Silent Companion: Standing Figure of a Boy holding a Letter (dummy board)
This wooden painted figure standing alone shows a boy holding an alphabet board without the letters ‘J’ or ‘U’ or ‘W’. It looks as if the figure has been cut out of a provincial Spanish portrait of about 1600 and then mounted on an ebonised wood base. These type of pictures are not really paintings but form part of the furniture, called dummy boards or ‘silent companions’, as Vita Sackville-West called them. They were usually found in entrance halls of houses, as greeters, or in front of fireplaces and acted as firescreens.
Oil painting on canvas laid down on wood, Silent Companion: Standing Figure of a Boy holding a Letter (dummy board), Spanish School, circa 1600. One of a pair of dummy board figures, collectively known as ' Silent Companions', representing a Boy. The figure presumably cut out of a provincial Spanish portrait of about 1600, mounted on ebonised wood base.
This item forms part of the original Drewe family collection at Castle Drogo. It was transferred to the National Trust in 2008.
Marks and inscriptions
Makers and roles
Spanish School, artist