The Speed’s current exhibition, Art of the Streets: The French Poster, 1880-1930, features lithographic reproductions of famous designs from the golden age of the poster. Together with original prints from the collection of Jonathan and Tracy Blue, these rarely seen prints from the Speed’s permanent collection give an intimate look at the dazzling heights of the French poster. Watch the video below for an in-depth discussion of the exhibition by Kim Spence, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, and Bradley Speaks, Administrative Assistant for Collections and Exhibitions.
Throughout their history, sideboards symbolized status. They were the perfect accompaniment to well-dressed and well-mannered diners. Such was the case in early nineteenth-century Kentucky: estate inventories and other documentary sources show that sideboards were often among the most expensive pieces of furniture one could own. The magnificent sideboard shown here certainly shows why the form was so costly. Its complex profile, richly figured veneers, precise inlays, and the exceptional quality of its craftsmanship place it among the most ambitious Kentucky sideboards to have survived from the early nineteenth century. It was made between about 1800 and 1815, probably in Lexington or its surrounding area.
In this short video, Robert Brewer, the sideboard’s previous owner, describes the unique circumstances surrounding his purchase of the piece in 1951.