Good 19th Century Carved Irish Bog Oak Lidded Box.
With Shamrock and Muckross Abbey Carving.
Bog oak wood is a form of timber unique to the ancient peat bogs of Ireland. The specific acidic conditions of the peat bog helped preserve giant trees that formed the great oak forests of Ireland thousands of years ago. As the bogs have been reclaimed for agriculture or exploited for fuel, huge trees have been uncovered. These trees, miraculously preserved, have lain underneath a blanket of peat for thousands of years and are greatly prized as raw material for sculptors. Dendrochronology has shown some pieces of bog wood to be over 4000 years old.
Historically, bog wood was greatly prized for its durability, especially as it was often the only timber to which people had access to in the early 19th century. An elaborate and specialised vocabulary grew up around bog timber, and its many uses and associated crafts. Records show there were many bog wood artists in 1850’s in Ireland. By 1861 there was a separate trade section for Bog Oak Manufacturers in the Dublin directory. Nassau Street seemed to hold a lot of bog oak artists from the 1850’s with one still operating there in 1949.
As well as having the well-known artists and furniture makers; bog oak was used in the earlier days for domestic and cooking utensils and local people also made their furniture with it. Many people used bogwood for couples and ribs of houses. All types of items were made from bog oak including walking sticks, candle sticks, jewellery, brooches, furniture, tea pots and ornaments, many with intricate carvings. An example of this is an armchair listed in the catalogue for the Great Exhibition of 1851 with fruit and foliage and grotesque figures carved on it which was carved by three men, it took them eight months of unlimited hours to make it for the Great Exhibition. Pieces were also made for the Queen, King George IV and other royalty.
H: 2.5 in / 6.3 cm W: 2.5 in / 6.3 cm D: 2.5 in / 6.3 cm
Stock Reference No: A1908