Accession Number
This hallstand is comprised of heavily carved pieces of wood assembled to form the shape of a bear standing on a rocky outcrop or tree trunk whilst grasping a tree and looking up at a bear cub in the tree's branches. The base has a rectangular-shaped flat enclosed surface (34cm L X 27cm W X 4cm D) which once held a metal drip tray (now missing). The front of the base has two feet carved in an irregular shape at the front and two at the back. The two bear’s bodies have deeply-carved surfaces intended to represent fur. The larger bear (90.3cm H X 24cm W) stands on her hind legs on the base of the tree. She is looking forward through brown coloured glass eyes with bared teeth. Her left front leg hangs down, the right front leg and paw are wrapped around the tree trunk. At the back of the bear is a large hand-adzed cavity (11.7cmL X 32.6 cm H) with a friction-fitted cover, the purpose of which was to reduce weight and minimize cracking. A stylized tree branch wraps around the large bear and is supported with a black painted metal rod that is screwed into the front of tree. The area created by this assembly was designed to contain walking sticks and umbrellas. The tree trunk rises above the largest bear and has five branches extending outwards, the function of the branches being to hold hats. At the top of the tree is a smaller bear cub with glass eyes (38.4 cm H) standing on a branch and holding onto the topmost branch.
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. Hallstands like this one were relatively common.

This hallstand 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 rosewood 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).  It is for this reason that the hallstand is today displayed in the garden entrance of Craigdarroch’s Main Hall.

It is not clear when the Dunsmuirs acquired this hallstand. 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 a pair of wall plaques (see 2003.3.2 and 2003.4) and a clock (see 984.58). 
History of Use
This hallstand 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 hallstand and used it in Victoria. It was later used in Fields family homes in Lantzville and Nanaimo B.C. before The Castle Society acquired the hallstand from the grandson of Charles Arthur Fields in 2003.
circa 1890
196 cm x 53 cm x 36 cm
Wood; Glass; Metal
Black Forest
Country of Origin

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)

carving, 2003.004 (is related to)