This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
HE subject of the present notice was for over twenty years Instructor at the School of Art for Wood Carving. When he first came to the School he was working with Messrs. Gillow and Co., who recommended him very highly to the Committee. He had had previously twenty-two years of trade experience, having started at the age of thirteen and a half as a wood-carver's apprentice.
During these early years of apprenticeship he learned little more than the use of his tools and how to carve a few set patterns; but his patience and perseverance helped him onward, and his quickness of perception and observation soon brought him to the foremost ranks of carvers. Twenty years ago, a man who could undertake a piece of carving with only a drawing for his guide, and fill in any little details that might be required, was not easily met with in England, so that Mr. Grimwood found constant employment. This accounts for the difficulty of representing his work adequately, it being merged into the trade output, where the executants' names in those days were never given. He was appointed to the School in 1884, and at first only came three days a week, but the number of the students so increased and the applications for admission on his days were so numerous, that in 1891 he was engaged for live days a week. Mr. Grimwood had a very special gift for teaching, which was remarkable, as he was rather proud of the fact that he was a self-taught man, and owed nothing to evening schools or art classes. He admitted, however, that he had attended for a short time the Art Classes at Somerset House, which were the first attempt at art education in this country.
He carved with great rapidity, saw at a glance what was wrong and how to put it right, and has been round to as many as forty students in the day. Also a very clever designer, he rather spoiled his students by doing their designs for them instead of making them work them out for themselves. When the school was full he had assistant teachers, vet no student who wanted his help was ever neglected.
The oak panel, "Sculpture," carved and designed by Mr. Grimwood, was exhibited by him at the Carpenter's Hall Exhibition in 1891, where it received the highest award (a silver medal) in the section for modern original work. At the Building Trades' Exhibition, held at the Agricultural Hall in the same year, it gained both the silver and the gold medal, no other piece of carving receiving such distinction. The idea the design is meant to convey is that Sculpture is not only the carving of marble and stone, but of wood also, and that it embraces not only the human figure, but foliage, flowers, fruit, and so forth. Practically all the distinctive materials of the sculptor are introduced. Sculpture being subservient to Architecture, the basis of the design is architectural. In the centre the sculptor is shown mallet in hand; the children on either side represent Reading and Writing, whilst Minerva, goddess of wisdom, presides over all, surrounded by flowers, typical of the Beautiful. Plenty is represented by fruit, and Strength and Speed, by the fabulous creatures, half animal, half bird.
Frame in Limewood, Designed and Carved by the late w. h. grimwood.
(Dimensions: 8 X 7 1/4 in. Relief, 1 in.)
The frieze-like panel (page 78) Mr. Grimwood designed and carved as a model for the advanced students. The flow of line, the spring and the grace with which the leaves twist and curl about are very good, especially when it is borne in mind that the carving is done in so soft a wood as pine. It has, however, been a point always insisted on at
"Sculpture." Panel in Oak, Designed and Carved by the late W. H. Grimwood.
(Dimensions: 2 ft. 4 1/2 in. X 13 1/4 ft. Relief, 1 1/4 in.)
Arts and crafts.
Panel in Pine. Designed and Carved by the late W. H. Grimwood.
(Dimensions: 18 1/2 X 4 1/2 in. Relief, 1/2 in.) the School, that the students should work in pine for some months before beginning to carve on hard woods, and that, from time to time, they should return to soft wood for study. The benefit of this system is to be observed in the smart cut and freedom to which the students attain.
The third panel is carved in oak, and is very different in design and treatment. The purpose of this was to show the students the varieties of planes, and the advantage, in a certain class of design, of taking parts of the relief into the background. This is a very noticeable feature in the Renascence carving of the first part of the 16th century, and again in the later French styles. This example is, however, in design, more influenced by Germany than France.
Both of the panels last described (pages 76 and 78) were splendid studies for the advanced students, as they were not allowed to trace the design on the wood, but they had to find the position of all the high parts with compasses, mark them on the wood, and then cut it away to the height of the various planes required. The scrolls and details had then to be drawn in and carved. This method necessitates a great deal of technical skill and experience, and is the one usually adopted by the expert carver, whereas the amateur can rarely master it.
The small frame of birds and foliage is undoubtedly a tour-de-force, and, although it is in a style which should not be encouraged, yet one can but admire the dexterity with which it is executed; one admires it much in the same way as the festoons of flowers and fruit by Grinling Gibbons. Mr. Grimwood was a great admirer of all natural forms, and before he came to the School, he had in the trade a great reputation for carving birds and other animals.
The frame - it is only eight inches by seven and a quarter - is carved in lime, about one inch thick, and was entirely cut through with the tools, although in work like this a drill is often of assistance. It is unwise to trust such a delicate thing in the hands of the fret-cutter, as a false cut may ruin the whole thing. Before carving, the lime wood was lightly glued to another piece of wood, to receive the bench-screw, which enabled the carver to shift his work whilst carving. It is impossible to fix with clamps to a table any piece of work that requires freedom in the modelling, and this is a most important point, which amateurs often fail to grasp. When the carving on the front side was completed, the angle at the back was chamfered off - a very necessary finish to all pierced carving.
The mirror frame is in a very different style. It is carved in limewood about two inches thick, and consists of two carved mouldings, the inner one, which is round, about one inch wide, and the outer one, a slight ogee, about three and a half inches wide. It is usual in this class of work to have the mouldings prepared first by the cabinet maker; in fact, very few carvers would be able to do them themselves. In this instance Mr. Grim-wood first ran the mouldings with his tools, and even cut the mitres with his chisel, carrying out the whole work himself, except the walnut backing, to which the carved mouldings are applied. A design like this cannot be fret cut, as the lines in the drawing do not represent the perspective of the thing when carved. It is only when a model has been made that the exact position of the lines can be obtained. In carving the mass, lines of the leaves would first be put in, and the serrated edges of the leaves cut when the principal modelling was done. It may be noticed that the massive leaves at thercorners and on either side contrast well with the more delicate scroll work. Indeed, the whole composition, simple as it is, is no less masterly than the actual carving, which is beyond criticism.
Mr. Grimwood's death has been a great loss to the School, where he was deservedly popular. The students are subscribing to erect a monument over his grave, which will be carried out by them at the