Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Peasant Inspiration - Coloured Woodcarving of Switzerland and South Germany

I had said in a previous post that the only article Joseph King had written on the Peasant Arts movement was his book Nesting Boxes for Birds (King, J., The Gallery of Handicraft).  Then I found two articles by Joseph King on handicraft in Issue 2 and 3 of The Art Workers' Quarterly (1902) at the Victoria & Albert Museum.  The illustrations that accompany the Issue 3 article he wrote on 'The Coloured Wood Carving of Switzerland and South Germany' (p.80-84) are fascinating as they look familiar.  I am unable to find out much about Franz Paukert, but it would appear that his woodcarvings inspired Godfrey Blount's trademark intertwined vine leave patterns.

panel from Franz Paukert's "Die Zimmergotik" plate 32
from The Art Workers' Quarterly, Vol. 1, Issue 2, 1902 (p.82)

illustration from Arbor Vitae, Blount, G., A.C. Fifield, 1910

King writes "Of course there are various styles and developments of this surface carving.  But one very remarkable things about it is its wide-spread traditions and distinct characteristics: the same designs and motives are seen in different centuries and in places so far apart as Northern Switzerland and eastern Tyrol. The beauty and simplicity of some of these designs is seen from the illustrations of this article.  But an hour in the Basel, Zurich, or Munich Museums, or a study of Franz Paukert's splendid work "Die Zimmergoitk in Deutsch-tirol" (Leipzig, 1897), will show at once how distinct a tradition this style of carving has established, and how it has affected the best domestic, ecclesiastical, and public architecture of South Germany and neighbouring lands."

panel from Franz Paukert's "Die Zimmergotik" plate 32
from The Art Workers' Quarterly, Vol. 1, Issue 2, 1902 (p.83)


Illustrations by Godfrey Blount, from Arbor Vitae, Blount, G., A.C. Fifield, 1910


  1. Thank you for your work on this interesting topic and for your tireless research. Tanya Harrod refers briefly to The Peasant Art Society in "The Crafts In Britain in thew 20th Century", but otherwise it appears to be a little-recorded aspect of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

  2. Thank you Marshall. Hopefully at some point I'll have the time to arrange all of this research better so it makes more sense.

    The Peasant Arts movement is indeed relatively unknown, even in Haslemere; but whilst it was less commercially successful than Chipping Camden and Ditchling, it still has an important tale to tell and contribution to the overall understanding of the Arts and Crafts movement, in my opinion.


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