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A5121 Hall figure, Mr Devil (one of a pair), stained and ebonised wood, attributed to Francesco Toso, Venice, Italy, 1875-1890. Click to enlarge.

‘Mr Devil’ hall figure attributed to Francesco Toso

Made in Italy, Europe, 1875-1890.

This is a carved wood Mephistophelian figure of ‘Mr Devil’ in the form of a hall stand. The carving is one of a pair which once graced the front hall of the St Kilda mansion, Charmwood, in Melbourne, owned by Mr Alfred David Hart, the donor’s grandfather. Mr Devil’s outstretched hand shows that he originally held a tray for calling cards. The ‘Mr and Mrs Devil’ figures are attributed to Francesco Toso and were made in Italy 1875 - 1890.

Summary

Object No.

A5121

Object Statement

Hall figure, Mr Devil (one of a pair), stained and ebonised wood, attributed to Francesco Toso, Venice, Italy, 1875-1890

Physical Description

Carved pine wood Mephistophelian figure of a bearded male with curly hair, horns, pointed ears and 'goatee' beard. Upper torso dressed in 19th century costume, the lower body carved to ressemble hairy goat like legs, with cloven hoofs and a long curving tail, the whole standing on a 600mm high octagonal stepped pedestal, the upper section with carved drapery. Figure stands with smiling head looking downwards, left hand in the coat pocket, the right extended from the elbow, palm upwards to hold a platter or 'driedal' for visiting cards. Dressed in a long shirt tailed coat with waistcoat, lace neck ruffle and standing collar.

Dimensions

Height

1880 mm

Width

540 mm

Depth

540 mm

Production

Made

Italy, Europe 1875-1890

History

Notes

Purchased by A D Hart 'at some sale' prior to 1920s. Hart a tobacco merchant and first Chairman of British Australian Tobacca Co. He was born in Adelaide in 1850 and died in Melbourne in 1927. These figures were kept in the front hall of his home 'Charnwood', Charnwood Road, St Kilda, Melbourne. A D Hart's daughter, Elma married Samuel Cohen and apparently inherited the figures because they ended up in the Cohen residence at 89 Ocean Street Woollahra in the 1940s. The donor, Mr Cullen was the son of the Cohens and changed his name to Cullen during the war.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Mr P Gullen, 1960

Acquisition Date

21 January 1960

Cite this Object

Harvard

'Mr Devil' hall figure attributed to Francesco Toso 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 11 December 2019, <https://ma.as/182477>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/182477 |title='Mr Devil' hall figure attributed to Francesco Toso |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=11 December 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Collection Gallery 6 at the Museums Discovery Centre.

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