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Go behind the scenes at the world's major art museums with Rosalind Pepall, member of the CSDA-CCAD and past curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  The life of a curator can be thrilling, amusing, disappointing--but never boring.

In these
fifteen essays we encounter artists falling in and out of love, family tragedies, the creation of the Stanley Cup, the secrets of Tiffany, Antiques Roadshow, a rootless baroness, the design craze for aluminum, small Japanese boxes called kogos, watercolour sketchbooks of the Canadian north, a beautiful prayer room in Montreal, gondolas flying through windows in Venice, and Moscovites 
who love Goldfinger,

Archival black and white photographs and colour plates--including Edwin Holgate's Ludivine, one of the most beloved and recognizable Canadian portraits ever painted—as well as objects from the decorative arts collection make this book a must-have for art lovers, students, academics, museum-goers and readers interested in the role art and design plays in the creation of our lives.

CSDA Members: $25.50 (20% discount off the retail price) Non- members $32.00

Talking to a Portrait Order Form.pdf

Register for special virtual Exchange discussion between Rosalind Pepall and Dr. Rachel Gotlieb Sunday, November 1st at 3pm EST.  For more details check out the Events page. 

What we offer you

The Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/ Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs (CSDA/CCAD) is the only organization in Canada that provides you with opportunities to meet other enthusiasts, collectors, professionals and students who collectively delight in and give visibility to the diverse spectrum of decorative arts.

Share your artistic and intellectual passions while building professional connections or making new friends. We host and promote local and national events that include appraisal clinics, cocktail and garden receptions, lectures, luncheons, panel discussions, presentations, symposiums, and tours of private collections.

Expand your knowledge of the decorative arts through the many essays and critical reviews we publish. You will gain fascinating insights and revelations about the historical and contemporary decorative arts.

What are the Decorative Arts?

The CSDA/CCAD defines the decorative arts as creative works, often of a practical or useful nature, produced by an artist, craftsman or amateur, which have intrinsic aesthetic and/or historical value. These arts include interior design, furniture and furnishings, ceramics, glass, metalwork, graphics, textiles, theatre arts, together with aspects of architecture, industrial and landscape design.

Learn from and be inspired by the ingenuity, and artistic grace of the diverse field of material culture. You will engage with objects that range from the eccentric to the magnificent, as well as creations that have become elevated to cultural icons.


Ornamentum is the only magazine devoted to exploring the large spectrum of decorative arts and design in Canada. This beautiful publication, published twice a year by the CSDA/CCAD, celebrates the aesthetics of the everyday.

Ornamentum highlights creative design and craftsmanship in both historical and contemporary work. Written for a broad readership, Ornamentum appeals to a diverse range of people, including curators, librarians, gallery owners, art consultants, educators, collectors and the general public.

Find out more

“The decorative arts offers a fluid grace to our lives.”

Upcoming events

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A selection of images from the 2019 Annual Symposium, Trends and Traditions - The Decorative Arts in Kingston.

Fall/Winter 2020  

On newsstands across Canada November until  May 2021

The Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/ Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs was formed, with the generous support
of the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, to provide a forum for all those interested in the decorative arts.
© 2020 Canadian Society of Decorative Arts / Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs