U.S.) is available at national booksellers, local antique shops or directly from the publisher: online at (, or via telephone at 855-864-2579, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CST.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 16:25

Book chronicles short-lived Meriden Flint Glass Co.

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Written by RICHIE RATHSACK, Record-Journal of Meriden   
Friday, 08 February 2013 16:30

'Meriden Flint Glass Company - An Abundance of Glass,' by is available at

MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) – Off North Colony Road, behind Tomassetti Distributors, Cambridge Street runs into a small street called Artizan Street. The area contains some remnants of a former business that used to call the city home more than 100 years ago.

The Meriden Flint Glass Company: An Abundance of Glass, by resident Diane Tobin, chronicles the history of the short-lived but influential company that called the city home from the 1870s through the 1880s. Later, the factory building became home to the more widely known Napier jewelry company.

“They were the little company that could. They took on the giants of the time,” Tobin said Monday at her Gale Avenue home, where she has a small collection of Meriden Flint Glass products.

Though Meriden is known for its silver industry, local silver companies responding to trends in the market added glassware to their catalogs, Tobin said. Consumers would have had to purchase glass from places such as the New England Co. of Cambridge, Mass., or from Europe, Tobin said, which could be costly.

Horace C. Wilcox, former Meriden mayor and president of the Meriden Britannia Co., was on a trip to Europe in the early 1870s and toured some glass factories. He decided that glass could also be made in Meriden.

In 1876, the Britannia Co. approved $50,000 in stock to create the Meriden Flint Glass Co., Tobin said. As was common with new companies, the glass factory lured workers away from existing ones, such as New England Glass, Tobin said, which is how Cambridge Street got its name.

“They had some of the best artisans in the world working there,” she said.

The company's artisans lived on Artizan Street.

“George E. Hatch and Joseph Bourne had been connected with the New England Glass Works and were skilled artisans who here directed an enterprise which produced some of the finest ornamental glass ... in the country. The company erected large and well appointed glass works in the northern part of the city and many skilled native and foreign workmen were employed,” reads an excerpt from the 1900 book History of New Haven County, Volume 1, edited by John L. Rockey.

Company officials kept a detailed journal of the trials and tribulations of the company, Tobin said. She spent a lot of time reading through the volumes at the Meriden Historical Society.

Along with the skilled workers, she said, children were often employed to run errands and other simple tasks. The superintendent of schools would stop by to make sure the job was also a learning experience for the children.

For years, the company would create a wide variety of items including drinking glasses, vases, food platters, jewelry boxes and bowls. The Britannia Co. would combine glassware with the silver products to make lanterns and other decorative glass products. Tobin compiled a personal collection of these items, largely by scouring eBay, which she takes to give presentations throughout the region.

Because many workers came from other glass factories in the region, collectors often misidentify Meriden Flint Glass products with those of other companies, Tobin said. Few have the company seals on them anymore, she said. Most of her identification comes from searching through catalogs from Britannia and other local companies.

Working conditions at the factory were quite dangerous, Tobin said. Flint glass essentially means using flint, lead and other elements to produce a higher quality glass, Tobin said. Workers would frequently get sick and even die due to some of the conditions they were exposed to, she said.

Employees eventually began to organize into a union, hoping to get better pay and better working conditions, Tobin said. Company officials would annually meet with union representatives to determine the rules for each work year, making the company possibly the first to institute a form of collective bargaining, Tobin said.

Eventually, the unions marked the end of the company, however. Tobin said union members would frequently strike over pay and work condition disagreements. Eventually, the strikes became too much for the company to continue and it ceased operating in the late 1880s, Tobin said.

The building was eventually purchased by E.A. Bliss, who started the company that would go on to become Napier Jewelry. Some of the original brick factory building still stands off Cambridge Street, Tobin said.

Along with detailing the history of the company, Tobin said the most intriguing aspect of her research was the human side of the company.

“I wanted to tell the story before the building is taken down,” Tobin said.


Information from: Record-Journal,

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 17:02

New book presents photo history of Civil War in Pa.

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Written by PRNewswire-USNewswire   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 12:29

'The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History,' by Michael G. Kraus, David M. Neville and Kenneth C. Turner.

HARRISBURG, Pa., (PRNewswire-USNewswire) -Pennsylvania Civil War 150, the state's official program commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, today announced the publication of a new book, "The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History."

Written by a trio of memorabilia collectors documenting the Civil War in Pennsylvania, the paperback book presents a large selection of images, some of which have never before been published.

The authors are Michael G. Kraus, curator of collections of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh; David M. Neville, a military historian specializing in the Civil War, publisher of "Military Images'' magazine and co-writer with Kraus of a DVD documentary series entitled "Civil War Minutes''; and Kenneth C. Turner, a writer and researcher for a number of Civil War-related magazines and projects, including the Time-Life "Civil War'' series.

The book was published by the Senator John Heinz History Center for Pennsylvania Civil War 150.

Turner has amassed one of the largest privately held collections of images and memorabilia related to the Civil War in Pennsylvania. It includes recruiting posters, presentation swords, inscribed corps badges, letters and weapons.

In his foreword, Edward L. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond and author of "In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America,'' emphasizes that "the 150th anniversaries of the American Civil War and Emancipation offer us a great opportunity and a great challenge. More than at any time since those momentous events, we have a chance to see them fully and clearly."

The book also includes illustrations drawn from the Library of Congress, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Chester County Historical Society, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, U.S. Army Military History Institute and Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.

Works by notable 19th century photographers represented in the book include Matthew B. Brady, Timothy Sullivan and Frederick Gutekunst.

In addition to historic photographs, "The Civil War in Pennsylvania" features striking illustrations of period uniforms, engravings, medals and badges, musical instruments, swords and rifles.

"The Civil War in Pennsylvania" is available for $34.95 online at

Pennsylvania Civil War 150 is the state's official program commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, being observed from 2011 to 2015. The PA Civil War 150 Committee, convened by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) in partnership with the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, Harrisburg, the Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, is a statewide alliance of history, heritage, arts and cultural organizations from throughout the state.

PA Civil War 150's mission is to leverage the considerable strengths of these institutions and bring quality programming to the state's commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. PA Civil War 150 includes a wide array of statewide initiatives and facilitates numerous activities and events at the regional and local levels.

Find more information online at

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'The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History,' by Michael G. Kraus, David M. Neville and Kenneth C. Turner.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 January 2013 15:23

First Overstreet comic guide in 10 years goes on sale Nov. 28

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Written by Outside Media Source   
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:37
Image courtesy of Gemstone Publishing.

TIMONIUM, Md. - The team behind The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide has announced that the first new Overstreet-branded book to be published in more than a decade -- The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics -- will be released on Nov. 18, 2012.

With record prices being paid for back issues and the awareness of pop culture icons at its highest point ever, this new book takes the reader through the world of comics as explained by dealers, creators and collectors.

The book explores collecting by genre, company, “dead universes,” title sets and runs, creators, and much more. It introduces the reader to the Hall of Fame-caliber creators who made the business and the hobby what they are today. It also introduces key contributors who work behind the scenes, as well.

The “Fan to Pro” section spotlights people who have turned their passion for comics into their careers, ranging from retailers and reviewers to publishers and creators. Collectors of high-end back issues and buyers of the latest issues to hit the shelves will find enormous value in The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics, which answers such questions as:

*  What's the right way to go about collecting comics?

*  How are comics graded?

*  What's the correct way to care for and store comics?

*  How can an interest in comics become a job in the industry?

The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics is written by Robert M. Overstreet and others, with illustrations by Gene Gonzales, photos by Mike Solof and artistic contributions from other leading artists and photographers. The 336-page book is a full-color softcover edition and retails for $19.95. It goes on sale Nov. 28, 2012 and will be available through comic book shops from coast to coast, with two versions of cover art: a new Spider-Man cover by Joe Jusko and a previously created but unpublished DC Heroes cover by the late Don Newton.

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Image courtesy of Gemstone Publishing.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:59
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