There are quite a number of photographs in the albums at PWDRO that have minimal or no annotations. In some cases, the pieces have been identified but many remain a mystery. The list below includes a brief description and any other information that can be gleaned. No differentiation has been made between religious and secular pieces, as some could fall into either category.

Elephant’s Head – Photograph (PWDRO 116/101); possibly 1917

A photograph showing the head of an elephant wearing a collar is annotated ‘Model for bronze Part of Memorial to the Earl of Mt Ed’. This may refer to William Henry the 4th Earl of Edgcumbe who died in 1917 and was buried in the family vault at Maker church. However, it has been confirmed that no such object appears on the memorial to him in the Edgcumbe chapel (Jack Asquith, Verger, Maker church, pers. comm.), so further investigation is needed to find the whereabouts of this piece.

Crucifixion – Photograph (PWDRO 116/112); date unknown

A crucifixion quite similar to the ones made for Truro Diocesan Training College Chapel, Truro Cathedral and Mithian church, with ‘I.N.R.I.’ on a scroll above the head and the sign of blessing being made by the right hand. In other respects, such as the halo, it is significantly different.

Chest – Photograph (PWDRO 116/115); date unknown

With minimal carved work and large metal hinges and clasp, this chest may have been made for a church but could equally have served a secular purpose.

Running Ornaments (2), Candleholders (2) and Wreath – Photograph (PWDRO 116/117); probably 1952

While two items in this photograph, dated to 1952, have been accounted for, these pieces remain unidentified.

Churchwarden’s Staves (2), Candleholders (2), Altar Cross and Processional Cross – Photograph (PWDRO 116/117); date unknown

A group of smaller items, none of which have been identified, probably made for several different churches.

Boxes (13), Candlesticks (2), Figure on Base and Ink Stand – Photograph (PWDRO 116/120); date unknown

The annotation on this photograph says ‘Group of Turned Boxes’ and may represent experimental work on a lathe over a period of time. It includes other items, also turned, such as the base of a figure and candlesticks. Turning would have been a necessary skill to produce some of the pieces of secular and church furniture shown elsewhere.

Design and Examples of Modelling (2) – Photograph (PWDRO 116/121, 244/4 & 244/5); date unknown

These items appear to have been entries in some sort of competition, for which Violet Pinwill received a silver medal. The low-relief design, depicting the nativity and the symbols of the four evangelists, has clasps on the right hand edge. It is shown on its own in PWDRO 244/4 & 244/5 and the latter is annotated ‘National Competition Silver Medal’ and ‘book cover’. The models are head and shoulders of a woman and a child.

Restoration of Chest – Photograph (PWDRO 116/122); date unknown

A beautiful antique chest restored ‘for America’. It may be a parish chest or possibly a Welsh blanket box. Visible on the lid is an inscription but, frustratingly, the angle is too steep to decipher the words.

Household Furniture – Photograph (PWDRO 116/123); early 1900s

Thirteen items of household furniture, including cupboards, cabinets, tables and chairs. Many of the items are in a rustic style, featuring prominent tenons and pegs. Three pieces, a cupboard and two seats, are identifiable as ones given by Violet Pinwill to her niece (Goldsmiths College Pinwill Archive) but none of the other items have been traced.

Panelling or Cupboard – Photograph (PWDRO 116/123); date unknown

It is impossible to tell whether this photograph is of a piece of panelling or the front of a cupboard, but it is a highly carved piece of work, featuring two sailing ships.

Mirror and Stand – Photograph (PWDRO 116/123); date unknown

This is a beautifully produced piece of work, quite delicate in contrast to the more rustic furniture. There are two attributions, one to R. Pinwill and the other to V. Pinwill, the latter being in the form of a stylised signature impressed into the photograph.

Screen – Photograph (PWDRO 116/123); date unknown

A domestic, rather than a church screen, that features four hinged panels, each with a delicate foliate carving. Again, there are two attributions, one to R. Pinwill and the other to V. Pinwill, the latter being a signature impressed into the photograph.

Kitchen Dresser – Photograph (PWDRO 116/123); date unknown

A small amount of carving graces the lowest shelf on this Kitchen Dresser. There are two attributions, one to R. Pinwill and the other to V. Pinwill, the latter being in the form of a stylised signature impressed into the photograph.

Screen – Photograph (PWDRO 116/123); date unknown

A domestic screen made up of three hinged sections, with surface carvings of green men at the bottom and openwork carving of fruit and roses along the top. There are two attributions, one to R. Pinwill and the other to V. Pinwill, the latter being in the form of a stylised signature impressed into the photograph.

Tables (3), Cupboard and Figure of Child’s Head – Photograph (PWDRO 116/123); date unknown

The photograph shows two small tables and a taller one, with a cupboard, on which is a head and shoulders figure of what appears to be a child. The ‘R’ of R. Pinwill has been changed to a ‘V’.

Writing Bureau – Photograph (PWDRO 116/123); date unknown

On the back of the photograph is written ‘In dark brown (natural) coloured oak, left plain to show fine graining of oak’.

Figure of Jester – Photograph (PWDRO 116/124); date unknown

Cupboard, Litany Desk and Bosses (4) – Photograph (PWDRO 244/1); date unknown

Whether the cupboard was intended for religious or secular purposes, it is grouped with a litany desk and four finely carved rectangular, rather than square, bosses.

Candleholder – Photograph (PWDRO 244/2); date unknown

This small candleholder appears to be entirely gilded.

Celtic Cross and Headstone – Photograph (PWDRO 244/3); 1926

Neither the whereabouts of the churchyard in which this cross and headstone are situated or the identity of the person for whom they were made have been identified. Only the name ‘Marjorie’ and the words ‘died April 9th 1926’ can be deciphered.

Reredos – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

The photograph of this reredos must have been taken in the yard of the workshop, with someone standing behind to hold it up, as their hand can be seen resting on the adjacent wall. It is a rather Baroque-looking reredos and may have been in the workshop for restoration, rather than construction.

Reredos or Panelling – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

The purpose of this item is unclear; it could be a rather plain reredos or decorated panelling.

Panel – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

This carved panel could be for the front of a lectern or a pulpit book rest. It features the Lamb of God in the centre and the symbols of the evangelists in the corners.

Tracery Arch – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

The restoration work shown in this photograph appears to be in wood and is therefore probably from a screen. Confusingly, a small picture of a similar but different tracery arch is pasted on to the corner of the photograph.

Panel – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

The purpose of this finely carved panel of vine leaves and grapes is not known.

Figure of St Martin of Tours – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

St Martin of Tours is shown in bishop’s clothing throwing coins into the cap of a begger at his feet. This is an unusual characterisation of St Martin, who is more often depicted in Roman uniform riding a horse and cutting off part of his cloak to give to the begger. The photograph may well be of a piece mentioned in a newspaper report of an exhibition in June 1900 of wood carving, ancient and modern, held at the Royal Hotel, Plymouth, in which it states that ‘Captain Pinwill sends a very fine carving of St. Martin of Tours and the crippled beggar, supposed to have been taken from a French church during one of our wars’ (Western Morning News, 1900 p. 4). This description would fit with the obvious antiquity of the piece. Captain W.S.C. Pinwill was Violet’s uncle, a brother of her father.

Altar Rails and Gate – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

These ornately carved altar rails include a gate composed of two arched and carved bars.

Chair – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

A Celtic cross and dove adorn this chair, probably destined for a sanctuary.

Credence Table – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

This table features carved brackets to the legs and a Celtic cross at the back.

Credence Table – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

The front bears a Celtic cross and inverted cresting.

Credence Table and Feet (2) – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

This rather plain table is photographed with carved bases or supports for some other object.

Sanctuary Roof – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

The subject of this photograph appears to be the sanctuary roof, which has numerous bosses and other carvings.

Front Rail – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

The only ornamentation on this item is a small piece of work on each of the supports.

Sanctuary Table – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

The carved work on this piece includes an ornate foliate panel on the front.

Frame – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

The carving in this oval mirror frame is of fruit, flowers and foliage.

Frame – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

On this rectangular frame for an oval picture, roundels of natural life in the corners are interspersed with Celtic knotwork.

Frame – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

This beautifully carved piece of work features shells, fish, crabs and seaweed.

Panel – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4 & 244/5); before 1926

The purpose of this panel is not known but it features deeply carved flowers, mostly daffodils, in a naturalistic style. Above the copy in 244/5 is written ‘Specimens fr Captain Pinwill Garden Trehane Cornwall’. This refers to Violet’s uncle William Stackhouse Church Pinwill, who lived at Trehane, near Probus, his mother’s ancestral home, and died in 1926.

Cornices – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4); date unknown

These appear in the same photograph as several pieces of the cornice from Poundstock screen. They are labelled ‘Specimens of Fumed Oak/Carved Cornices/(centre length waxed)’ and may not have been intended for use but perhaps photographed to show the effects of fumigating new oak to darken the colour, in contrast to the pieces for Poundstock, which are light in colour.

Boss – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

There are not many bosses illustrated in the albums at PWDRO, although many must have been produced. This one, of a dove with wings outstretched, may have been for any number of projects, perhaps in a roof or on a screen.

Litany Desk – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

This is a beautifully carved, striking item. The sides are topped with semi-kneeling angels, one with a thurible and the other praying. Among Pinwill angels, they are distinctive, in that they wear halos, and are very similar to the ones on riddel posts at Calstock, Cornwall.

Font Cover – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

The photograph shows a font cover of a slightly unusual design for the Pinwill company.

Font Cover – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

This is a rather indistinct photograph, although the cover seems to be rather ornate.

Borders and Cresting – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

These pieces have not been identified as belonging to any particular work.

Panel – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

This elaborate panel could be for the front of a lectern. It is beautifully designed and carved, with a border of vines around openwork with a central passion flower.

Aumbry – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

Beneath a crocketed canopy is a hinged door, which suggests this item was designed as an aumbry.

Panel – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

This is similar to another panel featuring daffodils that is found in both 244/4 and 244/5.

Griffin Head – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

One of the more unusual items that may have military significance, as it is set within a crown. There is a roughness to some of the finish that suggests it is probably a model, rather than a finished piece.

Border – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

Two short pieces of beautifully carved openwork; one, featuring birds, is from the reredos at Ermington, but the other, with a floral motif, remains unidentified.

Candle Holder – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

The candle holder is one of three pieces in this photograph; the other items, a lectern and a riddel post, have been identified.

Figure of an Angel – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

A rather sad-looking angel is playing a lyre. It appears as if it may be carved from stone.

Cradle – Photographs (PWDRO 244/5); date unknown

Chaytor (1990) describes an Elizabethan cradle on rockers made for an officer in the Royal Navy. This cradle is not on rockers, although it could be said to be in an Elizabethan style. On the back panel there is a crest and coat of arms, beneath which is the motto ‘Sola Nobilitas Vurtus’ (virtue alone ennobles). The bearings are those of the Hamilton family of Trebinshun House, Breconshire, but no connection with Plymouth has yet been established.

List of Winners Tablet – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); after 1911

This rather grand tablet is carved with the words ‘The Governors’ Silver Medal’ and ‘List of Winners’ along the top and on the tablet is a list of dates (1896 to 1911) and names. Many of these names (WGB Shinner, BJ Lloyd-Evans, JL Roe, FS Stoyle and PW Condy) tie in with boys born in the Totnes/Torquay area (1901 and 1911 censuses), so the tablet may have been for a school in that vicinity.

Celtic Chair – Photograph (PWDRO 244/6); date unknown

This photograph shows a highly carved, high-back chair. Almost every surface has been carved with symbols, knotwork, birds and animals. Set into the back is a Celtic cross, which suggests the piece was perhaps intended as a sanctuary chair for a Cornish church. Yet it transpires that the origins of the design derive from much further afield. A chance sighting of an item in the Glencairn Museum, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, USA, led to the discovery that the chair is based on a Norwegian twelfth century woodcarving known as the Tyldal chair ( This was rediscovered in the late nineteenth century in a church in the village of Tyldal and now resides in the Kulturhistorisk Museum in Oslo. In the 1920s, three copies were made of the chair for Bryn Athyn Cathedral, the prototype of which is now in the Glencairn Museum. The production of these copies was made possible through the publication of ‘Early Scandinavian Wood-Carvings’ by J. Romilly Allen, published in 1897 in The Studio, a London-based Arts & Crafts magazine, which included detailed photographs of all four sides of the chair. It is entirely possible that one or some of the Pinwill sisters also decided to undertake the challenge of reproducing the Tyldal chair in the same way and had a small mounted photograph made of the result, perhaps as a stunning advertisement for the skills of company. Unfortunately, the present whereabouts of the Pinwill Tyldal chair is unknown.

Table and Chairs (3) – Photograph (PWDRO 244/6); probably early 1900s

Two of these chairs are quite small and were probably intended for children. All three items are in the rustic style of furniture that Violet Pinwill is known to have produced in the early 1900s for members of her family.