Milwaukee’s Victorian Interiors

Photographing furniture at the Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee

Last week I returned to the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee, where I worked with curator Jodi Rich-Bartz to photograph several examples of Milwaukee-made Victorian furniture–part of the original furnishings designed by the Matthews Brothers when they decorated the Pabst family’s grand new home in 1892. I set up my temporary photo studio in the first-floor hall and brought in furniture from the neighboring dining room, music room, and “ladies’ parlor.”

I also had the chance to shoot (and move) an extraordinary (and extraordinarily heavy) plant stand made by Cyril Colnik, a turn-of-the-twentieth-century Milwaukee artist known for his ornate work in wrought iron. Colnik’s ornamental ironwork gates, fences, and other architectural elements can still be found on private homes and public buildings throughout Milwaukee (see Virginia Jones Maher’s 1998 article “The Wrought Iron Artistry of Cyril Colnik,” in the Wisconsin Academy Review  for images).

Cyril Colnik plant stand, Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee

Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer. 


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