This meticulously hand carved sculpture of a St. Bernard was done toward the end of the 19th Century. He is standing on a mound of rocks and earth with his left front foot raised, while gazing off to the left. There is a wooden cask around his neck, carrying life-saving brandy for the downed victim. The artist has carved his hair very finely, and his face depicts a sense of alertness or urgency. His glass eyes show intent, and his confirmation is true to form and beautifully done. The St. Bernard dog was originally bred for rescue work at the Hospice of the Great St. Bernard Pass, which was on the Italian/Swiss border. The Hospice was built and named after an Italian monk, Bernard of Menthon. The breed was known for its rescue work.
In 19th Century Europe, Black Forest carvings became a symbol of wealth and luxury. These pieces gained popularity in the middle 1800s, and the town of Brienz in particular, was a center for some of Switzerlands best Black Forest carvers. The bear was the most common while the stag, eagle, boar and dog were considered more valuable, especially the dog. Black Forest pieces were shown at some of the most important fairs including London, Philadelphia, Paris, and Chicago.As an accessory, this fabulous statue of a St. Bernard will be a wonderful topic of conversation.
H=10 3/8, L=12, D=6 1/4
19th Century Swiss Black Forest St. Bernard Dog Sculpture