Delightful Naive Toy Noah's Ark Model

Of Unusual Design with Five Side Windows and Hinged Lid
Retaining Original Collection of 115 Animals and Two Figures
Hand Carved and Painted Wood

German Erzgebirge Region c. 1880

12” high x 28.75” wide x 7.75” deep

Ref: 33/34

An unusual large flat bottomed Noah’s Ark with a large collection of original hand carved and painted animals. The Ark has an engaging architectural simplicity with five windows to each side and retaining the original painted decoration and hinged roof to form a lid for housing the animals inside. There is evidence of use, with some scratches bruises and minor paint loss commensurate with its use as a child’s toy. The collection of original animals have been restored where necessary to replace or repair occasional missing or broken limbs, horns ears etc. The ark is offered with a bespoke made metal “ladder” form display shelf and wall mounting bracket for the hull to be set upon. Toy models of this type were very popular in Victorian times, as children were permitted, even encouraged to play with them, particularly on Sundays because of their historic biblical and educational association. The great tradition of spindle turned and hand carved animals was developed in the Erzgebirge Region of Germany in the early nineteenth century and grew in quality and reputation over the next fifty or so years as they were exported all over the world, particularly to Britain and the United States. Complete groups of this type are wonderful examples of European Folk Art and similar pieces are held in eminent public and private collections.

Literature: Robert Young, “Folk Art”, Mitchell Beazley, London 1999, page 118.
Leslie Duiken, “Childhood Toys Throughout the Ages”, BT Battisford Ltd, London, Plate 97.


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