Every Dog has its day…and every cat too!

No less than three e mails, with questions about dummy boards, were waiting for me this morning!

I’ll answer them here, if I may. Pat asks..

“Why, when they are such a wonderful ‘invention’ did dummy boards disappear so dramatically?”

A very pertinent point Pat! 🙂

*Every dog has its day. Changing times made them less useful and less effective. With the improvements in window glass technology – remember glass was rather opaque and green tinged and could only be made in small panes, early on – homes became lighter as windows got larger. The dark corners where dummy boards could lurk, were suddenly illuminated – and so was the dust!- 🙂 and the trompe l’oeil trick wasn’t so realistic after this.

This might give you a bit of a scare of a dark night

The invention of gas and electric lighting also tolled the death knell for the dummy board figure. Coupled with these we have the invention of photography. It became more fashionable to have a photo than a dummy board and ‘real art’ too suffered a decline, as the demand for portrait painting took a nose dive. Rather like today… no one would have a tape recorder when they could have an IPod! Also:

Trompe l’oeil continued to be held in favour right up until the nineteenth century when it became tainted with the moral considerations of that age and the idea that it was deceitful and of little merit being ‘merely trickery’.

This Quiet Life Susanne M. Newstead

Drina asks

“When was the dummy board at its height….when were most of them made?”

They were made in considerable numbers from about 1600 to 1780. There is evidence to suggest that they were made a bit before this but so far we have few surviving and documented boards to pin point a date. The oldest figure we know about is of Saint Charles the Good in Belgium.

The oldest board?

He lives in the Church of St. Salvator in Bruges. There are records of a figure being there in the 15th century though this probably wasn’t trompe l’oeil. The present figure, which has been painted over several times, is and dates from 1609, so a very old one. Really good trompe  itself  – when they got it right, – dates from the end of the 16th century and it would be wrong to suggest that there were no figures made before this date but we just don’t know for sure. Records tell us that certain painters dabbled in making them, but they have disappeared.

Or have they? §See below.

Gone but not forgotten? The form lasted up till the beginning of the 19th century* see answer above. The hey day was from about 1680 to circa 1730-40 when most of the really good ones and all bar a very few of the small pairs of children were made. Not a long time for something to flourish….. not when you consider how long some antiques went on being made.

If you believe what I wrote about on Monday… till the 1950’s! 😉

Yes...it's a dummy board - a 50's one!

§ I am on the track of a dummy board which, if it proves genuine, will be an absolute coup! Made by the first chappie who decided to make it part of his job as a painter…. to paint them – watch this space!

Is this a real Cornelis Bischopp? We'll see.....


On Facebook…. on Brackley Gossip Girls….yes I belong…. 😉

Lisa ‘Roo Signs’ Slater asks

Three Homes in Brackley were broken into last night – whilst families slept in their beds…. Can we as a community, catch these b******s?

Mmmmm.? We all need trompe l’oeil dummy boards positioned in the right place every night. It won’t help to catch the perpetrators, but it might help frighten the b****y  life out of them!

I’ll make them all. 😉

Here’s one I made earlier!

Sir Frank in his Baronial Hall oil on board 5 ft.

Failing that get a fierce dog!

A Verrrrrrrrrrry Fierce Dog!

From Canine to Feline……

The tiny fireboard which I designed a while ago is now ready to be painted properly.

This is how it looks with just the outlines…

The bare bones of the composition.

And this with the first coat of oils.

Bit wishy-wash...hard to tell what's what..? All will become clear.

We are using:

Raw umber, Mixing white, Lamp black, Paynes grey, Yellow ochre, Van Dyck Brown and Burnt Sienna. We will also use small amounts of Cadmium yellow and Flake white in the last coat.

Just to let you see… this is what it looks like on the work slope- and how small it is.

The fireboard at the work station.

Goes without saying that we shall use the magnifier, both the desk mounted one and the head mounted one, throughout. We’ll be cross-eyed by the time we have finished!!

One Response to “Every Dog has its day…and every cat too!”

  1. The Camera Never Lies « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] art form died out. Well yes it largely did as a painted form ( and to see my answers go to Every Dog has its day….), but look around you…. you can see dummy boards everywhere in almost every walk of life. The […]

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