The Woodcutter

Mid 19th Century


The art of paper-cutting was a favoured pastime during the nineteenth century when black paper was readily available. Also known as decoupage (from the French) or scherenschnitte (from the German), the art was also popular in continental Europe. Tiny sharp scissors and pointed quill knives were used to cut the paper with great delicacy. Before black paper was commercially available, cutters often blackened white paper using soot mixed with beer.

This small scene shows a woodcutter heading into the forest with his axe slung over his shoulder. Inspiration for the scene may have come from a contemporary book plate. The cutting has been pasted on to the back of an old calling card belonging to a Miss Shaw of Cholmeley Park Villas in Highgate;  she is likely to have been the creator of the piece.

The miniature cutting is housed with a gilt metal mount in a papier-mâché frame with a decorative floral surround and hanger. There is evidence of old gum and slight spotting to the card though it does not detract from the innate charm of this survivor.

Item Ref. TS3

Size: framed, 130 x 120 (5 x 4⅝")