Cultures across the globe have used wood carving as an art form for thousands of years, dating all the way back to the Stone Age. As a readily available material with varied qualities and textures, wood has been used by artists and sculptors to metamorphose natural elements into abstract structures. In contrast to this, the natural forms of wood itself are also the basis of many pieces and designs that we come to call antiques today. We are going to take you through the carvings of our 2Covet Dealers and the vast history and heritage surrounding them.
Back in the 15th Century, carvings of the figure of Madonna reached their peak, as seen in the incredible Enthroned Madonna and Child Oak Carving from the 2Covet dealer Peter Bunting. In this piece, the Madonna is enthroned, which is typical of the middle ages and iconography known as the throne of wisdom, translated to Latin as sedes sapieniae. Carvings of this kind were often carried in processions during the Middles Ages, as the Madonna was seen as a symbol of survival and jurisdiction amongst periods of conflict, hunger and disease.
Moving forward into the early 19th Century, Graham Smith Antiques showcases a George IV Burl Oak Top Table; an example of using the natural form of the wood to create a truly unique piece. The zebra wood base with cabriole legs and scroll carvings provides the perfect contrast to the uneven burl oak shape of the table top, whilst demonstrating how effective the use of opposing carvings can be in such close proximity.
Later in the 19th Century and across the pond in Central Europe, Butchoff Antiques Ltd provide another progression through the history of carvings, with this incredible ‘Black Forest’ Jardinière of Substantial Size. Black Forest refers to the surrounding forests of Brienz, Switzerland, which produced woods such as walnut and linden wood used in these incredible carvings. Carvings of the Black Forest are easily identifiable through their extravagant but realistic designs and common themes such as animals climbing trees or playing instruments, birds and intertwined branches. This particular piece from Butchoff provides a plethora of intricate carvings, with a tree formed central column dressed with two storks, decoratively carved with fruiting vines, pears, oak leaves and doves, with an eagle surmount.
The final piece in our journey of carvings through the ages, is the magnificent 20th Century Unusual and Attractive Centre Table by Maxie Lane from Wick Antiques. Maxie Lane took an entirely different approach to carving, crafting this spectacular piece from a singular piece of tree trunk. Maintaining the tree’s character and integrity was paramount in all of Lane’s designs, working with the primitive essence of the tree and following the natural lines and cascade of the grain.
Here at 2Covet, we have an extensive collection of wood carvings through the ages, all available from our 2Covet Dealers. Explore a selection of these exquisite carvings by following the links below.