This charming Black Forest inkwell and pen holder formed as a owl, was hand carved c.1890, with glass eyes and hinged at the neck to reveal the original ceramic ink bottle. The ceramic inkwell has a repaired crack, but otherwise in beautiful untouched original condition.
Dimensions: 12cm H x 15cm D x 24cm 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. However it has in fact been established that they were the creation of Swiss carvers. They originated 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. Which then became a 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!