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Life-size painted wooden cut-out figures of soldiers, serving maids, children and animals stand in dark corners of some museums and country houses, often creating a disturbingly lifelike impression for teh casual viewer. Many strange theories have been put forward to account for these figures, now known as dummy boards or silent companions: were they intended to act as firescreens, or to scare off burglars, or even to ward off loneliness? This book disentangles their true origins in seventeenth century 'Trompe l'oeil' painting and discusses the range of purposes (primarily decorative) to which they were put. There is also a section on the closely related subject of chimney boards - panels painted in trompe l'oeil to disguise fireplace openings in the summer months.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780852639214
ISBN-10: 085263921X
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 150mm x 4mm)
Pages: 32
Imprint: Shire Publications Ltd
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date: 1-Mar-1988
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Clare Graham

After reading modern history at Oxford, Clare Graham joined the staff of the Victoria and Albert Museum. She works in the Department of Furniture and Interior Design, mainly on the pree-1800 furniture collection. After publishing an artcile on the figures of Moses and Aaron described in this book she broadened her researches and has produced the first general history of the subject to appear for many years.