Since the 17th century animal shapes have greatly influenced European furniture design. The ancient Egyptians and Chinese were inspired by animal forms. Dutch and Portuguese explorers brought back examples of chairs and other animistic furniture from China, and these had an enormous impact on European furniture design, reaching an apogee in the following century with the designs of Thomas Chippendale, famously the ball and claw cabriole leg, and, derivatively, the volutes of clock bonnets. A customer of London Joiners, Mrs. Appleby, gave Willy Maliszewski the whale bone scrimshaw of a Sperm Whale, which looks rather like Moby Dick. Parts of its volute shapes have been used as a template for French-curves.
The next photo is of a steel “dolphin” design template, once the property of cabinetmaker Walter E. Askew (born 1850, York, England).
The third photo shows its use in how the volute on a new clock bonnet was made in London Joiners shop.