Friday, December 19, 2008

FABERGE'S EGGS : THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE MASTERPIECES THAT OUTLIVED AN EMPIRE
by Toby Faber

When you see or hear the name Faberge, what comes to mind, today, is toiletries. But, the family, originally, were jewelers and their pieces were designed with the utmost quality and exquisite craftsmanship.
Carl Faberge was known as the "egg guy." Hs firm created fifty eggs, from 1885 to 1917, for Russia's czars to gve as Easter presents for their czarinas. What made them so special were the surprises hidden inside each one, such as the 1911 Bay Tree Egg, which has a singing bird emerging from the top of a tree when a jewel is pressed. Others have miniature portraits, a clock, a model train, etc.
Unfortunately, the extravagance of the Romanovs led to their demise and after the Russian Revolution, the eggs disappeared.
In Faberge's Eggs Tony Faber has written a marvelous tale about art, Russian history and wealth of a bygone era.
To round out the book, besides the family trees of both the Faberges and the Romanovs, there is a complete list of all the imperial eggs, a glossary, notes, an extensive bibliography with websites, and an index.
A terrific read.
Highly recommended.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

EMILY POST : DAUGHTER OF THE GILDED AGE, MISTRESS OF AMERICAN MANNERS
by Laura Claridge

In 1922, Etiquette : in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home debuted, written by a middle-aged woman, whose name would be recognized as one of the most important Americans in the 20th century.
Emily Post was born a few years after the Civil War ended, the only child of renowned Baltimore architect, Bruce Price and his rich wife, Josephine Lee (her money came from anthracite), whose ancestors sailed on the Mayflower.
After attending numerous balls as a young lady, Emily would meet and then marry Edwin Post, hoping she would have the kind of marriage her parents had. Instead, it ended in divorce with published details in the newspapers.
She now had to support herself and so began the process of writing.
Laura Claridge's Emily Post is a fascinating biography of an authority on good manners, who lived from the Gilded Age through the 1960s and whose book reflected, through numerous revisions, what was expected of people in society.
So, if you want to brush up on etiquette, check out this book. You might learn something.