Bonnie Kelsey (1955-2017)
Earrings and necklace with Art Nouveau medallion
Donated by Lewis Chapman


Bonnie Kelsey (1955-2017) was an active member of the Noble Maritime Collection. She sang alto with A Helluva Choir and participated in our annual Culture Shop.  She earned the Master of Fine Arts in Drama from the University of Virginia and embarked on a career as a stage actress and model in the South and in New York City.  She also worked as an editor of academic books and journals, and produced the distinguished RNA-The Journal of the RNA Society for Cambridge University Press. Her many artistic pursuits included making jewelry. Donated in her memory by her husband, Lewis Chapman, the necklace with matching earrings features a French Art Nouveau medallion depicting a scarab, which the Ancient Egyptians thought to be a divine manifestation of the sun, and therefore a symbol of rebirth.  Chapman described his wife’s unique approach to life when he said that “…Bonnie was stylish, creative, and practical, down to earth… When Bonnie had a passion for something, she just did it.  No nonsense.  She could design a room in an afternoon. Her Christmas trees were always unique and funny.  In our Bohemian days, she would take a piece of furniture we found on the streets of Brooklyn and make it look like it came out of a Venetian Palazzo.”