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Jean-Léon Gérôme 1824 – 1904, Pollice Verso, c.1872
Pollice Verso, is a painting by French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme. The literal translation of Pollice Verso from Latin is 'with a turned thumb’. This painting features the now infamous Roman gesture directed to the winning gladiator. The turned thumb on the painting is given by the Vestals to the victorious murmillo, awaiting the decision on the beaten retiarius at the Colosseum.
Gérôme deliberately uses light and perspective to depict some of the key features of the work, while the blend of voyeurism and a sense of moral superiority is a specific 19th-century feature.
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Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1824 - 1904, was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits, and other subjects, bringing the academic painting tradition to an artistic climax. He is considered one of the most important painters from this academic period.
As a young man he travelled widely through Europe, but was forced to return to Paris in 1844 due to fever. In 1846 he tried to enter the prestigious Prix de Rome, but failed in the final stage because his figure drawing was inadequate. It was later that year in 1846 that he painted The Cock Fight, depicting a nude young man and a lightly draped young woman with two fighting cocks, the Bay of Naples in the background. He sent this painting to the Salon of 1847, where it gained him a third-class medal. This work was seen as the epitome of the Neo-Grec movement. From here his fame grew and he was awarded increasingly prestigious commissions.
Gérôme was elected, on his fifth attempt, a member of the Institut de France in 1865. Already a knight in the Légion d'honneur, he was promoted to an officer in 1867. In 1869, he was elected an honorary member of the British Royal Academy. The King of Prussia Wilhelm I awarded him the Grand Order of the Red Eagle, Third Class. His fame had become such that he was invited, along with the most eminent French artists, to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.
Macclesfield was once the centre of the English silk weaving industry and the world's biggest producer of finished silk. The area has been printing silk for over 300 years and at one point had over seventy mills operating in the town. The town is close to a water supply that passes through limestone, and when used in washing and dyeing it gives silk a uniquely attractive lustre.
Our pocket squares are printed at a mill that has been producing printed fabric on the same site for the past fifty years and the process uses water sourced from its own reservoir.
The art of hand rolling pocket squares is a unique craft and truly makes each piece individual and unique. We feel that the precision and care taken by our skilled artisans gives each scarf its own unique character, finish and feel. To create the finest rolled hems, the edge of the silk or cotton pocket square must be softy turned over with a handheld needle and then small stitches are inserted approximately one half to one centimetre apart around the edge, creating a supple yet prominent border.
It’s absolutely the best way to finish a pocket square for a variety of reasons but the key ones are for both visual effect and structure. Rolling by hand is the only way to get a really nice clean plump finish on the edge and this gives a really nice depth to the edges. It’s a more expensive process than machine rolling but by using a machine you’re often left with a flat edge and you don’t get the same luxurious feel. On top of this, the rolled edges add a lot more structure to your pocket square.
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