Sculptural Collection of Six Early Boules

Solid Turned Burr Boxwood
In Untouched Original Condition
Each Approx 5” Diameter

French c. 1800

5” in diameter

Provenance: The Tony and Eleanor Foster Collection

Ref: 34/23

Hand turned from single pieces of solid boxwood, these bowling game balls were originally made to play the traditional southern French game of ”Pétanque”. The earliest balls were made from boxwood like these, as it is hard and heavy, it also retains its shape well, particularly when it was well oiled. Later Pétanque balls were made by adding a layer of hand made nails all round the surface, these are known as ”fish scale” balls. Then they were eventually made in solid cast metal, ( originally iron, then aluminium, steel and now plastic!). This group come from the private collection of renowned Treen specialists Tony and Eleanor Foster and have developed great character. Now slightly shrunken and out of their original perfect spherical shape, they boast wonderful textural surfaces and an engaging variety of colours to their richly patinated surface. They could still be used, but would not roll truly, yet they make an amazing and unique collection of humble but compelling ”sculptural” forms. Most of this early type of ball have been lost or destroyed and it is a rare treat to find a collection of this age and quality.

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