A Half-Day Tour of 6 Catholic Churches

– Saturday, August 10th, 2019 –

A local bus and walking tour of churches, with lunch provided.

“Tour of 6 Cincinnati and Covington
Catholic Churches
to admire their architecture, history,
interior woodwork, and stained-glass windows.”

by Walter E. Langsam and Stewart S. Maxwell

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Catholicism in our community, the Decorative Arts Society will conduct a bus and walking tour of 6 architecturally and historically significant churches of their faith in Downtown Cincinnati and Covington. Ranging in age from 1841 to 1915, these churches represent some of the most splendid buildings, not only in our area, but in America. Designed by some of the leading architects of Cincinnati in their day, no expense was spared to lavish the finest craftsmanship available upon these houses of worship, from their stained-glass windows to the superb interior and exterior carvings and detailing. Competition for parishioners and the religion’s standing in the community were of great importance; for example, the spire of St. Peter-in-Chains Cathedral, erected in 1845, was the tallest building west of the Alleghenies at 220 feet tall for many decades, and its presence dominated our skyline. Varied in style, yet of consistently high quality, these Catholic churches continued centuries of tradition, as they do today.

The churches to be visited include:

  1. St. Peter-in-Chains Cathedral (Greek Revival), originally designed by Henry Walter (1845);  remodeled (1953-55) by Edward J. Schulte
  2. Old St. Mary’s Church (Greek Revival), attributed to Franz Ignatz Erd and Seneca Palmer (1841)
  3. St. Xavier Church (Gothic Revival), designed  by Anton and Louis Picket (1860); remodeled  by Samuel Hannaford (1882-87)
  4. St. Francis Seraph Church (Romanesque Revival), designed by James W. McLaughlin (1859); remodeled by Hannaford & Sons (1925); site of Cincinnati’s first Catholic church in 1819
  5. St. Mary’s Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption (French Gothic Revival), sanctuary designed by Leon Coquard; facade designed by David Davis (construction begun in 1895 & completed in 1915)
  6. Mother of God Church (Italian Renaissance Revival), designed by Walter & Stewart (1871);  restorations in 1891 and 1986

Midway through our tour, a delicious lunch will be prepared for us at Coppin’s, in the newly renovated Hotel Covington, which have both received nationwide attention for the excellent cuisine, sophisticated industrial-style décor, and service in this former department store, later City Hall building.

Click Here for Cincinnati and Covington Catholic Churches Tour Reservation Form

St. Mary’s
of the Assumption


Mother of
God Church


St. Peter-


Old St. Mary’s Church


St. Xavier Church


St. Francis Seraph


There is an additional fee for Bus Tour and Lunch.

Members FREE

General Admission, $10.

Lecture and Reception

– Sunday, September 8th, 2019 –

2:00 P.M. at the Cincinnati Art Museum in the Fath Auditorium and The Fountain Room.

“Tiffany’s Dragons:
The Viking Revival in American Art”

by Dr. Graham Boettcher

The study of revival styles comprises an important component in the history of American decorative arts. Scholars have done significant work on major stylistic movements such as the Greek, Gothic, and Egyptian revivals, and even explored more obscure episodes like the Celtic and Mayan influences on American design. A less explored subject in existing scholarship is the Viking or Norse Revival Style, the advent of which coincided with the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Its primary expression is found in silver and ceramics design, but can also be in furniture, textiles, and ironwork, as well as the painting and sculpture of the period.

While its forms were influenced by late nineteenth-century Scandinavian silver produced in the "dragestil" ("dragon style"), ideologically the American Viking Revival stems from an Anglo-Saxon Protestant response to the Italian Catholic Christopher Columbus. Since the late 1830s, a group of Harvard-affiliated Boston Brahmins had led the efforts to prove that the Norseman Leif Erikson discovered America. This endeavor was taken up with renewed urgency in the decade immediately preceding the four-hundredth anniversary of Columbus' voyage. In those years, Harvard professor Eben Horsford authored seven books promoting Erikson as America's true discoverer, claiming "Norumbega" (present-day Cambridge) as its first settlement.

Horsford's efforts sparked a renewed interest in Norse motifs, which initially appeared in painting and sculpture, but quickly found form in the decorative arts, particularly silver design. At the World's Columbian Exposition, visitors could purchase souvenir spoons with the likeness of Leif Erikson, but the most dramatic manifestation of the Viking Style at the fair was Paulding Farnham's "Viking Punch-Bowl," exhibited by Tiffany & Company.

Our speaker, Dr. Graham Boettcher, received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University and an M.A. from the University of Washington in his home state. He joined the staff of the Birmingham Museum of Art in 2006, and rose to become its Director in 2017.

Discussing silver from Tiffany & Company and Gorham, furniture by Gustav Stickley and Karl von Rydingsvard, and ceramics by Susan Frackleton and Adelaide Robineau, among other examples, Dr. Boettcher will examine the historical and ideological underpinnings of the Viking Revival, a "lost" period in the study of American decorative and fine arts.


Viking Punch-Bowl (ca. 1893) by Paulding Farnham
for Tiffany & Co.; Metropolitan Museum

Vase (1901) by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co.;
Dallas Museum of Art

Dr. Graham Boettcher,
Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art

A Day Trip to Newark, Ohio

– Sunday, October 13th, 2019 –

A comfortable bus trip to Newark, Ohio, with lunch and reception provided.

“Newark’s East Coast Connection:
New Settlement in the Northwest Territory”

by Stewart S. Maxwell

Before the discovery of America by Europeans, the Hopewell Indians and other prehistoric cultures had advanced scientific understandings, which they used to transform the land known today as Newark, Ohio to create their earthworks 2,000 years ago. Many earthen mounds and enclosures were built creating the single largest earthwork complex in the Ohio River valley, covering several square miles and 206 acres. For our tour, the larger of the two earth mounds, called “The Octagon,” located on private property not normally available to the public, will be opened to us for a private tour.

With the founding of America, Eastern settlers migrated westward to establish Newark, Ohio in 1802 by members of the Burnet family and General William C. Schenck from the New Jersey city of the same name. Located in the center of Ohio halfway between Columbus and Zanesville, Newark currently has a population of 50,000 people and, since its beginnings, the city has been linked to major transportation and trade networks resulting in its growth. In 1825, the first shovelfuls of dirt began for the Ohio and Erie Canal, and it became a stop for the Pennsylvania and Baltimore and Ohio Railroads, allowing important connections to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis.

On our tour, we shall also visit: the Heisey Glass Co. Museum which, as a noted glass manufacturer, was established in 1895 and operated for 62 years; the Sherwood Davidson House; and the Buckingham House.

With our Fall tour in 2018, the group visited the People’s Federal Savings & Loan (1918) in Sidney, Ohio, designed by Louis Sullivan (1856-1924). His other Ohio bank was built earlier in 1914 and located here in Newark: The Home Savings Association. Although it is currently undergoing a major restoration for the Explore Licking County tourist office, we shall receive a presentation from Connie Hawk, Director of the Licking County Foundation, who has been overseeing its transformation.

A delicious lunch at Elements Local Bistro is being planned for us, as well as a late afternoon reception at Buckingham House surrounded by its 19th-century atmosphere.

Click Here for Newark, Ohio Tour Reservation Form

Buckingham House

Sherwood Davidson House

Louis Sullivan’s Bank

Earthworks Octagon

There is an additional fee for Bus Tour and Lunch.

Lecture and Reception

– Sunday, November 3rd, 2019 –

2:00 P.M. at the Cincinnati Art Museum in the Fath Auditorium and The Castellini Room.

“ ‘Keep it the Home of Washington!’: 
The Ongoing Restoration of George  Washington’s Mount Vernon

by Adam Erby

As one of America’s most beloved architectural treasures, George and Martha Washington’s “Mount Vernon” home on the Potomac River in Virginia has been protected since 1860 when the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association acquired the estate. Its appearance has been restored to 1799 – the year of the President’s passing, and the Association has called upon the latest and best research to bring this historic property to life for each succeeding generation.

Our speaker, Adam Erby, is the Curator of the Fine & Decorative Arts at “Mount Vernon” and will provide an overview of restoration efforts for it through the years. Beginning in 2013, curators and architectural historians embarked on the latest campaign grounded in cutting-edge research on the material lives of the Washingtons and their enslaved workforce. Mr. Erby’s lecture will highlight the most recent restorations of the Chintz Bedroom, Blue Bedchamber, and Front Parlor, as well as ongoing research for the Central Passage.

Mount Vernon Front Parlor

Members FREE

General Admission, $10.

Mount Vernon Front Parlor

Tour and Holiday Reception

– Sunday, December 8th, 2019 –

2:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.

“Festive Holiday Party at
the Frederick Geier Mansion in East Walnut Hills,
now owned by Janet Self
and John McHugh”

by Stewart S. Maxwell

In celebration of the season, we shall spend our annual holiday party at the first  Frederick Geier Mansion in East Walnut Hills, built in 1923-25, now owned by our hosts, Janet Self and John McHugh.

Previously in December, 2011, we had the privelege of visiting “Knowethwaite” in Indian Hill, Mr. Geier’s second mansion completed in 1937, now owned by David and Ginger Warner. Both homes were designed by the notable local architectural firm of Rapp, Zettel, & Rapp in the American Colonial or Georgian Revival Styles. Certain architectural similarities exist between these two mansions, built for this prominent member of the Geier family associated with the Cincinnati Milling Machine Co.

The Frederick Geier Mansion in East Walnut Hills

Like “Knowethwaite,” only two families have owned this mansion in its almost one hundred year history – the Geiers and Millards, Ms. Self’s family. Her great grandparents, Charles Sterling Millard, Jr. (vice president of the New York Central Railroad) and his wife, née Elizabeth Ekin, purchased the home in 1938; except for the kitchen area, the interior remains as it was originally designed. Our hosts moved into the house by 1980 and have been wonderful stewards of the family manse. Throughout the residence can be found rooms exhibiting a tasteful, gracious, spacious decor: the interior is filled with family memorabilia and the hosts’ eclectic personal collections ranging from Henri Matisse, blue and white Onion Pattern Meissen Porcelain service, World War I posters to the large impressive 1885 painting of “The W.W. O’Neil Steamboat” by artist Harvey Joiner.

Please join us for a festive holiday celebration, held in this prestigious residence overlooking the Ohio River in one of Cincinnati’s oldest and finest neighborhoods. Musician Barbara Leeds will perform joyful melodies guaranteed to put us all in the spirit of the season. For your gastronomic pleasures, an elaborate catered buffet shall be provided, while we are surrounded by the mansion’s beauty.

Click Here for Holiday Party Reservation Form

There is an additional fee for this Tour and Party.

Frederick Geier Mansion

2306 Grandview Avenue

Cincinnati, Ohio 45206

Parking Instructions

All guests are to drive to the front door: valet parking will then park and retrieve your car for you.

The Redwood Library & Athenaeum

Historic Newport Harbor

Lecture and Reception

– Sunday, February 9th, 2020 –

2:00 P.M. at the Cincinnati Art Museum in the Fath Auditorium
and The Castellini Room.

“Architecture & Design
at the Nation’s First Library”

by Mr. John R. Tschirch

(Dr. Benedict Leca, the previously announced speaker, needed to cancel)

Newport, Rhode Island is well-known for its so-called “cottages” on Bellevue Avenue which should more accurately be described as extravagant palatial summertime estates, lining a rocky Atlantic Ocean coastline, for the very, very rich. However, many people are not as acquainted with the excellent historical and architectural heritage of this Colonial-era seaport, founded in 1639. Newport, in fact, has one of the highest concentrations of colonial homes in the nation as a part of its Downtown Newport Historic District.

As a part of the legacy, The Redwood Library and Athenaeum, established in 1747, is the oldest community library still occupying its original building in the United States. It is also the first purposely-built library structure, as well as the oldest public neoclassical building in America with its Parthenon- inspired facade. Because of this heritage, the Redwood proudly celebrates its collection’s strengths in early modern architecture, design, and the decorative arts. Currently, The Redwood has garnered national attention with its exhibit of Claggett clocks including its own collection of three.

Our speaker, Mr. John R. Tschirch, is an architectural historian whose thirty- year career in historic preservation has led him across the globe to study and teach about historical sites. He will discuss The Redwood’s rich collection of rare books, manuscripts, paintings by American masters and superb 18th-century furniture. He served as Director of Museum Affairs and Architectural Historian for the Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island (1986-2013), and supervised an NEA funded project to survey the collection of architectural pattern books from the Renaissance through the early 19th-century at The Redwood Library. In the January, 2017 issue of Antiques and Fine Arts, he published an article on the architecture and collections of this prestigious institution.


Members FREE

General Admission, $10.

Claggett Clock (1728), japanned black lacquer
case with gilt; the Redwood Library collection

– 24th Annual –


Lecture and Reception

– Sunday, March 8th, 2020 –

2:00 P.M. at the Cincinnati Art Museum in the Fath Auditorium and The Castellini Room.

“Lecture by Glass Sculptor, Beth Lipman”

The Kreines Lecture is an annual presentation on a decorative arts subject sponsored by Mrs. Barbara Kreines and is free to the public. The lecture series, established by her and her late husband Dr. Kenneth Kreines, promotes cutting-edge and non-traditional design topics in order to appeal to the broadest audience, as determined by Mrs. Kreines and the museum’s curatorial staff.

For the 24th Kreines Lecture, glass sculptor Beth Lipman will present this year’s lecture. Renaissance and Baroque still-life paintings provide inspiration for her artistry, which include static compositions, expressive light, and extravagant decoration. Each of these elements are incorporated into her final creations. Curiously, color is not a part of her artistic expressions, because she enjoys the complexity and ambiguity of clear glass in frustrating the eyes. One both sees the object, as well as looks through it, making it visually unattainable.

Ms. Lipman received her BFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 1994, and has achieved numerous awards, including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, the USA Berman Block Fellowship, a Pollock Krasner Grant, and a Virginia Groot Foundation Grant. Ms. Lipman has exhibited her work internationally at such institutions as the Ringling Museum of Art, Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, Gustavsbergs Konsthall in Sweden, and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Additionally, one of her works, “Still-Life with Flowers,” is on-view in Gallery 205 at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

A Day Trip to Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

– Sunday, June 21st, 2020 –

A comfortable bus trip to Pleasant Hill, Kentucky,
with lunch and reception provided.

“Kentucky’s Shaker Village Settlement: Strolling Back Into Time”

by Stewart S. Maxwell

Since our April, 2019 tour took us to New Haven, Ohio to visit the White Water Shaker Settlement’s ongoing restoration, this year we will travel to Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, the third largest of their communities with 3,000 acres. Established in 1805, it has been beautifully restored and interpreted to reflect the Shaker’s ingenuity and refined, simplified style of living.

The Shaker religion was founded by Ann Lee of Manchester, England, and she set forth the doctrines professing her sect’s beliefs and practices in 1770. With her followers, they came to America in 1774 to establish their first American Shaker community in Watervliet, New York. Eventually, 18 other settlements were founded: 12 east of the Alleghenies and 6 west.

Besides having the opportunity to see this quintessential piece of Bluegrass property and Federal Style architecture, we will be treated to a musical program highlighting their unique songs and dances held in an appropriate setting. The Shakers, in fact, received their name from their erratic movements in dancing.

Our lunch will be served especially for us in the West Family Building and features dishes made of the freshest seasonal ingredients from their garden. Also, a reception will be held before returning to Cincinnati.



There is an additional fee for Bus Tour, Lunch, and Reception.

Silver Soup Tureen (ca. 1835), by William Adams,
New York, New York; Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Museum Purchase, Robert Grossman, 2014-180

Sideboard, Norfolk, Virginia, 1820-1830; Mahogany, yellow pine, tulip poplar, white pine, mirrored glass, & brass; Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Museum Purchase, 1989-129



Lecture and Dinner Meeting

– Friday, July 24th, 2020 –

6:00 P.M. at the Cincinnati Country Club in Hyde Park.

“Post Revolution – Evolution of Dining
in America and Britain”

by Dr. Janine Skerry

Although fundamental to our daily life, the consumption of food is nonetheless in a near-constant state of flux, especially when it is done in the company of others. Over time, every aspect of dining has changed – from where and what we eat, how it is served, even how it is conveyed to our mouths.

Our speaker, Dr. Janine Skerry, is the Senior Curator of Metals at Colonial Williamsburg, and she will explore the shifting tabletops and refurbished rooms as service à la Française gave way to service à la Russe during the time period after the American Revolution in America and Britain.

In 2016, Dr. Skerry ascended to her current position at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia. Previously, she served as the Curator of Metals from 2009, and since 1993 as the Curator of Ceramics and Glass, having devoted much of her career to this museum. She holds degrees from Yale University, the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture and the University of Delaware, and Boston University. Dr. Skerry has written widely on silver, ceramics, and dining in England and America. Her most recent publication is “Beyond the Working Dates: Reconstruction of the Life and Career of Elizabeth Pantin Buteux Godfrey,” which appeared in the 2018 issue of Silver Studies: The Journal of the Silver Society.

Because this is our last gathering of the season, we
will celebrate by holding this lecture and dinner meeting
at the elegant Cincinnati Country Club in Hyde Park;
there is an additional charge for this event.

“The Dinner: Symptoms of Eating & Drinking;” Engraved by Henry Dickinson; published by John Jeffryes, London, England, 1794;
Engraving with period hand color; Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Museum Purchase, 1954-698