2011 In Review: The New Antiquarian

The new antiquarian tends to live in a world of mystical, sometimes macabre, always evocative objects from times long past.

This year saw the continued proliferation of the new antiquarian, a special breed of inquisitive human characterized by intense nostalgia, an appreciation for simple pleasures, and a preference for taxidermied animals. The new antiquarian reads Victorian literature while sipping on cocktails with bitters. The new antiquarian would never click through a Timeline to recall memories when there are precious keepsake boxes on hand for that task.

From the coffers of 2011, a review of some of the coverage that best exemplifies this aesthetic.

Anatomically correct décor

The design world’s love affair with sourcing inspiration from the mechanics of the human body was in full swing this year, as demonstrated by Scott Campbell’s upholstered armchair.

Strange taxidermy

Enrique Gomez de Molina is reinventing taxidermy as a surrealist art, mashing up insects, birds, animals, and found objects into quirky one-of-a-kind pieces.

Keepsake Boxes

Mementos deserve homes as precious as the memories they preserve. WE-ARE-FAMILIA has engaged cross-disciplinary artists from around the world to contribute found mementos to one-of-a-kind Keepsake Boxes that sell for up to $10,000.

Animal Farm glasses

Some glassware is definitely more equal than others, like these Orwell-inspired tumblers hand-sketched on glass from recycled wine bottles.


There’s nothing like the clickety tap tap of a vintage typewriter to make one feel like a modern-day Hemingway. Donna Brady and Brandi Kowalski restore classic typewriters like the Remington, the Corona, and the Royal Standard at their Brooklyn studio.

Antique sitting chairs

This 19th-century French sitting chair, made entirely of tree branches, is just one of many lustable antique objects available at Obsolete in Venice, California.

The good china

This hand-painted collection of bone china from New Orleans artist Shelley Hesse for Anthropologie is fit for formal dinners. You could even get away with using them year-round.


Jessica Marati

Jessica Marati currently resides in New York City and covers travel and sustainability for EcoSalon. Catch her weekly column, Behind the Label.