carving
carving

carving

Object

Accession Number
2003.004
Description
The carved deer mounted on the front of a backing panel comprised of linden wood (aka lime wood) planks glued together vertically, the shape rounded at the top, bottom and sides, with wide horizontal rectangular sections at top and bottom, the panel a plain background bordered with a continuous raised carved design resembling the bark of a tree branch, the panel's four outside edges featuring large clusters of carved acorns and leaves, the three-dimensional carved Red Deer buck with antlers and a thick growth of hair around its neck, the deer attached to the front of the panel with metal slotted screws from the back, the deer dominating the scene almost covering the entire panel and depicted as dead and hanging head down with its back left (topmost) leg tied to a post, its eyes open, the left front leg on top pointing straight down, the right front leg bent upwards, the surface of the deer carved to resemble hair, near the panel's middle a textured bag with a long strap placed to the back of the deer, a rifle stock under the deer projecting out under the belly, its barrel under the bag, a carved gun powder pouch near the belly. The antlers are removable. 
 
Narrative
Black Forest carvings were purchased by vast numbers tourists on the Grand Tour during the late 19th Century. They came in a myriad of forms: boxes; mirrors; hallstands; chairs and benches; animal figures; smoking sets; easels; panels, etc. Clocks appear to have been the most popular.

This hand-carved wall panel was owned by Joan Dunsmuir while she lived at Craigdarroch. It was purchased from her Estate at the auction held in Craigdarroch on June 21, 1909. Two brothers attended the auction and purchased at least three other Black Forest carvings now in Craigdarroch’s museum collection. During the sale, they also bought a large American walnut pier mirror that has been bequeathed to The Castle Society, and at least one bed.  Mrs. Dunsmuir’s Estate auction catalogue shows that four Swiss wooden carvings sold from the dining room at Craigdarroch (lot #'s 107-110).  It also lists a “very fine hand carved deer” that sold from the main hall at Craigdarroch (lot #128) and an "extra fine hall stand, hand carved" (lot #144). Two “very fine Hand-Carved Panels” sold from the dining room (lots 115, 116), and this wall panel is one of them. 

It is not clear when the Dunsmuirs acquired this panel. There are two probable periods. Robert and Joan travelled to the UK and to France in 1882, but it is not known whether they visited Switzerland. Following Robert’s death in 1889, Joan travelled back to Europe with some of her daughters. By 1890 she was in Switzerland. She may have acquired her Black Forest carvings then. Her son Alexander Dunsmuir also visited Switzerland in 1894 and could have purchased carvings then. The other Black Forest carvings in the Society’s collection that are known to be original to the Castle include an almost identical example (see 2003.3.2), a hallstand (2003.3.1) and a clock (see 984.58). 
History of Use
This wall panel was used at Craigdarroch during Joan Dunsmuir’s lifetime and was sold at the public auction organized by her Executors in June, 1909. Attending the auction were brothers Charles Arthur Fields and John Cass Fields. One or both of these men purchased the panel. The Castle Society acquired the hallstand from the grandson of Charles Arthur Fields.
Date
circa 1880 – 1890
Dimensions
124.5 cm x 15.2 cm x 72 cm
Material
Wood; Metal
Technique
Carved; Handmade
School/Style
Black Forest
Country of Origin
Switzerland

Related person/business/organization
Joan Olive Dunsmuir (owner)
Related Association
Craigdarroch (was used in)
Related Objects

carving, 2003.003.002 (is related to)

clock, mantel, 984.058 (is related to)

hallstand, 2003.003.001 (is related to)