A rare Queen Anne nutcracker at Elstob & Elstob.

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Screw-action nutcrackers, typically carved in boxwood or fruitwood, were popular throughout much of the 17th century, but were superseded at the end of the Stuart period by those based on the lever principle.

Many, such as this rare Queen Anne example offered at Elstob & Elstob (22% buyer’s premium) in Ripon on April 14, were carved as animals and figures.

As with many of the most desirable treen works of art, this piece is both named and dated, adding a sense of time and place to form and patination.

To the side is the name of the owner William Chapman (nutcrackers were often given as love tokens to mark an engagement or marriage) and to the front the date 1704.

Guided at £1500-2500, it took £6000.