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A5122 Hall figure, Mrs Devil (one of a pair), stained and ebonised wood, attributed to Francesco Toso, Venice, Italy, 1875-1890. Click to enlarge.

‘Mrs Devil’ hall figure attributed to Francesco Toso

Made in Italy, Europe, 1875-1890.

This is a carved wood Mephistophelian figure of ‘Mrs 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 in about 1875 - 1890.

Summary

Object No.

A5122

Object Statement

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

Physical Description

Carved pine Mephistophelian figure of a female figure dressed in late 19th century costume standing on a 600mm high stepped octagonal pedestal, the upper section with carved drapery. Figure stand with smiling head looking downwards, the shell inlaid eyes looking upwards. Curling hair with short horns, below a plain cap frame the face, the left arm hangs to her side, the right is bent and raised from the elbow with the hand open and finger and thumb touching, the upper torso carved as a human figure, the lower torso reveals cloven hoofs and curling tail.

Dimensions

Height

1930 mm

Width

600 mm

Depth

600 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 Cullen, P, 1960

Acquisition Date

21 January 1960

Cite this Object

Harvard

'Mrs Devil' hall figure attributed to Francesco Toso 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 11 December 2019, <https://ma.as/182478>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/182478 |title='Mrs 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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