Joslin Hall Rare Books

Curious, Unusual, Interesting & Occasionally Useful Books of the 16th-20th Centuries exploring the skills, trades, lives and ways of other times...

 Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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Williams, Robert Folkstone.
An Historical Sketch of the Art of Sculpture in Wood, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time with notices of the most remarkable sculptural works in the same material now remaining in Europe, and some Account of the Designers.

London published at the Library of the Fine Arts: 1835.

Williams begins his essay in the dim ages of antiquity before exploring the woodcarver's art in Europe and England from the early times through the 17th and 18th centuries. He spends most of his time in England and Italy, although France and Germany are certainly not neglected. He then returns to the Far East and ancient times in an appendix. The author came from an architectural background and approached his subject with the eye of the architectural historian, treating not only sculpture but also all other types of decorative carving to be found in churches, cathedrals and the great houses. Mantelpieces, railings, even furniture fascinated him, and he treated all as more or less equal products of the chisel. Williams has an eye for the odd- "There are many bas-reliefs, particularly those carved underneath the seats of the choirs of different religious structures, that represent grotesque, and even obscene subjects, altogether at variance with the sacred character of the buildings in which they are placed. What may be thought most singular, is, that these sculptures sometimes represent priests and other religious persons, engaged in actions of a very profane description. The sculptors who executed those carvings were the caricaturists of the time and, as different religious communities were frequently at variance with each other, they employed these artists to satirize their mutual follies and vices. Under their seats they concealed from the public eye, but exposed for their own private gratification, a series of pictorial libels. In one place, the monks of a certain order are represented as licentious, ridiculous, and depraved: -in the building belonging to these holy fathers, will, probably, be found a similar se

Hardcover. 5.5"x8", 96 pages, original "satined" cloth covers recased with a new spine and new endpapers contents with some moderate foxing.

Inventory #: 31398
Price: $ 350.00      

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