J.P. Morgan

Creature feature

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Whether it’s called zoomorphic personal ornamentation or critter glitter, animals of all kinds have been a recurring motif in jewelry history. Their natural beauty and unique traits have inspired countless pieces, from the scarab beetles of ancient Egypt to David Webb’s zebras and frogs.

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The collector

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John Pierpont Morgan was many things. Financier. Banker. Owner of the White Star Line and its ill-fated ship, the RMS Titanic. (Reportedly, he was scheduled to take part in its maiden voyage but changed his plans at the last minute.) Globe-trotter. Philanthropist. But among his many roles, few were more important than that of collector.“He collected everything,” says William M. Griswold, the director of The Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan, “from pocket watches to Old Master paintings to Chinese porcelain.” The breadth and depth of that passion is reflected in the holdings and exhibits at The Morgan.

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The house that Morgan built

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My sister Gina and I are having Sunday brunch at Le Château in South Salem, seated at a table whose window frames the verdure of Lewisboro as it rolls into the summer mist and the Hudson Valley’s ever-elusive horizon. Over cappuccino and tea, she remarks that the two couples sitting behind me look so much alike that they could be each other – 50 years apart. As they pass, I realize how fitting my sister’s remark is. At Le Château, the past, present and future dine happily together.

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