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Drawing - The Carpenter Planing Wood on a Bench
  • The Carpenter Planing Wood on a Bench
    Brandt, Rolf, born 1906 - died 1986
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The Carpenter Planing Wood on a Bench

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1945 (made)
    1945 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Brandt, Rolf, born 1906 - died 1986 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache on paper, on card support

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the artist's children

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case WD, shelf 215, box C

Although he trained as an actor, Rolf Brandt enjoyed drawing and making collages. In his native Germany he developed an interest in Dada and Surrealism and in Bauhaus artists such as Paul Klee. He moved to London from Hamburg in the early 1930s with his brother Bill (1904–83), who became famous as a photographer.

This is one of nine illustrations that Brandt made for the children’s book The Story of a Tree by Stephen McFarlane. Charting the passage of a tree from forest to sawmill to carpenter’s workshop to toyshop, the images are a charming example of illustration for children at the end of the Second World War. Brandt’s interest in Surrealism is evident in some of the illustrations, especially the cover page, where the trees take on the forms of furniture and toys.

Physical description

Gouache painting on thick paper pasted to brown cardboard support which has residual glue marks etc. Image is of a workshop with a man in a cap and white apron ( as in previous illustration) planing wood at a bench. To the left, on the wall at the back of the shop, hangs a picture of the man, in a bowler hat and suit and a big blue saw is propped against the wall. To the right, against the wall, are stacked three planks of timber. In the forground on the floor are three drawings, one of a rocking horse, one of two chairs, the thrid not fully visible. Tissue paper cover-sheet attached by sellotape to back.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1945 (made)
1945 (published)


Brandt, Rolf, born 1906 - died 1986 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Gouache on paper, on card support

Marks and inscriptions

'The Story Of A Tree / No 6 / R.A.Brandt.'
Inscribed in black ink on the back

'39 Belsize Pk Gdns NW3..'
Inscribed in purple crayon below the title, number and artist's name

'The story of a tree 2.6'
Inscribed in pencil just below the address


Height: 36.7 cm, Width: 43.2 cm

Descriptive line

Gouache drawing: illustration no 6 from a set of 9 for 'The Story of A Tree' by Stephen McFarlane

Production Note

This is the design for the sixth illustration for the children's book 'The Story Of A Tree' by Stephen McFarlane.(the first is for the cover). The eight other designs for illustrations are also in the collection. At the time of acquisition the designs were in a wrapper labelled with the titles of the nine drawings. It was not clear if these had been assigned by artist, publisher or artist's family.


Paper; Card; Gouache



Subjects depicted

Labour; Carpenter; Trees; Sawmill; Animals


Children & Childhood; Drawings; Illustration; Paintings

Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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