You lose some, you win some!

Back to earth with a bump….

We must now get on with all the work that has been coming in this past week or so. We have cut out and finished the Lacemaker and I will keep her for another post later when we have less to say! 🙂

We haven’t really been idle. We have been doing some research for the full sized and miniature fireboards we have to paint. ( If you are unfamiliar with the fireboard, just scroll down two posts or click here and you will know all!)

The first is a small board of a cat and the second a larger work for a vase of flowers and the principle of making them is quite similar. At the same time we have been asked to make a miniature dummy board figure of a girl with a doll for Sandra from Diminutive Dolls

This is what she says….

....would it be possible to integrate Small Dog into
the little girl and doll piece.I envisioned a likeness of
Small Dog sitting at the girl's feet, looking straight at
the viewer? This particular dummy board will be in
the nursery room box which will feature in my book........

Yes…. she is writing a book! It should be good. We shall chart the progress of it on this blog.

Anyway- the figure that Sandra has chosen for her “little girl”, is to be 1/12th copy of the full sized dummy board that lives at Lydiard House in Wiltshire.

Lydiard House in Wiltshire

Lydiard House

It is one of the first Palladian Houses to be built in this country and because it has been very little ‘messed about with’ over the centuries, is a perfect example of this style of architecture. It’s had quite a sad history being almost derelict when I was a little girl living nearby and it’s taken almost half a century to bring it back to its former grandeur. None of the contents survived the decline of the 19th century. However some of the pieces that belonged in the house have been recovered and are now on show.

I know what you are thinking! 🙂

No – the Lydiard Girl, as we call her, was not one of these earlier pieces! It was bought in, in 1970 at a cost of £44.00, along with a lot of other pieces of furniture and artifacts. That’s not to say that a house like this would not have had its own dummy board back in the early 1700’s. It probably did.

Now shall we experience another one of my ‘detective stories’?

This one concerns the Lydiard Girl. Here she is….

The early 19th century ? Lydiard Girl

I first found her by accident, when I was looking for another and completely different figure and I had no idea what she looked like. My mother, who lives close by, and I decided to go to Lydiard and take a look at her and we rang and asked if we might come to examine their dummy board at close range.

They kindly let me take pictures for my own use ( so please don’t reproduce this photo as I will get into trouble ), and had a good opportunity to really study this figure close to. ( This isn’t always the case, sadly ).

She is a nice figure but has quite a lot of damage, probably because she has been left, at some time in her history, in a damp environment. Her paint is peeling and it’s likely that she has had no undercoat, ( Well! 😉 ) which ( as we all know who are do it yourselfers…) helps to bind the top coat of paint to the wood. She is painted in oils on a hard wood. It might be walnut as it is very heavy indeed.

When I saw this figure I put it, by the costume, in the last quarter of the 18th century. Then I started to scratch my head, pull my beard and search my memory for where I had seen this figure before. Because I had!

Have a look at these two delightful children – is this an oxymoron?….( sorry it’s only black and white ).

The Easton Neston Pair

These two dummy boards were in the collection at Easton Neston House in 1895 when they were last photographed and catalogued.

Recognise the young lady? It’s our Lydiard Girl!

We can’t of course, say that they are painted by the same person. We have no idea what colours the figure is. My guess is that they may have been cut out of a canvas and mounted on board in the 19th century ( yes they did his sort of thing ), but we can’t prove it, because the figures are ( up to the present day ) LOST – so we can’t examine them. But there is no doubt that they are related.

Imagine how excited I was to find The Lydiard Girl, when I knew that it was unlikely I would ever find the Easton Neston Girl. If these two figures were in the collection at Easton Neston in the late 19th century, do they predate the Lydiard girl or are they both of the same age? When you really have a good look at the pair of figures, you begin to see that they don’t quite look late 18th century. They look more like those pretty scraps that people collected in the 19th century – almost a pastiche.

At best I think we can say that they date from the reign of William the lV ( 1830 – 37 ), at the latest they are late 19th century. The same might be said for our Lydiard Girl.

One other interesting snippet… Easton Neston House is in Northamptonshire ( where I now live ). Lydiard is in Wiltshire ( where I lived for 42 years).

On the back of the Lydiard girl is a very difficult to read inscription. I have said before that we must be very careful of inscriptions as they are often, at best misleading, at worst downright fraudulent.

This one seems to have a name on it. It seems to say:

Painted by Samuel Abington

A thought provoking fact. Abington, once a village, is now a suburb of Northampton Town….very close to the original home of the Easton Neston pair.

Mmmmm? I wonder where Lydiard House bought their figure?

Next post….preparation of our three new painting projects.

6 Responses to “You lose some, you win some!”

  1. Debbie Says:

    I can’t wait to see Small Dog immortalized on a Dummy Board..x

  2. pastmastery Says:

    Never done a Yorkshire Terrier before Debbie…should be fun!


  3. Bon's Mots Says:

    Sue, your detective work is fascinating as always. More stories like this, please!

  4. pastmastery Says:

    Ha ha Bonnie…I do my best but there aren’t that many lost dummy boards to find!


  5. Down to detail « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] If you need to refresh your memory about the Lydiard girl and the Easton Neston girl who are our inspirations, then this will help…“You lose some, you win some”. […]

  6. Four by Four « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] on dummy board figures. They do bear a vague resemblance to the Easton Neston pair,  ( see: You-lose-some-you-win-some),  having the same very ‘angelic’ faces. It is however, the dress on the girl, a rather […]

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