Call us

Pair of 19th Century Black Forest Carved Walnut Torcheres c. 1860

14.5 inches diameter at base, 12 inches diameter at top, 30 inches high.

For metric please multiply by 2.5
Full Description
A wonderful and rare pair of mid 19th century solid walnut Black Forest torcheres, each column formed as a well carved boy, carrying a bunch of grapes in one hand and wearing a smock shirt and cap. Their bodies transform into a tree trunk wrapped with carved flowing vines and tendrils and terminating in substantial and scrolled tripartite bases, each base carved with ferns and embellished with foliage to resemble a forest floor.

Above their heads the boys support a well shaped table top, each frieze carved and interspersed with further leaves.
Wonderful colour to the walnut which has been polished to a lighter colour to accentuate the boy’s form and left darker where their bodies merge into the tree itself. Each boy with his own character with differing well carved features.

Solid, usable and highly decorative these are large pieces with an excellent colour. The top of one torchere is slightly warped from a slight and very early drying of the walnut which occurred within a few years of their making and will not move further – still sufficiently level for use. There are small professional repairs to elements on one column but nothing noticeable or structurally significant.

Black Forest carved items originated in the early 19th century in the small village of Brienze in Switzerland. Increasing tourism to the area enabled the local men to carve items, usually forms taken from folklore and nature, to sell to the tourists. The finest works were bought by nobility and Royalty and the wood carvings became hugely popular and remain rare and collectible. Under the guidance of three families which began the craft, within a decade more than 70% of the men of Brienze worked as carvers but as trade declined the carvers had all but disappeared by 1910.