• By Davoc
  • 2 November, 2008
  • Comments Off on Bogoak
This black hardwood is almost like ebony and was dug out of the bogs of Ireland. Bog oak was used for the manufacture of small articles, intended mainly for the tourist or souvenir trade, from the 1820s for over a century, reaching a peak from about 1850 to 1860. The range of products was amazingly diverse, extending from the simple to the elaborate, often carved, or embellished with gold, silver or gems. In general they comprised of three main categories: 1) Personal or dress ornaments, for example, brooches (many similar in form to the Tara Brooch), bracelets, ear-rings, buttons and studs (some in the form of shamrocks or harps). 2) Household ornaments such as models or representations of Irish antiquities, monuments, abbeys, round towers, High Crosses and sometimes caricatures of historical Irish personalities, Brian Boru, Henry Grattan etc. 3) Functional articles like work-boxes, card cases, book stands, candlesticks, pen holders, snuff boxes and jewellery boxes. The earliest reference to the ornamental use of bog-oak is a walking stick carved with shamrocks by Patrick McGurk which was given to King George 1V in 1821. John Neate (1796-1838) trained his relations, the Goggin brothers and Denis Connell, in carving depictions of the picturesque ancient ruins of the region. The Goggin family specialised in bog oak jewellery and were in business in Dublin as early as the 1860's. Queen Victoria, on an Irish visit wore a bog oak brooch mounted in Wicklow gold and set with Irish gems. (How well she might!) Cornelius Goggin now enjoyed the title "Irish Bog Oak carver to her Majesty". Bog-oak can be embellished with other materials, silver gilt mountings and national emblems, the jewels being Irish diamonds (iron pyrites) and amethysts. The poet, Thomas Moore owned a harp of bog oak which is now on display in the National Museum of Ireland. In later advertisements it was claimed that the bog-oak used was from the Lakes of Killarney and the Bog of Allen. EXAMPLE: Irish Carved Bog-Oak Harp c1890. This beautiful hand carved bog oak harp has deep carvings of shamrocks. It measures: 4.70" high X 2.20" across.
EXAMPLE: Great Irish hand carved bog-oak extending book rest with hinged ends. This is in good condition showing original patination. Lots of detail with hand carved castle, shamrocks, harp and foliage.



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