Inventory of the Property of Guy O. Smith at Shottesbrooke Park, 1928, vol. I, probably one of 'Front Hall / Pair of Dutch figure screens: Children'
Dummyboard figures have been made since the 17th century in England and the Low Countries, with a revival from renewed interest in the late 19th century when painted copies or figures cut from the canvas of earlier oil paintings and mounted on wood appear. Their exact purpose has been much discussed but they were most probably deployed as draught excluders in unlit fireplaces and it has been argued, perhaps more fancifully, for use as decoys in an empty home. See Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, 1924, vol II, p.234 for further examples.
Very decorative. Some chips and exposed timber to extremities, wear to base (feet) and split at this site. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."