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Walking cane

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1919 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Partridge wood with quartz

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Mrs Joyce Margaret Hole

  • Museum number:

    T.60-1987

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 3

Object Type
Walking sticks came in a variety of styles and exotic materials. This example is made of partridgewood, a hard red wood with darker parallel stripes, which was much used in cabinet-making. It came from the West Indies. The knob is of tiger's eye, a yellowish brown quartz with a brilliant lustre used as a gem. This gives the stick a very elegant appearance.

Trading
Industrialisation and mass manufacturing in the 19th century meant that walking sticks were produced in large quantities. Millions of canes were imported from the Far East and shops that specialised in walking sticks and umbrellas flourished.

Materials & Making
The knobs and handles of walking sticks were made of a wide range of materials, from silver and ivory to porcelain and quartz. They were often carved or cast in the form of animals, birds, skulls and even naked women. The shafts were often made from malacca, although glass, hippopotamus, horn and snakeskin were sometimes used.

Time
After about 1920 the walking stick began to disappear as a fashion accessory. It was largely replaced by the umbrella. Today walking sticks are primarily regarded as orthopaedic aids and supports for the elderly.

Physical description

Walking cane of partridge wood with a tiger's eye quartz knob. Gold top.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1919 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Partridge wood with quartz

Marks and inscriptions

Hall mark for 1919

Dimensions

Height: 92 cm

Object history note

Registered File number 1987/136.

Descriptive line

Walking cane of partridge wood with a quartz knob, Great Britain, 1919

Labels and date

British Galleries:
WALKING STICKS

Walking sticks were not just used for support but were an essential element of fashionable dress, giving a man an elegant air. He could swagger and swing his cane in line with his step, or use it to strike an alluring pose. These sticks were made in a huge variety of styles and materials, often to display the wealth of their owner. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Partridge-wood; Quartz

Categories

Accessories; Men's clothes; Woodwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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