Taking Shape

Sorry that I didn’t post the Lacemaker yesterday as promised. I wasn’t terribly well…but here she is today with quite a bit of detail added to her.

There is still a way to go with her as she is a very complicated figure but I think if I show you where we are now, you will grasp where we are going with her.

The Lacemaker -Taking Shape

My client is Over the Moon! This is what she said when I emailed her with the latest photo:

" Oh Sue, I am thrilled with the way the Red Lady is looking already! She
is just as I imagined. She will be very happy in my house. I have bought a
miniature spinning wheel for her to use too...maybe that will be the next
dummy board project? "

While our French waiter and the Lacemaker are drying, today, I shall talk about a few dummy boards that are unusual, to say the least, in an art form that is already unusual in itself.

What do you think is the purpose of a dummy board like this one…..?

"The Boar's Head, as I understand, is the rarest dish in all this land! " ( Boars Head Carol, Oxford.)

A dummy board tree

Or these two?

18th century dummy board of an owl. Christies Auction House

Or indeed this one?

The Boar’s head is modern. It is made from 9mm plywood, unprimed, and painted in the traditional trompe l’oeil manner, under painting and over glazing etc. using artists acrylic pigments and was painted by Maggy Howard in the 1980’s. Some of the fruit are real and some are painted. Hard to tell which is which. It’s also double sided, so whichever way you look at it…it’s trompe l’oeil! And it’s purpose…? Just to deceive.

Of course if this was an historic figure then we would say it was just the kind of thing that the enterprising Innkeeper would use to attract visitors to his establishment. Rather like the Raised pie we talked about in Humble Pie, it could have been an advert for the sort of fine fare you might be served up if you dined there.

The shell, courtesy of Swaffer Antiques, was probably painted as a summer firescreen. It is big enough and a good shape to hide the unsightly black hole that is the unused grate and decorative enough to be placed there over the summer months.

The little tree, might have had, in its historical form ( this is a late 20th century one ) a similar function. With the popularity of the glass room or the conservatory in the late 19th century, little topiary and orange trees were made to add piquancy to the hot house flowers that were beginning to be imported from the Far East and grown in these newly fashionable and showy buildings. They could be put just about anywhere, the hall, the dining room, even in the garden.

The lovely owl is more difficult to place.

Have you ever heard of stuffed birds of prey being used in barns and on the tops of buildings to deter pigeons roosting? Nowadays, it’s likely that those stuffed birds are made of plastic. Recordings of the bird’s call are also played to try to convince the poor old pigeon that there is a predator about. In the ‘old’ days, you might have had a dummy board of an owl roosting up in the eaves of your grain barn. If it was realistic enough, it might have fooled the mice too . πŸ™‚

It’s a lovely piece and would look nice just about anywhere, actually. Maybe the artist was just a bird fancier….?

Talking of birds…. my good friend Bonnie took this amazing picture of a two headed Canada Goose, the other day. What a find! To be there, with a camera, just at the right moment!

She is going to send it to an Ornithological society to find out if this is the first of its kind!

What a fabulously unusual dummy board it would make too…….don’t you think?

The two headed goose! Thanks Bonnie πŸ™‚

2 Responses to “Taking Shape”

  1. Bon's Mots Says:

    Getting Goosie was quite a coup, because the Two Headed Canada Goose prefers to remain in Canada, whereas his common cousin prefers more southerly climes and year-round breadcrumbs to be found in the beautiful parks of Denver. The National Geographic Society will dispatch a full film crew this week to record this beautiful bird. I only hope he (or she?) is still nearby.


  2. pastmastery Says:

    No… I expect he/ has gone…. better make himself scarce! It is Easter when all said and done and the Goose pie season!


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