Distaff

18th century


Object Place: Europe, Low Countries

Dimensions

H. 5.7 cm (2 1/4 in.); W. 5.7 cm (2 1/4 in.); D. 86.68 cm (34 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

65.10

Medium or Technique

Fruitwood

On View

Angelica Lloyd Russell Gallery (Gallery 142)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Wood Carvings / Turnings

Fruitwood Distaff. Carved in open work with dolphin, satyres, putti climbing between acanthus leaves, and crowned by a shepherdess holding a distaff.


When attached to a spinning wheel, a distalff holds the unspun fiber from which thread is drawn. A simple opening was sufficient to secure the mass of fiber at one end, but this distaff is beautifully carved along its whole length. The carving becomes increasingly elaborate as it rises from bottom to top, and it ends with the figure of a shephardess holding a miniature distaff.

Markings

No marks

Provenance

June 9, 1934, acquired by Leopold Blumka, Vienna [see note 1]; 1965, sold by Blumka Gallery, New York, to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 13, 1965)

NOTES:
[1] According to annotations on an index card (possibly a stock card from the Blumka Gallery) in the MFA curatorial file. Leopold Blumka moved the Blumka Gallery from Vienna to New York in 1939.

Credit Line

Frederick Brown Fund