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Add a Royal Touch to Your Design Scheme

Chicago’s Mitchell Black line of wall art and tableware may have very traditional roots, but it feels curiously current.

Photograph: Courtesy of Mitchell Black

There’s a new design empire quietly rising right in our own backyard. This past spring, long-time product designer Mitchell Pennell launched Mitchell Black Home, a traditional-meets-modern line of tableware, wall art, and paper goods, out of his West Town studio.

The pieces, be they appetizer plates or large-scale wall coverings, all feature meticulous reproductions of copper plating and steel engravings from the 1590s to the 1870s that Pennell has been collecting for the past 25 years. “Some images I picked up at flea markets, others I bought through dealers or online auctions. I chose them all because they are rare—not the typical butterfly or botanical prints you so often see,” he says. Indeed, some of the most stunning images are of kings, queens, and swords.

But, it’s not all regalia (though these are his hottest sellers—thanks to Prince George, who was launched around the same time the company was). There are also pictures of bikes and boxers, all possessing an old-timey vibe that reads remarkably modern in Pennell’s representations.

The wall art comes in 17 colors and a plethora of sizes, and can be custom-ordered through Leggybird Designs in Libertyville. The ceramic pieces can be purchased at Hazel.

Watch for more developments from this inventive company, which will expand to include more product categories later in 2014.

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