This is a fine 19th Century Black Forest carved oak smoking stand featuring a large carved bear standing at the base and a smaller bear perched on top. Each bear is finely carved and beautifully illustrates the intricate artistry of the Black Forest style. This exciting style deftly incorporates lifelike flora and fauna of the forest into items such as benches, hall trees and chairs as well as smaller items like clocks, wall hangings and other objets d'art. Expertly detailed, this hall tree is a superior illustration of this fine art.
For many years "Black Forest" carvings were thought to have been produced in the Bavarian Black Forest of Germany, but it has now been established beyond all doubt that they were the sole province of the Swiss. The wood carving industry of Switzerland originated in the picturesque town of Brienz. From humble beginnings of a cottage industry in the early 1800's it grew by the turn of the 20th century to become the industrial driving force of a whole community.By 1910 there were some 1300 carvers plying their trade in the community of Brienz.
The carving industry was driven by the tourist industry; Brienz, Interlaken and Luzern and other such resorts were in vogue with the wealthy Victorians.
Bears were particularly popular, being the symbol for the city of Berne, but musical boxes, musical chalets, furniture large and small, all figured in Swiss carving. The variety was immense, ranging from the religious, faithful reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper to the amusing and the whimsical.
Far from being 'mere whimsy' however, Swiss Black Forest carvings were exhibited at the London Great Exhibition of 1851, Chicago 1893, Paris 1900 and at many other of the great international exhibitions of the late 19th and early 20th century. Black Forest carvings stood alongside goods from the likes of Tiffany, Galle and Linke at such exhibitions. Today there has been a tremendous revival of interest for them and the best pieces are highly sort after.
Taken from the book "Swiss carvings 1820 - 1940" written by Jay Arenski, Simon Daniels and Michael Daniels.
Dimensions: 37"H x 20"W x 18"D
American Victorian Furniture, Architectural, Art Deco & Nouveau, Chandeliers, Stained Glass
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