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This is a place where the visitors are confronted with their search for a personal touch and where they have an opportunity to get acquainted with a skilled expert, who has turned durability and tradition into a personal passion.
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Thursday, 28 November 2013

LIÈGE STYLE FURNITURE | Pictures and images of LIÈGE style furniture | A book about Belgian Furniture | 18e Century Style Furniture

The Don Bosco Institute, Liège

A few months ago I was invited to pay a visit to my alma mater, the Don Bosco Institute in Liège, where I received my training as an ornamental woodcarver (between 1986 and 1989). Last year, the Don Bosco Institute had namely shut down the woodcarving department and I was asked if I had any interest in taking over some of the educational material. This way, I was able to safeguard some remnants of this prestigious department. 

Among the remnants, I found a small batch of so called “recueils” (a book or bundle of material) with unique illustrations, compiled in 1991, by the printing department of this school. These unused recueils, hidden away in some closet since 1991, are the subject of the day.

Le Mobilier au Pays de Liège

Recueil,  Le mobilier au Pays de Liège

'The furniture in the land of Liège' 

This bundle or “recueil” talks about the Liège art of furniture design. A “receuil” is a thematic collection of illustrations, in this case, depictions of Liège furniture, and is printed on large single pages (40 x 29 cm) made of heavy quality paper.

The “recueil” was compiled by F. Drugmant, the woodcarving teacher of the Don Bosco Institute at that time. Professor Drugmant was not only a woodcarver, but also a connaisseur of Liège furniture, proven by this amazing recueil, which was used by all of the later teachers, who apparently never felt the need to update his work or publish their own work. 

It is safe to say that this book of reference with detailed illustrations of Liège furniture was nothing less than a bible and important guide for those who took woodcarving classes. Unfortunately, the book of reference was only available for purchase in the woodcarving department and was never sold in bookstores.

A book with pictures of Liège style furniture

Liège stylefurniture of the XVIIIth Century

I myself have been in possession of this handbook since 1986, ever since I was a woodcarving student, following this unique course at the Don Bosco Institute. This “recueil” was published in 1984, with a second edition in 1991, to which a small number of pages was added. The dimensions of this book are 40cm x 29cm, meaning that the book is exceptionally large. It counts 134 single pages. These are all black and white illustrations of the highest quality and depict all types of Liège furniture, including close-ups.

I don’t have my “recueil” in front of me on a daily basis, but several times a year it serves as a source of inspiration; sometimes to closely observe the construction of a closet and even more often to refresh my knowledge of certain Liège style periods, hence my “bold” statement that this is quite an exceptional book of reference.

Should you be interested in this little piece of Belgian history, I still have a number of copies available for true enthusiasts.

Closeup photos of Liege Style sculpture and ornaments

 More info :

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Gravestein Coat of Arms | Duplication of the Coat of Arms in wood | Miniature Family Crest carved in wood

Gravestein Coat of Arms, Original
Patrick Damiaens
Heraldic Woodcarver

Gravestein Coat of Arms 
(Dutch Family)

Family coat of arms carved in wood

One of my specialties is the carving of Heraldic family coat of arms in wood. To carve a family coat of arms in wood is a bit of a personal challenge for me. Heraldry is a most interesting subject and I always look forward to taking on new assignments involving heraldic arms.

You learn about interesting people that captivate the imagination, all of whom have their own fascinating life story or family history. And for me personally it’s always nice to hear that my craftsmanship and quality are greatly appreciated.

Every heraldic coat of arms is different. Most of the time, it starts with an example that serves as a source of inspiration in the form of a drawing, an old sketch or some photographic material delivered to me by the client.
In some cases it occurs that the design for the family coat of arms is not entirely suited as the blueprint for the carving of it in wood. 

Some of the older families are fortunate enough to bear their own coat of arms. There are certain families who are in possession of a depiction of said coat of arms in wood. The Gravestein family is such a family. 
First I will give you some interesting facts about the coat of arms, followed by some information about the family.
The Gravestein family is in possession of a miniature carving of their coat of arms, which was presumably manufactured in the 19th century. It is extremely well-carved by a woodcarver who really knew his trade.  
The miniature has a cross-section of 13 cm.
Seeing as how these depictions and creations of the family coat of arms in wood, stone or iron are always very special and popular, these tangeable artefacts manage to create an emotional bond amongst family members, which was the case here as well. Several members of this Dutch family have expressed their wish to possess this little trinket. So the idea was born to have a duplicate made of the original miniature and I was commissioned to carve this duplicate of the coat of arms in walnut.

The Gravestein Family
The family tree of the Gravestein family dates back to 1662 in Overschie (near Rotterdam, in the Netherlands), with the marriage of Ary Arientse Gravesteijn and Maertie Claes Euvergaeuw on 7 December 1662.
Via peregrinations through Vlissingen, Middelburg and Zutphen, the grandparents of the client ended up in The Hague.
When the original heraldic coat of arms came into the possession of this family isn’t entirely clear, but what is known for certain is that in 1887 the miniature coat of arms was already in the possession of the family.
The father of the client had research done by the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden as to the origins of the coat of arms.
The museum was able to discover that the coat of arms first belonged to a French aristocrate who had conceived an illigitimate child in Switzerland with a maid.
That would account for the diagonal beam on the coat of arms, as this indicates the lineage of a bastard child.
The heraldic colours are red, indicated by the vertical lines inside the two beams, and green, indicated by the hooked diagonal lines inside the beams. The bird on the shield and the helmet could refer to the recognition of a fourth son.
That concludes the short presentation of the Gravestein family.

 Here are some pictures
Gravestein Coat of Arms carved in wood

the modeling

Duplication of the Coat of Arms in wood

Finishing the helmet

Gravestein Coat of Arms

 Miniature Family Crest carved in wood

Family Coat of Arms Carved in Wood