Wedgwood Library at WMODA

The WMODA research library is being recreated in the Neoclassical style favored by the Adam Brothers for 18th century stately homes in England. Wedgwood reference books donated by the Polikoff family will be arranged alongside Black Basalt library busts, classical figures, vases, urns, and plaques from the WMODA collection. Our newest volunteer, Alain Montour, has been cataloging and organizing the books during the move to our new Hollywood location.

Alain Montour

Alain is a retired actuary who spent most of his working life in New York City. He now divides his time between South Florida and his hometown of Trois-Rivieres in Quebec. He loves volunteering for museums as he can combine his organizational skills with his knowledge of computer software. During the last few months, Alain helped pack up the WMODA library and he is now busy unpacking while Luis Montanez installs the new shelving system.

The Adam Brothers

Meanwhile, our curator, Louise Irvine, has been researching some of the great country house libraries designed by the Scottish architects, Robert and James Adam, such as Kenwood House and Osterley Park in London. Robert Adam embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe in 1754 and spent five years studying architecture before establishing his own practice in London with his brother, James. The brothers developed a distinctive, cohesive style for interior decoration inspired by artifacts from ancient Greece and Rome. Their light, fanciful Neoclassical style was applied to furniture, silver, and ceramics as well as walls, floors, and ceilings.

Josiah Wedgwood

The Adam Style was popularized by their lavish publication Works in Architecture and interest had spread beyond the fashionable elite by the 1770s when Josiah Wedgwood was experimenting with his Black Basalt and Jasper ware bodies. The pioneering potter effectively used the Neoclassical style for imposing urns and vases in the homes of the wealthy. Wedgwood plaques were incorporated into Adam style furniture and fireplaces while their sculptures of illustrious philosophers and literary figures adorned cabinets and bookshelves. Arthur Wiener has acquired many choice Wedgwood pieces at auction over the years including some rarities from the Polikoff collection.

Victor & Muriel Polikoff

The Victor and Muriel Polikoff library for the study of Wedgwood and related English ceramics came to WMODA in 2017, thanks to their children, Barbara, Marjory, and James. The Polikoffs were ardent collectors and scholars of Wedgwood and their research library contains many rare and out of print volumes as well as proceedings from Wedgwood societies around the world during the last 50 years. Among the rarest publications are several volumes of Antiquity Explained by Bernard de Montfaucon (1655-1741) in which the Benedictine scholar presents a synthesis of knowledge about Graeco-Roman art in his time.

The WMODA library will be open by appointment for research purposes when the museum reopens at the Hollywood location.

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