Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Familiar Face...in Vienna

Making my rounds yesterday  of some favorite blogs, I was surprised to see a familiar face at Merisi's Vienna for Beginners. Hop over and take a look. She's in the first photo of Merisi's post and at the top of the metal gate in the second. 

A very familiar face. I have what could be her sister hanging above the entry to our dining room.
Over fifty years ago, she was dusty and forlorn in the corner of a tiny antique/cabinet maker's shop in Tampa. (It had become time to 'do something' about my room as I made the transition from child to teen and my mother was attempting to guide me on the path of interior decoration.)

I saw this carved head hanging on the wall and was a goner. I'd always wanted a ship's figurehead, ever since reading Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Wooden Lady

  
This wasn't a figurehead but it was as close as I was likely to get. I named her Magdalene (pronounced mawdlin) and she's been with me ever since.


The cabinet maker who sold her to me said that she was likely an apprentice piece -- something made by an apprentice woodworker in order to move up to the next rung on the way to becoming a master.


Quite probably faces of this sort were something of a standard in the decorative arts of a certain era.  Still, it's fun to feel she has a sister in Vienna.

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13 comments:

Martin H. said...

Vicki

A beautiful carving Vicki. If this is an example of what the apprentice could do, what of the Master?

I wonder if your piece found its way from Europe, maybe even Austria. Perhaps Merisi would have more information? Fascinating.

Pat in east TN said...

The stories of the two 'sisters' is quite something. It is a beautiful carving.

willow said...

Oh, I love your wooden lady. Yes, she is so very similar, even the scroll work around her face! Amazing.

Vicki Lane said...

This is one of my possessions I'd grab in case of fire,

And I sent Merisi a picture -- she's going to ask a art historian friend if there might be an original sculptor from whom these pieces derive.

NCmountainwoman said...

I just love her! I also remember that Nancy Drew book. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Loved the Nancy Drew book. Had the whole series, Christmas and birthday presents from the age of about 8 on. Eventually passed them on to the daughter of a friend, but still have the full Anne of Green Gables series with crayon notes I wrote in the front and dog-chewed corners from our Christmas puppy. Good reading and good memories.

Anonymous said...

Oops--that last Anonymous is from Lynne in Ga.

Tipper said...

Both pieces are beautiful and do look like sisters. So neat that you kept yours from childhood. I love the things I've kept from my old room at Pap and Grannys too-not valuable except to me.

Vicki Lane said...

That was one of my favorite Nancy Drew's, mountainwoman!

Hey, Lynne, I let go of my Nancy Drew's, alas, but still have all my Anne books -- also pretty battered.

I have hung on to more stuff from my childhood than I should admit, Tipper. Including state-of-mind.

Victoria said...

What a beautiful carving. I hope Merisi can find something out about her.

I remember that Nancy Drew book; it was one of my favorites, along with "The Secret of the Old Clock."

I've hung on to my childhood state-of-mind, too. I think it's one of the most important things we can do for ourselves!

Vicki Lane said...

Maybe we won't even notice, Victoria, when we slide into that second childhood...

Anonymous said...

Vicki, it's nice to find a 'kindred spirit' who still has Anne books. I was an adult when I found the last two in the series that I hadn't know existed. Had to get them. Then PBS did a wonderful Anne series that was perfectly cast and true to the books.Didn't even want to watch it as I doubted that anyone could do it justice, but it was wonderful. Next they did a followup that had the same cast, but had nothing to do with the books at all and was terrible. Do you have a 'lake of shining waters' on your farm?

Lynne in GA

Vicki Lane said...

I think my favorite Ann book was the one with her at college -- and then teaching school. The girls renting a house (from two little old ladies who were going off traveling) with someone's aunt as chaperon just sounded delightful. Was that Anne of Avonlea? Will have to go refresh my memory.