A pair of French Art Deco koala bookends, patinated spelter and…
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A pair of French Art Deco koala bookends, patinated spelter and marble, circa 1930s, 16 cm high

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  • Spelter - Spelter was the name given to an alloy of zinc and brass or copper used in the 19th century for statuary and lighting. It is a brittle bluish-white metal. It was used as a cheap replacement for bronze, but being brittle easily breaks and can't be repaired. When finished it can often be mistaken for bronze, but if discreet a scratch on the base displays shows a greyish colour, the metal is spelter, if a golden colour the metal is most likely bronze.
  • Circa - A Latin term meaning 'about', often used in the antique trade to give an approximate date for the piece, usually considered to be five years on either side of the circa year. Thus, circa 1900 means the piece was made about 1900, probably between 1895 and 1905. The expression is sometimes abbreviated to c.1900.
  • Art Deco Period - The Art Deco period was a cultural movement that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, and was characterized by its emphasis on modernism, luxury, and elegance. The name "Art Deco" comes from the Exposition Internationale des Arts D√©coratifs et Industriels Modernes, a large exhibition held in Paris in 1925 that showcased the latest trends in decorative arts.

    Art Deco was a reaction against the ornate and elaborate styles of the previous era, and reflected a new modern sensibility. It was characterized by streamlined, geometric shapes, bright colours, and the use of new materials such as chrome, glass, and Bakelite. Art Deco designers sought to create a sense of luxury and sophistication, often incorporating expensive materials such as ivory, marble, and rare woods.

    Art Deco had a significant impact on a wide range of artistic fields, including architecture, fashion, graphic design, and interior design. Some of the most iconic examples of Art Deco architecture include the Empire State Building in New York City, the Hoover Building in London, and the Palais de Chaillot in Paris.

    The Art Deco period came to an end in the 1940s, as World War II and changing cultural trends led to a shift in artistic styles. However, Art Deco remains an important influence on design and art, and continues to be celebrated for its modernist sensibility and glamorous aesthetic.

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