A Midsummer’s Bench

Oh, I want a bench for my garden! With a few cushions and wrapped in three layers of  mosquito netting I would be happy on this bench. It is the form known as a vendebenk and was made in Norway by Olaus Engelstrup.

The center carving of a daisy and foliage is framed by carved script (with the back flipped over the writing on the bottom is now right-side up). The carving was done on panels pieced together, not on one long board. The ornamentation on the bench edge and stretchers can also now be seen.

Olaus used the turning top of the vendebenk to full advantage. Along the top edge of the back is a boar hunting scene with more foliage at the bottom edge.

The top script for anyone interested in translating the Latin.

The script along the bottom edge (spliced together). Click on the image for a closer view.

Chaucer was enamored with the daisy, a flower that is open during the day (“eye of the day”) and closes at night. Like Chaucer, I don’t have words “suffisaunt this floure (or bench) to praise aright.”

Several months ago Klaus Skrudland sent me the link that led to finding this bench. Thanks, Klaus!

All photos are from the Norsk Folkmuseum.

You can read about some French, German and Swedish versions of the vendebenk  here.

Suzanne Ellison

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4 Responses to A Midsummer’s Bench

  1. Klaus N. Skrudland says:

    The pleasure is all mine, Suzanne!

  2. Klaus N. Skrudland says:

    Digitalt Museum, which indexes and displays photos from hundreds of museum exhibitions and old books from all over Scandinavia, is an amazing resource for researching old furniture, tools and so on. For those interested, you can access the the database here https://digitaltmuseum.no/
    Some information is in English, however most objects are tagged with their Norwegian names.

    And Norsk Folkemuseum, which Suzanne mentiones, is Norway’s largest museum of cultural history and also provide information in English: https://norskfolkemuseum.no/en

    A lot of their exhibitions are indexed and displayed through Digitalt Museum, mentioned above.

    Thanks again, Suzanne, for bringing this out to the people!

    • saucyindexer says:

      Klaus, thank you for putting up the links. There is a wonderland to be explored in Digitalt Museum!

  3. SSteve says:

    I had no idea “daisy” was a corruption of “day’s eye.” I love etymological surprises like that!

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