Yorkshire Critter Carvers: New exhibition celebrates work of craftsmen inspired by Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson

Tennants of Leyburn are to hold a month-long exhibition on the work of the 'Yorkshire critters' group of wood carvers.

These Yorkshire oak furniture makers were active from the 1940s onwards and were inspired by 'Mouseman' craftsman Robert Thompson, with many having trained in his Kilburn workshop before setting up their own and adopting a different animal motif carved into their designs.

In some cases, the trademark died with the craftsmen when they retired or passed away, but in other cases family members have continued the business. Almost all of their workshops were or are located in Yorkshire.

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Tennants regularly sees huge interest in Mouseman and other Yorkshire oak pieces at its auctions, and the exhibition will be the first ever held celebrating the 'critters'. Some items will then go on sale after it ends in mid-June.

A carved oak bowl with a tortoise trademark used by Robert 'Wrenman' Hunter before he switched to a wren

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Over 40 'critter' creators were part of the informal group and they used the same traditional materials and techniques as Thompson.

Archive material is included in the displays and family collections and brands such as Squirrel Crafts and Beaver Lodge have loaned pieces.

The exhibition is now open.

A carved oak 'Eagleman' gavel

Who were the Yorkshire Critter Carvers?

Acornman - Alan Grainger (taken over by son George)

Beaverman - Colin Almack

Catman - Chris Checksfield

A Beaverman piece

Cat and Mouseman - Lyndon Hammell

Dolphinman - Peter Daynes

Eagleman - Albert Jeffray

Fishman - Derek Slater

Pieces from over 40 wood carvers represented in the exhibition

Foxman - Malcolm Piper

Gnomeman - Tom Whittaker

Grasshopperman - John Minikin

Hedgehogman - Nick Hill

Knightman - Knight family

Labradorman - Richard Collinson

Most of the 'critter' group trained at the Mouseman workshop in Kilburn

Lizardman - Martin Dutton/Derek Slater

Oakleafman - David Langstaff

Owlman - Albert Harrison

Rabbitman - Peter Heap

Ramman - Terry Harrington

Salmonman - Brian Bowes

Seahorseman - Michael Riley

Snailman - Alan Summerscales

Squirrelman - Wilfred Hutchinson

Swanman - Graham Duncalf

Unicornman - Geoff Gell

Woodpeckerman - Stan Dodds

Woodwormman - Nigel Dixon

Wrenman - Robert Hunter

Yorkshire oak furniture is very popular at auction