The Easel

24th March 2020

Gloves: Through the Magnum Archive

Fashion piece, social anthropology or photo essay? Perhaps all three. Gloves go way, way back – they were in Tutankhamen’s tomb. They are a source of some fascination in photography because of their potent symbolism – warmth, protection, glamour, the erotic. Plus, let’s be honest, status. “[A] white glove is only desirable when it’s pristine … [they] nod to the fact that one won’t be getting their hands too dirty”.

The Met’s Just-Opened Galleries Cast a New Light on British Decorative Arts

The renovated galleries for British decorative arts at New York’s Met are “a triumph”. What stories do they tell? One is that these objects reflect an entrepreneurial global power drawing inspiration from everywhere. But there are other narratives, notably colonization and slavery. Take, for example, the teapot: “tea has a far more illicit history than any drug or hard liquor … conditions on the plantations were shocking”.