The term "pyrography" (pyro=fire, graphy=drawing, writing) was coined during the late Victorian era with the invention of wood-burning machines. With the advent of electricity came the electric poker, far more easily controlled than one heated in a fire, and a very popular art hobby craze, lasting into the 1920's, was born. The craft was also known as wood-burning, pokerwork and pyrogravure.
Pictures and designs were burned into wooden items such as boxes, plaques and trays and were sometimes hand painted, like this beautiful portrait of a Gibson girl. The Gibson girl, the epitome of Edwardian female beauty, was named for the drawings of the illustrator Charles Dana Gibson. She reigned supreme for 20 years, spanning the very late 19th century through the early years of the 1900's, when this pyrography portrait was made.
Measuring 14 inches from top to bottom and 10 3/4 inches across, the oval plaque weighs just over 1/2 pound, so is easily hung anywhere on the metal ring installed on the top edge. It is signed on the lower right front "Esmonde Clark" and on the reverse side "E.M. Clark," both-- naturally--burned into the wood. The woman's dress and the leaves in her hair were hand painted in pale green and the cluster of grapes in pale red. Both the paint and the wood are in like-new condition, preserved for over 100 years for you to enjoy.
Note" The American Belleek tankard in our photos is available here: