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Thomas Whittaker ‘Gnomeman’ Oak Corner Display Cabinet

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Stock ref: DS1471

Circa 1960s

A bespoke commissioned oak corner display cabinet from Thomas ‘Gnomeman’ Whittaker constructed in his typically rustic, adzed style with tradional wrought iron fittings. The open arched upper section with feature trellis and yorkshire rose carving and  three fixed shelves. Below a cupboard with fixed inner shelf and panelled door. Ply boarded panels to the rear, presumably a cost saving specification for the original owners who commissioned the piece. Acquired directly from the relatives of the original owner. Deep golden colour and solid construction, just some slight  evidence of natural wood shrinkage  around the upper arched section. Unusually the piece itself was never signed with his trademark gnome carving, instead it was accompanied by a bespoke made 10″ gnome carving made separately by Thomas which stood on top of the piece.  Unfortunately this was lost in a house move some years ago but we are in no doubt as to the authenticity of the piece. The stool/occasional table DS1472 is from  the same ownership and the family retain a number of other bespoke made and signed pieces we have seen.

Thomas whittaker (1910 -1991) lived and worked in York and later in Littlebeck, near Whitby, North Yorkshire. His trademark gnome is carved onto most, but not all, of his post war work and was inspired by a German jewish refugee he met shortly before the outbreak of war who was judging a piece he had entered into the North of England Craftsmen’s Exhibition in Newcastle. He was asked to indenify the piece in some way and the judge suggested the ‘german oak spirit’,  the legend being that a gnome is born each time an acorn germinates and will guard that tree throughout its life. His work is now highly regarded and nearly as well known as Robert Thompson’s. His business ceased on his death and his former home and workshop is now a private residence. For those interested in learning more about his life and work we attach a link to a British Pathe newsreel from 1961 showing Thomas at work at Littlebeck. Gnomeman Thomas Whittaker

Size: 72(w) x 43(d) x 185.5(h)cm



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