More Decorative Carving: Samuel McIntire’s Fruit Basket

Samuel McIntire is one this country’s most famous wood carvers. The homes in Salem Massachusetts are filled with furniture decorated with his carvings, many buildings feature some decorative carvings of his and, in fact, many of the buildings in and around Salem were designed by him. During the late 18th and early 19th century McIntire carved hundreds, maybe thousands, of ornaments for builders, cabinet makers and government buildings. Perhaps his most famous design is the fruit basket. These were usually carved in shallow relief from thin mahogany and then attached to furniture. I’ve wanted to carve one for years and finally took the time to do it. My carving is about 12″ wide and carved from mahogany. I mounted it to  a piece of maple for contrast and then framed the entire piece with mahogany moldings. A pattern will be available soon.

Some Decorative Carving

I spend a lot of time looking for interesting things to carve. One of my favorite subjects is traditional decorative carving. The acanthus has been one of the most popular motifs for hundreds of years. While searching internet for images of acanthus leaf designs I found a drawing for the carving in the photo below. Instead of the typical relief carving I carved this almost in the round out of basswood and mounted it to a scrap piece of walnut I had. It is about 10″ tall and a full 1 1/2″ thick.