The beautiful Alpine farming town of Brienz, Switzerland is famous for their wood carvings. In 1850, the carvers began to focus on men in scenes of daily life, like this statue of a clock peddler. In 1884 the "School of Wood Carving, Brienz" was started to carry on the tradition. By 1910, about 1300 carvers were using the long winter months to produce income for the once-poor area. This statue is signed "SIC," carved into the edge of the base. There is an additional signature on top of the base, which we've darkened in the photo to make it (slightly) more readable, along with the number 106, probably indicating this is the 106th work by this carver.
Although Brienz carvings are often erroneously termed "Black Forest," this late 19th century figure is definitely Swiss, not German. He is a marvelous advertisement for another famous Swiss product--timepieces. The peddler carries a pack on his back, with large and small clocks for sale, Four drawers at the bottom of the pack, with their carefully carved tiny knobs, probably held spare parts and possibly his lunch. Jauntily attired in his knee breeches, string tie and top hat, he leans upon his furled umbrella. The intricacy of the details on this piece never fail to amaze, from the buttons on his waistcoat to the knuckles on his right hand. We hope you use the zoom feature!
The statue stands 13 1/2 inches tall on a asymmetrical, nine-sided base about 4 1/4 inches wide. Weighing in at 2 pounds, this antique carving is in superb condition, with not a crack or missing piece anywhere. With its warm nutmeg-colored stain, the wood has a beautiful matte surface. It's a wonderful piece of Swiss folk art and a masterful carving.