Panel Carved by A. Montefiore.

Panel Carved by A. Montefiore.

Panel Carved by Hilda Ware.

Panel Carved by Hilda Ware.

Panel Carved by Gertrude Culley 2.

Panel Carved by Gertrude Culley.

Panel Carved by a. Montefiore 2.

Panel Carved by a. Montefiore.

Panel Carved by Eileen Strick.

Panel Carved by Eileen Strick.

Panel Carved by Gertrude Culley 3.

Panel Carved by Gertrude Culley.

Panel Carved by Norah Morrison.

Panel Carved by Norah Morrison.

Panel Carved by A. Montefiore 3.

Panel Carved by A. Montefiore.

dignity and distinction of character in the tall transversed screens at High Ham, Queen Camel, Mere and others; whilst occasionally, as at Fitz-head, one finds a screen entirely unique.

The ravages of the iconoclasts at the time of the Reformation were supplemented by those of the

Panel Carved by Margaret Bell.

Panel Carved by Margaret Bell.

(See "Some Oak Carvings in a Country Hall.") earlier "Restoration" period in the nineteenth century, when also much mischief was done by the hasty and injudicious repair of screens, and to save the cost of restoration many of them were cleared of their ornamental detail. Sufficient, nevertheless, remains to form an artistic storehouse of the greatest value, and it needs but a careful and attentive study of the West-country screen work to demonstrate its very high importance to those who are seeking to revive those beautiful handicrafts which were the pride and joy of our forefathers, but which have fallen so lamentably into abeyance.

In the course of the spirited discussion that followed the reading of the paper, Mr. C. E. Keyser spoke in astonishment at the magnificence of the carving of the screens exhibited. He said there was no doubt that the screens of the West of England excelled most other work of the kind for the beauty of their carving; but he did not think there was anything in Devonshire which could compare with such screens as those at Ran-worth, Southwold, Attleborough, and many others, but there was a certain special character about West-country screens which struck him as most peculiar. The Somerset screens he considered were more of the pure English type, and he did not regard them as so remarkable as the Devonshire and a few of the Cornish screens. It was wonderful how the people of the little churches all round

Dartmoor could have afforded to get men of genius to carve and paint the screens which were put in their churches. He was not prepared to think they were done by foreigners; he was one of those who liked to feel that at all times Englishmen were able to hold their own. There was no doubt, however, that, in Devonshire in particular, there was a foreign influence with regard to the screens, and this was shown more in the painting than in the carving. He hoped they would be able to find out where the screens were made, by whom, and under whose care, because he could hardly believe that unless there was some special school of art at such a centre as Exeter, it would be possible for so large a number of magnificently carved screens to be produced within comparatively so short a time. There was a mystery about the whole subject. Within a comparatively small district there were hundreds of beautiful screens with very little variation in the date at which they were put in. It was said that Henry VII. exercised a very great influence in the West of England; in fact, almost all the churches and towers in Somerset and Devonshire were rebuilt during his reign. There must have been a wonderful enthusiasm among the people, and they must have been very prosperous to have been able to rebuild nearly the whole of the churches in the western part of England and erect such beautiful screens.

Sir Charles Kennedy, K.C.M.G., thought it was possible that in the publication of the Diocesan

Panel Carved by Margaret Bell 2.

Panel Carved by Margaret Bell.

(See "Some Oak Carvings in a Country Hall.")

Registers, which was now taking place in Exeter, some light would be thrown, by means of the authority given for the rebuilding of the churches and the erection of the screens, on the circumstances under which they were carved. A peculiar fact about the Devonshire screens was that most of them were of oak; he did not think there were more than ten stone screens in the county.

Mr. Lewis F. Day, in regard to the Renaissance character of some of the screens, did not think it was necessary to imagine that Italian workmen were employed in order to explain the Italian character of the design. At that time the Renaissance detail was abroad; people were bitten by it, and pattern books of Renaissance design were common. There was no doubt that the carvers of that period had those pattern books, and tried to do something Italian; and it would be noticed that the Renaissance character of the screens had a (See "Some Oak Carvings in a Country Hall.") decidedly Gothic twang about it. It looked to him as if it were the work of Britishers trying to be Italian. The great thing which struck him in regard to the work shown, generally, was the admirable simplicity of the carving, and its comparative rudeness. Allusion had been made to the perfection and grace of the carving. He did not find the grace of it so prominent; there was a perfect mastery of the tool, and vigorous manly workmanship, rather than refinement; and if it was examined with a strict artistic sense, it proved very often to be overdone. But there was the beauty of vigorous, rude, simple work which any practical carver might have done, given the tradition of design. Somebody had asked how such work could have been done. He thought it was really the tradition which helped people to do the work; they did not bother themselves about originality, they simply went on doing the thing that was natural to them. It was tradition that enabled the work to be done; and where present-day people were going wrong was in dropping away from all adherence to tradition.

Part of the Long Border to the Staircase at holmstead place, sussex.

Part of the Long Border to the Staircase at holmstead place, sussex.

Designed by Mr. E. R. Robson,

F.S.A., and

Carved by Gertrude Culley.

The Egg-and-Tongue were Carved by Hilda Ware.

Mr. E. F. Strange said he had ventured to bring with him a slide of the screen which was in the church at South Pool. He considered it to be a specimen of absolutely the finest wood-carving in the whole of the West of England. The carving must have been done by a man of great skill. It was completely undercut; and local church decorators, who used the screen for the purpose cf harvest festivals, had no difficulty in tying string round the tendrils for the purpose of hanging up flowers. With regard to the question of foreign influence, Mr. Strange said that every screen that had been shown had a skeleton of English work; the general plan, the framework, and all the setting was English. He suggested that the theme of the work often, if not actually, supplied to the worker from one of the finely illuminated books with which the churches used to abound, was probably indicated to him by a foreign monk in one of the monasteries.

Miss Eleanor Rowe thought with Mr. Strange that, of the screens she had seen, the South Pool was the finest. It resembled very largely the screen at Dartmouth, and in her opinion the Portsmouth screen came next with regard to beauty.

In both these examples the influence of the Celtic interlacement was very remarkable. In regard to the undercutting of the South Pool screen referred to by Mr. Strange, Miss Rowe said that from a practical worker's point of view she did not think the undercutting was so wonderful as that gentleman thought. The carving was cut on convex moulding about five-eighths of an inch thick, and she thought she had noticed some of the sections of the mouldings carved shown on one of the slides;

Oak Wainscot Panels in

Oak Wainscot Panels in the Hall of Holmstead

Place, Sussex.

Designed and Carved by Muriel Moller.

( See " Some Oak Carvings in a Country Hall. "J therefore, the back could be got at quite easily, ihe tools could drill the holes between the interlacements, and when the carving was done it was fixed up on to a concave moulding. From the sections she examined in Devonshire she found that that was the principal treatment adopted in the fine screens which looked so elaborately undercut. Mr. Bond, in replying, agreed that probably a good deal of the foreign patterns might have been taken from foreign books, or, more probably, from illuminated manuscripts; while he would like to believe that English workmen executed the screens, he had always felt a lingering doubt. He had found on some of the screens, notably the one at Kenton, there were two very different classes of work. First of all there was the foreign work, which he was sorry to say was very much better executed than the English work by the side of it. It seemed as if some Fleming or other foreigner had been brought over to coach the other workmen and to give them a lead. This would account for the difference.

Some Oak Carvings In A Country Hall 2 758

It is not wise for a beginner in wood-carving to buy a complete set of tools. A better plan is get at first only a few tools, and learn thoroughly how to use each of them. Then, as Mr. Jack has well remarked, "When difficulties are felt in the execution of work a tool of known description is sought for and purchased with a foreknowledge of its advantages. This is the surest way to gain a distinct knowledge of the varieties of each kind of tool, and their application to the different purposes of design."