The Stationers Guild

D’Arconte Engraved Holiday Cards

Several weeks ago Sheila and I paid a visit to Bob D’Arconte at his studio in DUMBO:  Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass in Brooklyn, NYC.  A visit with Bob is always both entertaining and educational since we are both so very opinionated.   As Sheila frequently remarks, “Rick is often wrong, but never in doubt.”

While D’Arconte’s fine engraved stationery and holiday cards  may not be as well known as Crane or William Arthur, he is a living legend in the stationery industry.  His holiday cards and stationery are unmistakable in their design simplicity and elegance.  His use of white-space and blind-embossing to frame his engraved designs create a three-dimensional feel that, in my opinion, elevates his work to an entirely different level.

I am hesitant to categorize D’Arconte’s style since under his skilled hand almost any object or landscape can easily be transformed into a work of art.  During our visit, D’Arconte was  in the process of engraving a two-colored peach motif onto a fold-over note.  Bob pointed out that the application of one color before the other created a hue that was quite different when the application of the  ink colors was reversed.  Certainly, the close registration printing and color-match required to create desired outcome: an engraved peach that looks almost eatable, is a tribute to Bob’s fine eye and mastery of his craft.

D'Arconte Engraved Christmas Card

D'Arconte Engraved Christmas Card

Bob will probably slap my hand for including a sample of his new holiday card line because, quite frankly, the low-resolution internet images do not do them justice.  Bob and I had a long discussion on how the internet is destroying the public’s perception of fine stationery.  Neither Bob nor I can understand how anyone would ever consider buying stationery or a custom invitation online without the benefit of touching various papers and seeing how ink colors change depending on the paper stock and printing process.

While this sample image of D’Arconte’s holiday line give you a hint of Bob’s talent, you should make an effort to see these exceptional examples of contemporary engraving in person.  For instance, a snow globe in the  “Snowman in a Snow Globe” is blind-embossed and the outline of the globe is barely perceptible in a low-resolution internet  image.  I have purposely not reproduced the image because I felt it would detract from the elegance of the card.  In one of Bob’s vintage holiday cards, he has the New York skyline engraved in gold strategically placed inside a blind-embossed apple.  The “Big Apple has never looked so beautiful.

The D’Arconte line is not widely available owing to Bob’s desire to work only with experienced stationers who understand and appreciate his product and have the same attention to detail and customer service that he does.

It is indeed a pleasure to spend a few hours with a master craftsman.  Sheila and I were enriched by the experience.

Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair

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17 Responses to “D’Arconte Engraved Holiday Cards”

  1. Nkuebrich Says:

    Where can one purchase D’Arconte stationary? I found a box of invitations at a thrift store of all places, and fell in love with the style but cannot find it in stores.

  2. Richard May Says:

    Thanks for your interest in D’Arconte. He is certainly one of our favorites also. If you tell me what city/ST you live in I will try and find the closest location. I know that Gump’s carries the line in SF, Therese Saint Clair in Greenwich, CT, Francis Orr in Corona del Mar, CA.

  3. Rosemary Pierson Says:

    Can you please tell me where I can get D’Arconte cards in the BOston, MA area? Your website lists Mark Harris and Unique Simchas but niether place has them nor has heard of them.
    Thank you.

  4. yvonne Says:

    I am trying to find a box of engraved snow flakes, could you let me know where I could find them?

  5. Richard May Says:

    Yvonne. Tell me what city you live in and I will try to find a store near you. Mr. D’Arconte has done more than one snowflake design, so please supply description. You obviously have very good taste. D’Arconte is our favorite engraver.

  6. Regina Says:

    Dear Mr. May, I just wanted to say that I was very happy to read your commentary in regard to Mr. D’Arconte’s fine engraving. I am a former employee of Harbor Engraving & I started out in the stockroom in 1981 & worked for the D’Arconte brothers until 1989. I learned all about the art of fine engraving & have a fine appreciation for this type of work. It is good to hear that D’Arconte cards are still being produced & sold at fine retailers. One thing I do missed was being able to see the designs progess from start to finish, from the creation of the ideas (and he had many!) to the final product which I boxed up for shipment to the stores. He taught me how to inspect each card & if required, how to clean them of splatters/smudges, make sure that the see-thru boxes were clean, etc. I learned about die-stamping & intaglio engraving, the difference between copper plates & steel dies, I even learned about linotype printing which his brother, Ben was in charge of at Harbor Press. I am very glad that I was able to work with the D’Arconte brothers as they instilled in me a work ethic that I still have to this day. Thank you for your time.

  7. Richard May Says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. We too adore D’Arconte’s beautiful designs and flawless engraving techniques. D’Arconte cards tend to stand out in a stationery world littered with insipid designs and dreadful printing. We are thrilled that this small firm has stayed the course to produce stationery and cards of extraordinary beauty the old-fashioned way.

  8. Ann Malpass Says:

    Dear Bob,
    I look forward to getting Jennifer L.’s Xmas card every year—-so I can admire and know you are still creating the best design, using the highest quality paper, and maintaining D’Arconte standards. (Been a long time since my Chase Manhattan days when I often visited your city locale—and loved seeing all your paper creations.) Hope all is well with you and plan to find you in Brooklyn some day. Fondly, Ann Malpass

  9. Theresa Says:

    Hi Bob,

    Where can we purchase D’Arconte holiday cards in New York City?

    Thanks,
    Theresa

  10. Richard May Says:

    I understand it can be can be purchased at Kate’s Paperie.

  11. BARBARA BLAKESLEE Says:

    I RECEIVED A HOLIDAY NOTE FROM A FRIEND THIS CHISTMAS(2010) AND I HAVE ABSOLUTELY ADORED IT. I DECIDED TO LOOK UP D’ARCONTE ON THE INTERNET AND THERE YOU ARE CHATTING ABOUT THE BEAUTIFUL QUALITY, ETC OF THE GENTLEMAN’S WORK. I AM SO THRILLED FOR I SO APPRECIATE CREATIVE SOPHISCATED WORK. I MISS NOT BEING AROUND STORES SUCH AS THIS ONE. I WILL MAKE AN EFFORT TO GET NOTE PAPER AT GUMPS OR AT ORR’S IN NEWPORT BEACH, CA. IT WON’T BE EASY BUT SOMEHOW I JUST HAVE TO SEE WHAT IS AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE FOR MY PERSONAL USE. THANKS, BARB BLAKLESLEE

  12. Richard May Says:

    Francis Orr and Gumps have a nice representation of D’Arconte’s work. Bob is very sensitive about the way his work is represented on the Internet and has been reluctant to embrace the new medium. Can’t say I blame him given the garbage that populates cyberspace.

    It’s always nice to talk about great designers and superior craftsmanship. Sadly lacking in today’s disposable Walmart economy. Good luck with your search.

  13. elise pascoe Says:

    Where can I purchase D’Arconte stationery in Australia, preferably Sydney?

  14. elise pascoe Says:

    Can I buy stationery on-line?
    Elise

  15. Richard May Says:

    D’Arconte doesn’t distribute in Australia and currently his fine craftsmanship is not sold online.

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