A Second Career?

I have before, on this blog, talked about figures that are copied one from another.

Today we have another example….. with a slight difference.

In a document of  1966 we are told that a certain dummy board of a man was in a private collection somewhere in Europe  and a black and white photo was included so that we can see what he looked like.

The man with the punting pole. 18/19th century Belgium. Private collection

We have seen enough Dutch and Flemish figures on this blog to recognise a regional costume when we see one. The large silvery buttons are a bit of a give away! He looks very like the Zeeland Boy from our post “Me Old Dutch”

He was seen in tandem with a figure of a woman with a pannier of fish.

The Fisherwoman 18/19th century Dutch. Private collection, possibly from a series of Cries of London

So, imagine my surprise when one of my spies turned up this figure last year!

The punting man ...number two- at a Somerset Museum 19th c.

The very same man.

These sorts of figures were often painted in pairs, rather in the style of the Arcadian porcelain figures being made at the time by Meissen and Coalport.

Many of these are obviously early 19th century and belong to that band of figures that peopled the pleasure gardens of that era. We might have seen one or two when we were parading around in the post Cuckoo’s Nest. We can tell they have had a hard life as they are often quite worn and weathered, scratched and dented.
They were made largely in the late 18th and early 19th century and few that I have seen are of real merit artistically, though I am willing to admit there may be many fine ones I do not yet know about. The two above, quite good ones of the late 18th century, were in the collection of Mrs. A Post in the 1970’s and were known to have been bought in Belgium in the 1860’s. A companion pair, the man holds a punting pole and the woman two full fish pails slung across her shoulders. The woman is copied from “ The Basket Carrier” a series of pictures of ‘The Cries of London’ by  Matthias de Sallieth, the 18th century engraver. The cutting out of these figures is quite remarkable with all available ‘background’ cut away from the back board in a way which makes them very three dimensional and allows them to throw very convincing
shadows.

The fisherman  above has been copied in the late 18th or early to mid 19th  century and the figure has been languishing in the store room at the museum in Taunton, Somerset U.K. until it was unearthed in a cataloguing excercise in 2006.
The figure is painted in reverse, ( we have seen that phenomenon before),  stands 117.5 cms high and is 63 cms wide with a bevelled edge that is 2.5 cms thick. The back, which is painted a uniform dark brown, has a large block at the base which enables the figure to stand. It is very interesting to note that the original intention has been misinterpreted by the later painter and the punting pole carried by the first dummy board has been painted with a mop head instead of the ‘splash’ of water shown in the original. What a laugh! 🙂

He can come and clean my floors any time!

Perhaps he had had enough of being a fisherman and has retrained…..? 😉
This dummy board was a gift of the Right Honourable Mrs. A. Lawley to the Somerset Archeological and Natural History Society in 1951 ( PSANHS XCVll p.37 ) TTNCM. Thanks to Somerset Museum at Taunton for permission to use the photo.

I am away for two weeks now on my annual hols. See you when I get back.

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One Response to “A Second Career?”

  1. Pretty maids all in a row. « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] of course has happened before. You have seen the punter and the mopping man. ( A Second Career ) You have been introduced to several other sweepers  in the post mentioned above and one or two […]

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