A horse vertebra bone naively painted to resemble a Methodist preacher. Most likely representing either the movement's founding figure John Wesley (1703–91) or George Whitefield (1714–70), another well-known Methodist leader.
The enthusiastic style, and radical politics of Methodist preachers like Wesley and Whitefield attracted much satirical comment during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and so the painting of these 'found objects' as animal bones was a popular pastime amongst ordinary working people.
This example has a beautiful folk art simplicity to it, and has acquired a lovely patina over years of being handled.
Antique folk art Wesley bone
Early 19th century
Dimensions (h x w x d)
12 x 12 x 11cm