Carved washstand

Late 17th century

National Museum of Slovenia

National Museum of Slovenia

The washstand is actually more of a carved, sculptural work than a piece of carpentry. It consist of an almost naked and moustachioed kneeling male figure holding a shell on his head, and a high back with richly applied carved acanthus leaves, from the top of which peeps a waist-length figure of a putto with extended arms. It is holding a bunch of greenery in one hand, as if for sprinkling. There is a basin on lion’s paws in the shell and a fitted water container above it, all of pewter. The date 1698 and the initials SB are engraved on the stand. The figures are modelled in the popular ornate Baroque tradition of ‘golden’ altarpieces in Slovenia. Fleshy acanthus leaves in greenish and gold brown tones, which decoratively curl and twine on the red ground of the back are typical of the turn of the eighteenth century. This unique washstand, which was perhaps used initially as a font for holy water or a baptismal font, comes from Goričak in Haloze in north-eastern Slovenia, from the private chapel of a house occupied in the nineteenth century by Jesuits from the nearby town of Varaždin.

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  • Title: Carved washstand
  • Date: Late 17th century
  • Date Created: Late 17th century
  • Location Created: Slovenia / Croatia
  • Physical Dimensions: h. 230 cm, w. 52 cm, d. 54 cm
  • Provenance: Unknown
  • Type: Washstand
  • Rights: Narodni muzej Slovenije
  • Medium: Carved, polychromatic and partially gilded spruce and lime wood, pewter


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