Box

1800-1900 (made)

Height: 12.5 cm, Length: 24.5 cm, Width: 11.8 cm

581:1,2-1891 FWK

Lidded oval box with clip-on lid, Norway 1800-1900.

An oval box of maple or birch, the sides formed from a single thin strip of bent wood, stitched together with straw where it overlaps. At either end of the oval is a handle, each carved from a single piece of wood which fits over the ends of the box and is fixed with wooden pegs. The tops of the handles are carved with scrolling finials, which are not symmetrical. The lid is a single board, probably of birch, with indents at both ends to slip over the handles. One of the handles is rebated to receive the lid, which then clips shut. The pine base is glued on. Decoration The sides are carved in low relief with a continuous symmetrical design of scrolls, centring on two C-scrolls, painted in red against black. The lid is carved in relief with a motif designed to be read from one end. Under the base a monogram is carved (indecipherable).

This is a traditional form of Norwegian box known as a tine, in which a thin sheet of wood is bent around a wooden base, with joint laced with fine birch roots (sveiping), and lid clamped between two posts pegged into each end. The technique of lacing boards together was an ancient Norwegian technique also found in archaeological sites. The flowing baroque scroll-work shows the pervasiveness of the baroque style on later Norwegian folk art in both low-relief carving and painted decoration on cabinets, boxes and other small objects.

The box was probably made in central Norway in the 19th century. It was acquired by the Museum from the collection of Herbert Ingleby, of Valentines, Ilford, London, who offered to sell some of his collection of Norwegian objects. A curator noted on file: 'I went to Valentines at Mr Inglesby's invitation, on Saturday last & saw the remainder of his collection of Norwegian objects, which he has gathered together during his travels in Norway. On the whole, the specimens which he has left at the Museum appear to me to be a very fair selection from his collection, most of the forms being represented as well as the designs.' Richard Adamson, curator, wrote on 6th October 1891: 'This is a very interesting collection of Norwegian examples of wood carving and would be of use for circulation to schools. The price asked is very reasonable. I recommend the purchase of the selection made. The total is £66.0.0.' The objects selected are museum numbers 569 to 602-1891. Six further objects were sent to the Museum of Science and Art at Edinburgh, and five to Dublin Museum. Registered File: Ingleby, Herbert. Collections of Norwegian folk art were formed both in Norway and elsewhere in Europe and America from the 1880s. In Norway folk arts were seen as symbolic of Norwegian nationalism, since Norway was still under Swedish rule until it gained independence in 1905. Collecting and displaying peasant folk art in national museums, particularly the Norsk Folkemuseum near Oslo, founded in 1894, and the development of Husflid (literally ‘House Industry’) was seen as a way of promoting Norway's economic development. In other parts of Europe, designers looked to Norwegian peasant crafts as a relatively untouched folk tradition. Wooden artifacts were admired for the visual impact of their bold and simple designs.

Location: In Storage

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