Walking Sticks: A Fine Collection

One of the treasures of the Naples (Florida) Museum of Art is the Ruth Gordon Collection of Walking Sticks.


The Naples Museum of Art is part of The Philharmonic Center for the Arts which includes a large concert hall and a smaller performance space as well. 

 Looking into the Courtyard, the Concert hall is on the left and the art museum on the right.

I love the sign at the door, above.
To visit the Naples Museum of Art online, click here. 
Beau Brummell on Jermyn Street, London
No well dressed male in the 18th or 19th Century went out without his walking stick.  Of course, the idea of a staff or cane is as old as human beings themselves…we can imagine cavemen carried them (perhaps as cudgels as well) an certainly many Biblical characters are portrayed with some sort of stick. But they became fine art just a few hundred years ago.

Victorian-era Romanian handle set with turquoise and garnets
The Romanian handle to a ladies walking stick (above) has a compartment in the top for its owner to store her perfume.  The stick is made of partridge wood.
According to the museum’s brochure, “All of the United States Presidents from George Washington to Harry S. Truman carried a walking stick. They were considered a symbol of discipline, leadership and respect.”
Dagger Stick, 16th C.
The bronze top of the stick above must be unscrewed to remove the dagger.  It was considered a good luck charm and was passed down through generations of
British actors.
Ruth Gordon (1914-2005) began to acquire her many walking sticks on a trip to Brighton, where she bought parasols at antique markets to protect herself from the sun. She presented the collection to the Naples Museum of Art in memory of her son, Martin Gordon, who founded the Gordon’s Print Price Annual.
Chinese Cloisonné Handle
Above is a rare French enamel lid which opens to a working watch and delicate artwork.  Inside the watch is an engraving of the makers name.
The second from the left in the opening picture is a swordstick, one of those blades concealed in a walking stick, so beloved by historical fiction fans.
Carved Ivory Handle
Above, the intricate carving of “Hear no evil see no evil, speak no evil” in ivory, from China and several centuries old.
Ladies handle
Above is a stunning handle of amethyst quartz and rock crystal capped with French enamel, an elegant accessory for a great lady.
Three Walking Sticks from the Ruth Gordon Collection
The center stick above is the collection’s oldest, carved from the dried sap of a cinnabar tree. It is an ancient Chinese design, representing a tradition of using cinnabar to create potions ensuring longevity. On the left and right are Chinese and Japanese examples of cloisonné handles.
For a good long, close-up look at these fantastic walking sticks visit the Naples Museum of Art, 5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard, Naples, Florida


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