Armchair Traveler

18 09 2017

The end of the Victorian era produced numerous travel journals by both scholars and Joe Adventurer, all equally suspect in terms of veracity but at least full of interesting imagery and bound in eye-catching covers. This example, Our New Way Round the World, by the colorfully surnamed Charles Carleton Coffin, was published in 1887. It is not exclusively about Egypt, but iconography from the land was chosen for the cover art. As usual, “artistic” license was taken with some, though not all, illustrations.

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A Quieter Ride

26 12 2016

This 1957 ad (detail shown) promotes the new cars manufactured by GM which featured reduced road noise thanks to specific designs by Fisher Body (a division of GM) – in this particular example, the 1958 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Holiday Coupe is shooting past the Great Sphinx in what is accurately captioned “a dramatic portrayal.”

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Town Crier

15 11 2016

I had the pleasure of visiting Centralia, Illinois this month and swung by the Sentinel Newspaper building, which is a fabulous 1920’s Egyptian Revival structure. Because my blog is solely about my collection of Egyptomania objects, you’ll have to look at other people’s photos of this building online. But here is a scan of their newspaper heading, which has now been added to my stash. “Egypt’s Greatest Daily” refers to the nickname of that region – the lower sixteen counties of Illinois are correctly called Egypt (incorrectly called Little Egypt, even by locals, who forget that this moniker refers to a hoochy-koochy dancer at the 1893 Columbian Exposition.)

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Feed Me

26 08 2016

Which one of these things doesn’t belong in the group?
Paper, Sphinx, Refrigerator, Advertising
Ha! Trick question. They all belong together, at least in this c.1955 advertisement from Consolidated Enamel Papers. One of their clients, Servel, used their product to publish their newsletter. Servel manufactured refrigerators, and one of their ad campaigns featured their product between the paws of the Great Sphinx, which is reproduced in Consolidated’s ad. A pretty nifty coincidence, since any of Servel’s numerous ads could have been chosen – but once again, the fascination with Egypt won out, not once but twice.
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Bric-a-Brac

9 02 2016

The Victorian era produced an unprecedented quantity of decorative crapola for the household. The golden rule of interior decoration was “if you can see an empty space, then clearly you need another tchotchke.” (I paraphrase.) Rich and poor alike demanded objets d’art – the only problem being, the less money one has to spend, the less d’art one can afford. The resulting struggle between Quality and Quantity (personified by mythological Greek goddesses, in the approved Victorian manner) resulted in Quality getting bonked on the head and stuffed in an alley while Quantity ran rampant through lower-class neighborhoods tossing flashy but bizarre objects through windows, where they landed on parlor tables, étagères, and mantels. Take this shoe, for instance – I suppose a petite porcelain model of a shoe might be quaint, especially if finished with a striking lustre hue. But reason stops there. Why are there embossed flowers and beads twining around it? Why add a painted scene of Egyptian monuments? And why would you want to stick flowers in such an ungraceful thing? Because, yes – it really was manufactured to be a vase.

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Memories of a Far-Off Land

25 01 2016

This cute plastic pin featuring the Sphinx (with nose) and a pyramid is most likely a souvenir piece circa the 1940s.

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I Know What I Know – Or Do I?

30 11 2015

This small calendar is an advertising sample from 1921 for the Bank of Warren in the towns of Warrenton and Norlina in North Carolina. The colorful Egyptian imagery of sphinx, winged scarab, and lotus blooms is paired with a head-scratching adage. The bank’s self-description states: “This bank extends courteous and liberal treatment to every depositor, whether the account be large or small. This policy is the reason for our daily growth in strength and public favor. We pay 4 per cent on savings accounts.”

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