more carving details

When Alexander & I studied the carvings from William Savell, Sr and his sons many years ago, we went into great detail in our examinations…I wondered if the original carvers even looked as hard at this stuff. One of our favorite areas of scrutiny was the “spandrel” – the 3-sided area just outside the arches on the carved panels. If you have seen the other posts concerning these carvers, here is some real excruciating detail. For fanatics only.
door panel, attributed to William Savell, Sr.
door panel, attributed to William Savell, Sr.

This first one is the work of William, Sr, first the entire panel, then the detail of the spandrel.

spandrel area, William Savell, Sr
spandrel area, William Savell, Sr
Even obscured by various later finishes, you can see that he gets a lot of detail into a small area. There’s V-tool work outlining the shape, then some modelling & shaping of the surface, then some accent work with a gouge.
His son John used a similar motif, but executed it without any shaping  or V-tool work. It’s just chopped with a gouge. 
John Savell, spandrel detail
John Savell, spandrel detail


So as the rest of this exercise goes, so goes this part – young son William has a slightly more casual approach to this carving, and his spandrels are the weakest showing he’s got:

spandrel detail, William Savell
spandrel detail, William Savell
Here’s links to the other posts about the Savell carvings. In the future, I’ll try to get out some photos of the construction.

3 thoughts on “more carving details

  1. That is a large difference between father and son. Do you think that kind of drift would be evident in England? The pictures I have of your chest that was missing the drawer and top look like the work of William jr.. Yes? The spandrel has no outlining and only 3 gouge cuts in it. Does the joinery show similar change from father to son? Great stuff!

    • Steve
      Yes, the one I have here is the youngest son, William.
      yes, I think we can find that amount of “drift” among almost any group, it’s just easily visible here because of the lack of variety in the patterns.
      re: the joinery. It’s consistent between John & William, but we have very little from William, Sr. so not enough to go on. There is no joined chest from the old man…just two objects that combine joined fronts with board carcasses. But I will post about the construction when I have time. more details to follow.

  2. Peter, I must be a fanatic as I think this is just wonderful information. The detail and depth you go into is greatly appreciated, thank you for all your efforts and especially sharing it as you do.


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