The Malthouse is pleased to offer for sale a rare George III period hand painted wooden dummy board of a soldier in the rifle brigade regiment. Circa 1780
Please see under ‘objects’ for more information
Dummy boards or silent companions
These strange objects or ‘whimseys’ were popular in the 17th, 18th and early 19th Centuries. They were normally made of oak or pine, painted and cut to resemble soldiers, children, servants and animals, they were then placed in corners on a staircase or by a fireplace to surprise guests or thwart burglars! Originating in Holland in the early 17th Century, the fashion for dummy boards soon took hold and by the late 17th Century they were found in houses throughout the continent, the British Isles and even colonial America.
By the mid 19th Century they had gone out of fashion and the craze was over. Many were then placed outdoors and in gardens and as a result succumbed to the elements. Today it’s difficult to imagine living with these unusual figures but they offer a rare glimpse into the decorative impulses of an age so different to our own