But it is to the 15th century that we look for the best work of this class; there is no finer example than that in the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin. The front is a very animated hunting scene most decoratively arranged in a scheme of foliage, and the top bears two coats of arms with helms, crests and mantling. But the more general custom in chest decoration was to employ tracery with or without figure work; Avignon Museum contains some typical examples of the latter class.

But the process was not sudden, and much transition work has great merit. The rood screen at Hurst, Berkshire, the stall work of Cartmel Priory, Westmorland, and the bench ends of many of the churches in Somerset, give good illustrations. But the new style was unequal to the old in devotional feeling, except in classic buildings like St Paul’s Cathedral, where the stalls of Grinling Gibbons better suit their own surroundings. The rest of this article will therefore be devoted in the main to domestic work, and the exact location of examples can only be given when not the property of private owners or where the public have access.

Flarnaburr The Joyous, Tree Spirit Wood Carving + Pyrography Totem

In Norfolk and Suffolk roofs abound of the hammerbeam class; that at Woolpit, Suffolk, achieves the first rank of quality. Each bracket is carved with strongly designed foliage, the end of every beam terminates in an angel carrying a shield, and the purlins are crested, while each truss is supported by a canopied riche resting on an angel corbel. Here, too, as at Ipswich and many other churches, there is a row of angels with outspread wings under the wall-plate. This idea of angels in the roof is a very beautiful one, and the effect is much enhanced by the coloring. The roof at St Nicholas, King’s Lynn, is a magnificent example of tiebeam construction.

wooden spirit sculpture

In the early medieval period screens and other fittings were produced for the Coptic churches of Egypt by native Christian workmen. In the British Museum there is a set of ten small cedar panels from the church door of Sitt Miriam, Cairo . The six sculptured figure panels are carved in very low relief and the four foliage panels are quite Oriental in character, intricate and fine both in detail and furnish. In the Cairo Museum there is much work treated, after the familiar Arab style, while other designs are quite Byzantine in character. A certain number of seats used for domestic purposes are of great interest.

Look in the Art Galleries section under Shop Carvings for galleries that have a number of my pieces at their locations. Boxes, spoons and other small articles were often fretted with interlacing lines of Saracenic character, the delicacy and minuteness of the work requiring the utmost patience and skill. Many of the patterns remind one, of the sandalwood work of Madras, with the difference that the Persians v~ere satisfied with a much lower relief. Sometimes a very beautiful result was obtained by the sparing tise of fretted lattice pattern among foliage. A fine panel of the 14th century in the Victoria and Albert Museum shows how active was Arab influence even as far as Bokhara.

Unknown Spirit Diagrams

A good example of the long bench placed against the wall, with lofty panelled back and canopy over, is in the Musée Cluny, Paris. In the Museum at Rouen is a long seat of a movable kind with a low panelled back of pierced tracery, and in the Dijon Museum there is a good example of the typical chair of the period, with arms and high panelled and traceried back. There was a style of design admirably suited to the decoration of furniture when made of softwood such as pine. It somewhat resembled the excellent Scandinavian treatment of the 10th–12th centuries already referred to.

wooden spirit sculpture

These pieces of furniture were usually arranged in two storeys with a fine moulded and carved cornice, mid division and plinth. The pilasters at the sides, and small raised panels carved only on the projecting part, would compose a very harmonious whole. A proportion of the French cabinets are decorated with caryatids not carved in the best taste, and, like other French woodwork of this period, are sometimes overloaded with sculpture.

While his main lines and grouping corresponded, his detail differed. Of numberless examples a 15th-century chest (Plate III. fig. 6) in the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin may be referred to. The arrangements of foliage, etc., on top, back and front, are typical of Gothic at its best. This is an example of some traditional folk art – a “Wood Spirit” carved out of a branch in your spare time.

As he weathers, he will become even more realistic, and will eventually return to the earth and perhaps will one day be a tree again. Every piece of wood is different – yours may not end up like mine. I grabbed a piece of Maple (don’t do this – maple carving a spirit from wood is quite hard!) and started my cuts over again. This wood is considerably older than the one I got from my neighbor, so maybe it only has the one tunnel on it – I had split this in half about six months ago and there were no bugs in the wood.

Bartram’s Boxes Remix

In the Copenhagen Museum there is a set of bench ends of the 15th century with such a decoration carved with coats of arms, interlacing strap-work, etc. But the old 15th-century bench end did not depend entirely on the poppy-head for its embellishment. Such work at Amiens cathedral is a marvel alike of conception, design and execution.

But it was also the custom to make these cupboards with the corners cut off, thus giving five sides to the piece of furniture. A very pretty instance, which is greatly enhanced by the metal work of the lock plates and hinges, is in the Muse Cluny, and there are other good specimens with the lower part open in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Of the work of Assyria, Greece and Rome, little is actually known except from history or inference. It may be safely assumed that the Assyrian craft kept pace with the varying taste and refinement of Greece and all the older civilizations.

  • However, the best Continental designs adopted the typical acanthus foliage of Italy, while still retaining a certain amount of Gothic feeling in the strength of the lines and the cut of the detail.
  • Triptychs and shrines, etc., measuring but a few inches were filled in with tracery and figures that excite the utmost wonder.
  • Detailed and charming, it depicts a grazing sheep, making a great addition to any collection.
  • while many other smaller figures help to enrich the general effect.

The Elizabethan carver often produced splendid staircases, sometimes carving the newel posts with heraldic figures bearing coats of arms, etc. The newels of a staircase at Highgate support different types of Cromwellian soldiers, carved with great vivacity and life. But in spite of excellent work, as for example the beautiful gallery at Hatfield, the carving of this period did not, so far as England was concerned, compare with other epochs, or with contemporary work in other parts of Europe. It is true that good decorative effects were constantly obtained at the very minimum of cost, but it is difficult to discover much merit in work which really looks best when badly cut. The rood screen, that wonderful feature of the medieval church, was now universal. It consisted of a tall screen of usually about thirty ft. high, on the top of which rested a loft, i.e. a platform rood about 6 ft (1.8 m).

To Spain and the Teutonic countries of Europe we look for the most important object of church decoration, the retable; the Reformation accounting for the absence in England of any work of this iec kind. The magnificent altar-piece in Schleswig cathedral was carved by Hans Bruggerman, and consists, like many others, of a number of panels filled with figures standing some four or five deep. The figures in the foremost rows are carved entirely separate, and stand out by themselves, while the background is composed of figure work and architecture, etc., in diminishing perspective. The panels are grouped together under canopy work forming one harmonious whole. The genius of this great carver shows itself in the large variety of the facial expression of those wonderful figures all instinct with life and movement, In France few retables exist outside the museums.

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