This Black Forest characterful bear inkwell was hand carved around the late 19th Century, with glass eyes and painted tongue, hinged at the neck to reveal the original glass ink bottle. The extended feet are to provide a pen rest. In untouched original condition. The base has a small crack, which looks like the result of some leaked ink! Only adding to its story and charm.
Dimensions: 8cm H x 8cm D x 6cm W
Forest carvings usually depict forest animals, particularly bears, and also trees and foliage carved from either Linden or Walnut. A common misconception is that they originate from the Bavarian Black Forest of southwestern Germany, but it has in fact been established that they were the creation of Swiss carvers, originating in the town of Brienz. The confusion probably arose as there is a forest in Switzerland near to Brienze that is also called the Black Forest. The cottage industry of the early 1800s grew by the turn of the 20th century to become the major employer of an entire skilled community. In Europe, they became a symbol of luxury and wealth, coming into vogue with English tourists after Queen Victoria, famously travelling “incognito” as the Duchess of Kent toured in 1868, and furnished at Osborne House a “Swiss style” chalet with Black Forest carvings. The carvings are often humorous and whimsical with bears, dogs, and occasionally owls smoking pipes, reading books, or even skiing!