Skill most mas­terly

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

OUR fra­ter­nal com­pli­ments go to the Mas­ter Carvers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (MCA), which, like COUN­TRY LIFE, cel­e­brates its 120th an­niver­sary this year. The MCA is, in fact, a few months younger than we are, as it was founded on Novem­ber 11, 1897, bring­ing to­gether the heads of 14 firms that em­ployed ‘wood and stone carvers, sculp­tors, mod­ellers, ma­sons, join­ers and fi­brous plas­ter­ers’. The old­est of them, John Day­mond & Son, founded in 1853, had 50 wood­carvers on its books as well as ‘a small army’ of the other trades.

In the early years, it was very much an em­ploy­ers’ group con­cerned with ar­rang­ing wages rates, ex­penses and so on with their em­ploy­ees, but al­though the mod­ern mem­bers may em­ploy as­sis­tants and take on ap­pren­tices, they’re likely to be artist-crafts­men rather than large busi­nesses. Over these years, they have in­cluded many dis­tin­guished sculp­tors, of­ten work­ing with lead­ing ar­chi­tects, and as well as pro­duc­ing their own work for orig­i­nal com­mis­sions, the wood­carvers are an im­por­tant el­e­ment in the restora­tion of his­toric fur­ni­ture, not least for the Royal Palaces.

The As­so­ci­a­tion pro­motes the high­est stan­dards and is, in some ways, the carv­ing equiv­a­lent of the Royal Academy. Per­haps a royal ac­co­lade would not be out of place for the MCA, too. Huon Mal­lalieu

River God by Tom Brown

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