Connect the dots

Remember the other night when I showed some drawings and carvings, I included this one that I was working for the frame I’m cutting.

devon pattern cropped

Here is the brace with that design on it – done in pine, frustrating carving softwood. It’s not like carving oak.


I know this pattern from surviving carvings on oak furniture made in Devon in the 2nd half of the seventeenth century. I have a fair number of reference photographs of works I studied over there, and related ones made here in Massachusetts. But by far, the best on-line reference for Devon oak furniture is Paul Fitzsimmons’ Marhamchurch Antiques website. I always open his emails, and always take the time to look at his newest offerings. They never disappoint.

Here’s that motif from a chest Paul posted some time back:

OSM chest

The bottom rail is the one I’m thinking of, the top rail is related, but a variation. Here’s another, I forget where this photo came from, the chest is Devon, c. 1660-1700.

chest w drawer feb 2010

While scrolling through some reference materials here at home the other day, I remembered Thomas Trevelyon. His story is complicated, but he produced perhaps 3 manuscripts, c. 1608-1616 of various subjects. Astounding stuff. In some of my last years at the museum, our reference library received a facsimile copy of one of these, I think I might have been one of only two  people to even look at it. These aren’t pattern books, because they were never printed – they’re manuscripts. I never got straight what the purpose was.  BUT – purpose or not, here, the border of this illustration is what I was remembering:


This one’s from University College, London – I got it from here,

where you can read much of the story about Trevelyon. One of his manuscripts is now digitized & available here:

He uses this border a lot in the UCL manuscript. Sometimes there’s a flower between the S-scrolls. This pattern will make its way into all of my furniture-carving classes this year. It’s great fun to connect the dots like this.



4 thoughts on “Connect the dots

  1. Peter,
    The facial expression “…on the stock figure who appears on the facing page to Queen Anne also appears in the Folger Miscellany, and Trevelyon…” is the one I usually have after a practice session of carving. Thanks MUCH for your posts.

    Cleve Mangham

  2. Any chance you might do a book of carving designs? Or maybe a bibliography of books with useful pictures? I have a tough time drawing from the computer screen, is it possible/legal/ethical to print pictures from blogs?

    • John – the book I have underway has a lot of carving instruction in it; and there will be photographs of my carvings, and various stages of the same. A book of photos of originals is tricky, due to permissions, travel for photography, etc. There are bits & pieces in lots of places. This blog has a lot, but it’s scattered over 8 years of posts. Had I known when I started what this might be…ahh – hindsight. Then I would have made them more searchable/sift-able. As far as I’m concerned, you can print stuff from here for your own use – it’s when people take things from here w/o permission & republish them that things get uncomfortable. I have written to people & asked them to take stuff down. I intentionally try to make my photos useful, large enough and clear enough so you can see the details. I’d hate to have to put watermarks on them….

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