E-Museum of Pyrographic Art

Antique Art Hall


to the
I. W. Wells
Salon No. 1

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Wait A Wee
By I. W. Wells, 1876

Pokerwork on unframed wood panel,
inside frame 10 in. tall by 8 in. wide

Image thanks to the owner

Wait A Wee, verso, detail
By I. W. Wells, 1876

Inscription, verso, reads:
Burnt for Mr. Jno. Williamson
Avondale.Augt. 76. By I.W.Wells
Note that the artist's name could easily be interpreted as J. W. Wells rather than I. W. Wells because of the calligraphic style. However, the same is true of the signature shown for this artist in his inscription on the 1866 panel in the Pinto Collection of the Birmingham Museum in the U.K.

Pokerwork on unframed wood panel,
10 in. tall by 8 in. wide

Image thanks to the owner

Wait A Wee, detail
By I. W. Wells, 1876

Pokerwork on unframed wood panel,
inside frame 10 in. tall by 8 in. wide

Image thanks to the owner

A great deal of mystery surrounds this unusual panel by I. W. Wells, which is dated August 1876. On it is inscribed the name of the recipient, written almost as though in italics to distinguish it from the rest of that inscription, which is done in a distinctive backhanded script with elaborate flourishes. The city where it was either made or that of the recipient, or both, is inscribed as "Avondale." However, since that name was not further qualified, it is unknown whether it is from Avondale in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, U.S.A., where it was purchased many years ago by the owner's mother, or, quite probably, Avondale in England, in the country of the artist, whose only other known work—should he, in fact, be one and the same artist, as is believed—is called "Waiting for the Plough," and exhibited in the famous Pinto Collection in Birmingham, England. If this is the case, the panel displayed here, which now resides in the private collection of Philip C. Scott in Vermont, U.S.A., is very rare indeed: it is the only known work outside of the one panel in the museum.

A picture of Wells' work can be seen in the companion book that was written by Edward and Eva Pinto, the original owners of that work and of about 19 others that were acquired by the Birmingham Museums and today form the Pinto Collection there. Four works in pyrography are on display at the web site of the Pinto Collection in Birmingham, England, but not their work by I. W. Wells.

Susan Millis, who is studying for an advanced degree in the conservation and restoration of pyrographic works, has studied at length and under magnification the works in the Pinto Collection. She is encouraged that the 1876 Wells work "Wait A Wee" displayed here could well be by the same artist who did the 1866 panel "Waiting for the Plough" that is in England. Notes on that important collection, including on I. W. Wells, were given by Susan Millis in an interview for Pyrograffiti at the link here.

Philip Scott, the owner of the panel, retired in 1993 after 40 years of teaching, mainly in Pennsylvania. By avocation he is a woodcarver who himself uses wood burning for detailing his carved works. He knows little of the provenance of the panel "Wait A Wee" displayed here—only that he inherited this work from his mother, a collector of antiques, who bought the panel back in the 1940's at Di Giacomo's Antiques shop in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

NEWSFLASH! July 2010: Three more works by I. W. Wells have been discovered since the one entitled "Wait a Wee" was exhibited here in the E-Museum. The only one that has been added to the E-Museum is the one entitled The Deadly Combat. Two others, for which we do not yet have images, are entitled "Suspense," which also dates from 1876 like the one displayed here, and another entitled "Panic Struck at his own shadow." Thanks to the artist's noting not only the date but the place as 'Avondale, Penn.' on the panel "Suspense," it has now been clarified that the first one, "Wait a Wee," which is displayed here, originated in Avondale, Pennsylvania, not Avondale, England.

If you have either any questions or any additional information to offer about I. W. Wells or this panel by him, please e-mail Philip Scott and the E-Museum Curator.

You are leaving the
I. W. Wells Salon No. 1

You can visit all of these I.W. Wells Salons, as well:

I. W. Wells Salon No. 2,

I. W. Wells Salon No. 3,

I. W. Wells Salon No. 4,

I. W. Wells Salon No. 5,

I. W. Wells Salon No. 6,

I. W. Wells Salon No. 7,

I. W. Wells Salon No. 8,

the Antique Hall

or visit one of the following:

Contemporary Pyrographic Art Exhibit Halls:

Portraits and Paintings

Decorative and Applied Art


Traditional and Folk Art

Children's Pyrographic Art

Special Pyrographic Art

The Book Store and E-Museum Library

Pyrography Tools and Techniques

Your questions and comments are welcome and appreciated.
Please e-mail the E-Museum Curator

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© 2009, 2010, 2015 Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.
25 May 2009. Updated 8 July 2010. Last updated 5 February 2015.