Whole-wheat border

A deceptively simple harvest board with a continuous border of stylised wheat ears, the small dots being both decorative and functional as they provide essential reference points for the carver to maintain an even pattern and ensure a seamless join. The skill of carving in the round on a curved surface cannot be over-emphasised, and the collection contains several charming examples of more amateur attempts which have resulted in patterns toppling, bulging and bunching.


Jewish Challah Breadboard


A Jewish Challah board consisting of a silver-plated tray and cherry or olive wood insert, the lower Hebrew translating as ‘Jerusalem’ and the inscription along the top as: ‘Who brings forth bread from the earth’ (ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz) words which are part of the standard prayer said over bread: ‘Blessed are You, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth’ (baruch ata adonai, eloheinu melech ha-olam, ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz).

1900s, 12”. It is accompanied by a knife.

Translation courtesy of Ernest Rubinstein.

Happy Hollydays!


A rare holly breadboard with delicately carved berries, wheat and barley ears, perfect for gracing the Christmas dinner table. Noticeable is the luxurious deep patina and numerous knife marks on the under-side, either to spare the carving or while doubling as a kitchen chopping board.

1800s, Sycamore, 13″

Winchester upcycles Norman timber

Taken from the collection of The Antique Breadboard Museum, Putney:

A lacquered board with “Manners makyth man”, the motto of New College Oxford (1379), Winchester College (1382) and William of Wykeham (1324-1404), Bishop of Winchester (1366-1404), who founded them. The border is topped by the personal coat of arms of William of Wykeham amid lush acanthus leaves, which both establishments share.

Winchester College describes it thus: ‘argent two chevrons sable between three roses gules seeded or, barbed vert.’ The central silver inlay depicts a hircocervus, a mythical beast with Greek origins, which John Hoskins adapted to depict the many virtues of a perfect servant in 1579. It was located outside the kitchens of Winchester College. A verse accompanied the wall-painting translated from the Latin:

A trusty servant’s picture would you see,
This figure well survey, who’ever you be.
The porker’s snout not nice in diet shows;
The padlock shut, no secret he’ll disclose;
Patient, to angry lords the ass gives ear;
Swiftness on errand, the stag’s feet declare;
Laden his left hand, apt to labour saith;
The coat his neatness; the open hand his faith;
Girt with his sword, his shield upon his arm,
Himself and master he’ll protect from harm.
(Howard Staunton, The Great Schools of England (Shrahan, 1869)

Oak, 12″, Sheffield, 1907

Monogrammed Wedding Gift

Taken from the collection of The Antique Breadboard Museum, Putney:

A charming wedding board, possibly by an amateur, with the initials JES carved in gothic lettering in the central shield, on a basket-weave background, the border carved with plump wheat ears and chunky roses.

Sycamore, 11″, 1800s