Les Enluminures

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Diana Scarisbrick: 50 years of Jewelry Expertise

June 2nd, 2020

Renowned jewelry historian Diana Scarisbrick discusses the origins of her interest in jewelry with host Sandra Hindman in this podcast recorded between London and Chicago. They discuss her early, formative interactions with rings through S. J. Philips, the antique jewelry shop founded in 1869. From there they move into a discussion of the importance of working directly with objects, Scarisbrick’s extensive writing on jewelry and the adventures she has had traveling the world to work with collectors, dealers, museums, and libraries, and even her work as a translator for the French Navy. Diana Scarisbrick remembers her interactions with Joan Evans, the eminent British historian of French and English medieval art, and muses on the influence of fiction and memoir on her contemplation of jewelry.  


This conversation was recorded on Wednesday May 27, 2020.

May Flowers at the Met Cloisters Gardens with Marc Montefusco, Managing Horticulturist

May 19th, 2020

Budding spring gardens and May flowers inspired our host Sandra Hindman to sit down with Marc Montefusco, the Managing Horticulturist of the Medieval Gardens at the Met Cloisters. In today’s conversation, they discuss the three gardens at the Cloisters (the Cuxa Cloister garden, the Bonnefont Cloister garden, and the Trie Cloister garden) the history of the gardens as an integral element of the Met Cloisters design, and the history of medieval gardening and medieval flora. Each garden’s plantings are based on information found in documents and works of art from the Middle Ages, and Marc Montefusco discusses the symbolic and scientific properties of plants, as well as the oft shifting fashion of cultured plants–– from medicinal use to revered flower and back to common weed. 

But how does one become a horticulturist at the Met? Find out answers to all of these topics and more in today’s episode!

Richard Davies of AbeBooks interviews Sandra Hindman: a glimpse at Les Enluminures’ owner and founder

April 9th, 2020

Richard Davies of AbeBooks, the pioneering ecommerce bookseller, interviews Sandra Hindman for Les Enluminures' first crossover podcast with Behind the Bookshelves.  His interesting profile of her includes questions and answers such as:  Does she think of herself as an academic, a bookseller, an art expert, or what?  When and why did she start her business? How does she find her material? What does medieval jewelry have to do with medieval manuscripts?  What are a few of her favorite things? What is a book of hours? And, finally, what is she reading?

This conversation was published by Abe Books April 7th. 

Jan van Eyck and Manuscript Illumination

March 23rd, 2020

Jan van Eyck has “never not been famous.” The most gifted Flemish court painter is the subject of today’s podcast, prompted by the recent exhibition Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent. Host Sandra Hindman sits down with two leading scholars working on van Eyck; Dominique Vanwijnsberghe and Lieve de Kesel. They discuss both scholar’s contributions to the catalogue Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution, and cover some of the most pressing questions concerning the artist. Was van Eyck a manuscript illuminator as well as a painter? The answer rests within the Turin-Milan Hours. Were Flemish painters following van Eyck paying tribute to the great artist, or were they perhaps working from model books? And why does Jan van Eyck remain inimitable, why is there no “Eyckian” school of painting? Dominique Vanwijnsberghe and Lieve de Kesel provide answers to all of these questions and more in today’s episode with Sandra Hindman.

This conversation was recorded at TEFAF in Maastricht, on Saturday March 7, 2020.

Experiencing Medieval Art with Herbert Kessler

February 4th, 2020

Sensory studies and the immersive experience of art is a budding topic among contemporary scholars. Herbert Kessler’s recent publication Experiencing Medieval Art offers readers of all levels easy entry to the most complex topics in current medieval art history. An unusual exploration of the triumphs and the faults of the traditional Medieval survey text, Kessler’s revised edition of Seeing Medieval Art goes beyond the complex material arguments presented there and delves into questions of objecthood, aesthetics, and performative materials. With host Sandra Hindman, Herbert Kessler contemplates his most influential relationships in the scholastic world, his motivation for producing a revised version of his 2004 publication, as well as some of the most unusual additions to the text’s proposed cannon.

This conversation was recorded in New York on February 1, 2020.

50 Years at the Morgan Library featuring William Voelkle

January 30th, 2020

From the shoemakers of the Black forest to J.P. Morgan’s mansion, today William “Bill” Voelkle reflects on his fifty-year career at the Morgan Library and Museum with host Sandra Hindman. They discuss his early interest in science and mathematics as well as the Northern Renaissance course that changed his life. Voelkle’s early work at Columbia University with Meyer Schapiro and Julius Held, and later his acquisition of an unexpected but cherished position at the Morgan Library and Museum are just the beginning of the conversation, which covers everything from Bill’s favorite exhibition, to the most unusual and stunning manuscripts, to the origins of CORSAIR, the Morgan’s Online Collection Catalog. How the Morgan Library changed over Bill’s long and prestigious career, including the institution’s buying and collecting practices, is a major focus of their conversation. 

This conversation was recorded in New York on January 28, 2020.

“The Power of Love” featuring Beatriz Chadour-Sampson

December 18th, 2019

For centuries, the power of love has been expressed through the bestowal of objects conveying deep affection, eternal commitment, or passionate desire. Today, Sandra Hindman and Beatriz Chadour-Sampson discuss The Power of Love, Chadour-Sampson’s new book on the history of amorous inspirations for novel jewelry vocabularies and historical revivals. Egyptian amulets, Rome, the Middle Ages, Shakesphere, and the sudden popularity of bio-jewelry, as well as the author’s early childhood experiences with the process of crafting jewelry are all covered in this exclusive interview with Beatriz Chadour-Sampson. 

This conversation was recorded in London on December 4th, 2019.

The Collector and the Dealer

November 26th, 2019

For their final discussion of Diamonds, Sandra Hindman and Benjamin Zucker consider their roles and relationship as dealer and collector in bringing this historical exhibition to fruition. Beginning with childhood recollections of stamps and postcard collecting, it quickly becomes apparent that the space between dealer and collector is uniquely blurred for both parties. Dr. Hindman discusses her past as a teacher and touches on her current collecting practices, while Benjamin Zucker articulates his Museé Imaginaire and describes its origins in the published reproductions of collectors catalogues. 

As fields, collecting and dealing live within a spectrum of fantastic imaginary historical time and the real, immediacy of the present. History, fairytale, myth, and adventure stories combine as Hindman and Zucker recount the paths that took them to diamond collecting and manuscript hunting. They even discuss identifying gems on treasure bound manuscripts which culminates in a discussion of the connections between manuscripts, precious stones, jewelry and historic personalities. 

This conversation took place within the exhibition Diamonds at Les Enluminures, NY, on October 30, 2019.

The Four C’s and Historic Diamonds

November 20th, 2019

"Carat (or weight), Cut, Color, and Clarity” are the topics of discussion in today’s Les Enluminures podcast. Host and Les Enluminures President Sandra Hindman introduces John King, the Chief Quality Officer of the GIA (the Gemological Institute of America). They cover how the classification system used for diamonds now differs from considerations applicable to historical stones; discussing early diamond cutting experiments and techniques, the relationship between colored diamonds and contemporary art, the growing atomic life of diamonds, and even ruminating on what King’s observational skills as a gemologist share with his skills as an artist and draftsman.

This conversation took place within the exhibition Diamonds at Les Enluminures, NY, on October 28, 2019.

A Diamond Life, Featuring Benjamin Zucker

November 14th, 2019

Today, Sandra Hindman is in conversation with Benjamin Zucker— a leading New York based dealer of diamonds and precious stones. They discuss his creative journey from youthful writer to prominent collector after becoming enamored by the dazzling nature of diamonds. From colored diamonds to Charles II’s bodkin (a gift to his mistress Nell Gwyn), this talk covers many of the elements of Benjamin Zucker's experience as a professional dealer and passionate collector.

This conversation took place within the exhibition Diamonds at Les Enluminures, NY, on October 24, 2019.