What a delightful find that has definite folk art presence laced with primitive form….. this unusual whimsey is just a great piece to own! When Europeans immigrated to North America in the 1600’s they brought their trade of woodcarving with them and this art form became very popular here. Woodcarvers began building highly stylized wooden furniture in the 1700’s. However in the mid 1800’s hand carvers were now being replaced by new carving machines that offered mass production at a better cost. Many of these skilled tradesmen decided to continue their work by carving “Whimsies”.
Some dealers believe that “whimsies” were not to be played with but rather viewed as a form of art like a statue or painting. Others believe that they were made as a pastime to entertain, amuse, or to show off one’s carving skills and that children may have played with them for hours on end. Either way, this wonderful example will hold high regard as an intriguing piece of displayed folk art whether it be in a basket filled with rag balls or added to a collection of early wooden baby rattles and other children’s toys.
This hand carved whimsey is in great condition and possess all the luscious earmarks of a skilled carver. He must have been so proud of this piece because he even signed and dated it in the year of “1917” (see image 6). Only whispers remain of the signature so his name will always be a mystery. The dark, aged patina in the wood is perfect and there are also dark striations present on the side near the bottom. Age related fishers located near the bottom do extend upward (on the side) as shown in image 5. There is also a small chip of wood located near this fisher, over to the left.
This whimsey was fashioned from one piece of wood and the ball may have been added through the opening as a final step. A tiny piece of wire was inserted not only though one of the side posts but through the ball as well to secure its position inside the cage. The hand carvings are visible at the top and bottom inside locations. This piece is lightweight and does not have any musty odors.
This whimsey is just a fun piece to own and will certainly have guests or family members guessing as to what it is…..and now you can tell them! Enjoy!
Whimsey stands a little over 6 ½” tall, measures 1 ¼” across (right to left) and is also 1 ¼” deep. Ball measures about 1 ¼” tall.
~Freight (Standard Mail) included, however Insurance is optional and can be purchased @ checkout ~ within the continental U.S.