Friday, 14 September 2018

Dummy Boards or Silent Companions -

This is the answer to the question I posed on my previous post. But what are they?
They are life size painted wooden cut-out figures of soldiers, serving maids, children and animals etc. The oldest date back to the c17th. However there are question marks surrounding exactly what they were used for, but the general consensus is that they were placed in grand homes to deter the entry of burglars or intruders. From a distance, the figures could be mistaken for people especially when they were placed in such a way that they cast flickering shadows around the room in firelight. 
Two people answered the question correctly, so really well done to them. The first correct answer came from
1. Lorrie
followed by
2. Mary
Interestingly, Mary said that her answer was complete guesswork.

21 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary, Sorry, I got so absorbed looking at the towered house that I forgot to comment on the second part. I would like one of these figures if it were an original, but in general cut-outs have come down in status since the 17th century.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - both of these are original - both date from the c17th - the first one is in the V & A, and the second one, which I showed from Canons Ashby of the Scots Guard, is thought to have been painted by Elizabeth Pickering (Mrs John Creed 1642 - 1728). According to Samuel Pepys diary she was Lord Sandwich’s niece, daughter of Sir Gilbert Pickering and Lady Elizabeth Mountagu. She married John Creed in October 1668.
      You can buy two original c17th modest sized dummy boards for just under £7,000 here:-
      http://www.onlinegalleries.com/art-and-antiques/detail/pair-of-18th-century-dummy-boards/263773

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    2. The dummy boards you show in the ad and in the article are all pretty amazing, and it is so interesting to speculate on their forgotten uses. What one mostly sees now is garden cutouts--usually cats or lady gardeners bending over and showing their bloomers--not exactly my thing. I'll have to look out for one of my bargains on the original ones! --Jim

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  2. I seem to remember that years ago a shop in Cambridge had a cardboard cut-out of a policeman which they were convinced had reduced shop-lifting on the premises. I think it would work too: when I worked at a special school one of the children managed to charm the staff of a record shop to save a life-sized Michael Jackson cut-out for him. It lived in his bedroom for several years and frightened several of our night-staff when they checked on the children at night.

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    1. Yes, I remember those policeman cardboard cutouts too, and in fact there is still a shop in the town here that has one standing at the entrance door. It seems hard to believe that they would prevent people shoplifting but that was certainly the premise.

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  3. Good for Mary! As you know, I confessed to doing a little research. I'm glad some have survived the years.

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    1. I think that you did well to find the answer Lorrie as the object is rather obscure.

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  4. Never have guessed that although now its pointed out it makes complete sense.

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    1. If you see some in the future on your travels then may be you will be able to impress Anne.

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  5. Dear rosemary,
    I didn't have a clue as to what your cut outs represented. I like the idea of having them placed in a spot where light and shadows can make them appear as if they have movement. I enjoyed the colorful painting of each of the dummies.

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    1. It seems that grand houses have always been targeted - now we have burglar alarms.

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  6. Dearest Rosemary,
    That is a very clever way of warding off thieves!
    Guess it worked... especially without the electricity that we are used to now.
    Sending you hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Over the ages, we humans are usually capable of finding an inventive way to resolve our problems.

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  7. What ever they are for, they are an attractive addition to a household

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    1. These original c17 ones are now highly collectible and very expensive too.

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