of Antique Face Screens in papier mâché. C.1860.
screens are painted with Gothic scenes, reflecting the mood of the mid
19th century, when a new sense of patriotism swept away the
neoclassical style and introduced the neo-gothic.
screen is painted with the interior of a Gothic abbey or church. There
are very grand-royal?- tombs with effigies of the departed on the sides.
Gothic arches lead to a dark interior.
On one screen a woman sits near a
font, on the other a man sits on a tomb holding his basket. There is
definition on both the tiny faces, although one needs a magnifying glass
to see the rather gloomy (especially the man’s) expressions.
pictures have been inspired by woodcuts
Cattermole which were used to illustrate "The Old Curiosity
Shop" by Charles Dickens published in 1841.
sad story of the death of "little Nell" caught the Victorian
mood to the extent that in
a grave for the fictional Nell was constructed by the verger
of the church St. Bartholomews in Tong village, Shropshire. Americans began coming over to England to visit scenes featured in the book. The tourists
recognized the references to Tong church from the book and came to view the supposed 'grave', which of course was not there.
It was an opportunity to great to be missed. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tong,_Shropshire
painting over a gold ground, the artist suggests light and darkness in a
most skilful way. Sometimes gold leaf, sometimes metallic powders were
used to this effect. There is no escaping the sombre mood of the scene.
neo-gothic style was a specialty of the Wolverhampton makers.
handles are in turned wood with remnants of gilding.
UK ; Circa:1860;
papier mâché and wood
Size: Screen 23.5 cm
wide by 20 cm; handle 20.2 cm long: 8.25 inches wide by 8
inches; handle 8 inches.
refer to the above photographs for details of condition.