Now that’s a proper castle. Members may be interested in the next forthcoming tour from Wessex Fine Art Study Courses in June 2022, organised by Barbara Peacock. Led by Dr David Jones, the tour will be based in Aberdeenshire and Moray.
A taster of the architectural delights:
Foremost must be the great concentration of romantic turreted tower houses, dating from mediaeval times to the 16th century and known for their excitingly varied silhouettes and their rich Renaissance plasterwork and painted ceilings. Such are Crathes, Craigievar, Fyvie and Monymusk, built by the great Scottish lairds of the period. The tower theme continues into the early 18th-century with the dramatic Baroque splendour of William Adam’s Duff House, and in the 19th century is revived in the castellated Gothic of Gillespie Graham’s Drumtochty Castle and Archibald Simpson’s superbly sited Castle Forbes. By contrast, William Adam’s Haddo House (1732) is a restrained classical Palladian country house, with Adam Revival interiors furnished by the important Victorian firm of Wright and Mansfield.
Members may be interested to know that a large collection of Victor Chinnery’s books are about to be sold at auction on 11 August 2021 at Dominic Winter Auctions.
Jan Chinnery writes that the lots include “various oak catalogues and booklets such as Yorkshire Churches by Anthony Wells Coles. There are Victor’s personal catalogues of most of the major oak sales, including Littlecott, Rooksnest, Rous Lench etc; hardback copies of most of the major oak books as well as many books on American, Welsh and Irish furniture. There are two copies of Toby Jellinek’s book, I seem to remember there was a member of the society that had been looking for a copy. Also books on treen, pottery, wallpapers etc.”
Lot 193 includes: Jellinek (Tobias). Early British Chairs And Seats 1500 To 1700, 1st edition, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 2009 (2 copies), numerous colour illustrations, original cloth in dust wrapper, large 4to, together with: White (George). English Lantern Clocks, 1st edition, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1989, numerous colour and black & white illustrations, original blue cloth gilt in dust wrapper, large 4to, plus: Lanmon (Dwight P.). The Golden Age of English Glass 1650-1775, Antique Collectors’ Club, 2011, numerous colour and monochrome illustrations, original black cloth gilt in dust wrapper, 4to, and other Antique Collectors’ Club publications Victor Chinnery, Oak Furniture, The British Tradition, 1979, (the author’s personal copy, inscribed by him to title and dated 1st July 1986), Charles Tracy, Continental Church Furniture In England, A Traffic In Piety, 2001, Adam Bowett, English Furniture 1660-1714, From Charles II to Queen Anne, 2002, David Knell, English Country Furniture The Vernacular Tradition 1500-1900, 2nd edition, 2000, and Ellis Waterhouse, The Dictionary of 16th & 17th Century British Painters, 1988), all original cloth in dust wrappers, 4to, generally VG Provenance: Ex libris Victor Chinnery, author of Oak Furniture, The British Tradition, 1979, and other works.
Lot 316: Grigsby (Leslie B.). The Longridge Collection of English Slipware and Delftware, with contributions by Michael Archer, etc., 2 volumes, Jonathan Horne Publications, 2000, numerous colour illustrations, original brown cloth in dust wrappers, with publisher’s cloth slipcase, 4to, VG, together with: Lipski (Louis L.), Dated English Delftware, Tin-glazed Earthenware 1600-1800, edited and augmented by Michael Archer, 1st edition, Sotheby, 1984, some colour plates, numerous monochrome illustrations, original dark blue cloth gilt in dust wrapper, 4to, limited edition 716/1000, additionally signed by Victor Chinnery and dated 1984 to title, plus: Archer (Michael). Delftware, The Tin-glazed Earthenware of the British Isles, A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1st edition, V&A Museum/Stationery Office, 1997, numerous colour and monochrome illustrations, original blue cloth gilt in dust wrapper, with matching slipcase, thick 4to, and: Gaimster (David). German Stoneware 1200-1900, Archaeology and Cultural History, British Museum, 1997, numerous colour and monochrome illustrations, original black cloth gilt in dust wrapper, 4to, plus other ceramics reference, including Ronald G. Cooper, English Slipware Dishes 1650-1850, Alec Tiranti, 1968, Leonard N. Amico, Bernard Palissy, In Search of Earthly Paradise, Flammarion, 1996, Frank Britton, London Delftware, Jonathan Horn, 1987, David Gaimster and Mark Redknap, editors, Everyday and Exotic Pottery from Europe c. 650-1900, Studies in honour of John G. Hurst, Oxbow Books, 1992, John G. Hurst, David S. Neal, & H.J.E. Van Beuningen, Pottery Produced and Traded in North-west Europe 1350-1650 (Rotterdam Papers VI), 1986, related auction catalogues, including The Longridge Collection, 6 volumes, Christie’s, 2010-11, etc. (approximately 30) Provenance: Ex libris Victor Chinnery, author of Oak Furniture, The British Tradition, 1979, and other works.
Lot 363: Cheetham (Francis). English Medieval Alabasters, with a catalogue of the collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1st edition, Oxford, Phaidon/Christie’s, 1984, some colour and numerous monochrome illustrations, original cloth gilt in dust wrapper, 4to, VG, together with: Tracy (Charles). English Gothic Choir-Stalls 1200-1400, 1st edition, Boydell Press, 1987, monochrome illustrations, original brown cloth gilt in dust wrapper, 4to, plus: Jervis (Simon Swynfen). British and Irish Inventories, A List and Bibliography of Published Transcriptions of Secular Inventories, 1st edition, Furniture History Society, 2010, original maroon cloth gilt in dust wrapper, 8vo, VG, and: Chinnery (Victor). Oak Furniture, The British Tradition, 1st edition, reprinted Antique Collectors’ Club, 1986, some colour and numerous monochrome illustrations, original brown cloth gilt in frayed and torn dust wrapper, with some loss, 4to, plus other furniture and art reference and related, including Pride and Joy, Children’s Portraits in the Netherlands 1500-1700, edited by Jan Baptist Bedaux & Rudi Ekkart, Amsterdam, 2000, Marta Ajmar-Wollheim and Flora Dennis (editors), At Home in Renaissance Italy, 1st edition, V&A Publications, 2006, Frances Gruber Safford, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I. Early Colonial Period, The Seventeenth-Century and Wiliam and Mary Styles, New York, 2007, Francis Haskell & Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique, Yale University Press, 1981, Thomas Crispin, The English Windsor Chair, 1st edition, Alan Sutton, 1992, etc., including related auction catalogues, all 20th century publications, 4to/8vo (approximately 100 volumes) Provenance: Ex libris Victor Chinnery, author of Oak Furniture, The British Tradition, 1979, and other works.
Lot 362: Bebb (Richard). Welsh Furniture 1250-1950 A Cultural History of Craftsmanship and Design, 2 volumes, 1st edition, 2007, numerous colour & monochrome illustrations, inscribed by the author to Victor Chinnery to front endpaper ‘To Vic with best wishes Richard Bebb, July 2007’, original brown cloth gilt in dust jackets, with slipcase, 4to, VG, together with: Shaw (Henry). Specimens of Ancient Furniture drawn from existing authorities, with descriptions by Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, 1st edition, London: William Pickering, 1836, 74 engraved plates, a few minor marks, bookplate of Fitz Patrick of Grantstown Manor, Queen’s County to front pastedown, original blue-green cloth, with title label to spine, some marks, 4to, plus: Forman (Benno M.). American Seating Furniture 1630-1830, An Interpretive Catalogue, New York, 1988, numerous monochrome plates and illustrations, original dark blue cloth gilt in dust wrapper, 4to, and other furniture reference and related, including Robert Ashley, The Rushlight and Related Holders, A Regional View, Ashley Publications, 2001, (inscribed by the author to Victor Chinnery to title), Claudia Kinmonth, Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950, Yale University Press, 1993, (signed by the author to title), Victor Chinnery, Names for Things, a description of household stuff, furniture and interiors 1500-1700, edited by Jan Chinnery, 2016, Charles Hasler, The Royal Arms, Its Graphic and Decorative Development, 1980, Richard Suggett, Houses & History in the March of Wales, Radnorshire 1400-1800 (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales), reprinted 2006, Eurwyn Wiliam, The Welsh Cottage, Building Traditions of the Rural Poor, 1750-1900 (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales), 2010, P. Smith, Houses of the Welsh Countryside, 2nd enlarged edition, HMSO, 1988, Wiltshire Records Society, Marlborough Probate Invetories 1591-1775, 2007, Robert Tarule, The Artisan of Ipswich, Craftsmanship and Community in Colonial New England, 2004 (author’s presentation copy to Victor Chinnery), Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, West Country Households 1500-1700, edited by John Allan, Nat Alcock and David Dawson, Boydell Press, 2015, Medieval Ireland, The Barryscourt Lectures I-X, 2004, Percy Macquoid, A History of English Furniture, 4 volumes, etc., 4to/8vo (approximately 80 volumes) Provenance: Ex libris Victor Chinnery, author of Oak Furniture, The British Tradition, 1979, and other works.
Lot 365: Croft-Murray (Edward). Decorative Painting in England 1537-1837, volume I, Early Tudor to Sir James Thornhill, 1st edition, Country Life, 1962, monochrome plates, original orange-red cloth gilt in dust wrapper, price-clipped, large 4to, together with: Harris (John). The Artist and the Country House, A History of Country House and Garden View Painting in Britain 1540-1870, 1st edition, Sotheby, 1979, some colour and numerous monochrome plates and illustrations, original green cloth gilt in dust wrapper, large square 4to, plus: Starkey (David, editor). The Inventory of King Henry VIII, Society of Antiquaries MS 129 and British Library MS Harley 1419, 1st edition, Harvey Miller Publishers for The Society of Antiquaries of London, 1998, original maroon cloth gilt in dust wrapper, 4to, and: Worsley (Giles). Inigo Jones and the European Classicist Tradition, Yale University Press, 2007, colour & monochrome illustrations, original cloth in dust wrapper, 4to, plus others related on English architecture, country houses, interiors, etc., including John Cornforth, The Search for a Style, Country Life and Architecture 1897-1935, 1st edition, 1988, Anthony Wells-Cole, Art and Decoration in Elizabethan and Jacobean England, The Influence of Continental Prints 1558-1625, Yale University Press, 1997, etc., mostly original cloth, many in dust wrappers, 4to/8vo (approximately 75 volumes) Barryscourt Trust, Medieval Ireland, The Barryscourt Lectures I-X, 1st edition, Co Cork, 2004, colour & monochrome illustrations, original cloth in dust jacket, 8vo, plus other decorative art & interiors reference including publications by Yale, Antique Collectors’ Club, Cornell University Press, V&A, H.M.S.O., many original cloth in dust jackets, some paperback editions, G/VG, 8vo/folio Provenance: Ex libris Victor Chinnery, author of Oak Furniture, The British Tradition, 1979, and other works.
I have prepared a hyperlinked index for each of the Society’s lectures on the RFS YouTube channel. It enables the user to go to straight to any given element without having to guess where in each talk any particular segment happened to fall. I hope users may find it useful. The contents of each video’s index may also be found in each RFS YouTube video’s ‘Description’ field which appears below the title of each talk. Click on ‘SHOW MORE’ to make the hyperlinks visible there.
18th Century Windsor Chairs – Early Types & New Discoveries in Lincolnshire 07 February 2021 talk
Speaker: Julian Parker – 1:36 Regional Furniture Society – 4:08 anatomy of Windsor chairs – 4:46 bow back Windsor chairs – 6:38 comb back Windsor chairs – 11:51 Jacques Rigaud – 14:21 V&A type comb back – 18:07 Mark Haworth-Booth – Sir Roger and Lady Bradshaigh at Haigh Hall – Jonathan Richardson – 20:03 (and 28:54) Nancy Goyne Evans – Joseph Highmore – 21:07 Georg Lisiewski – Das Tabakscollegium – Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia (and 23:53) – George I – George II – 22:25 Königs Wusterhausen – 22:58 Jagdschloss Stern – 24:40 Christopher Gilbert – Arthur Devis – 24:56 Thomas Crispin – Edward Haytley – 26:08 Michael Harding Hill – 26:20 Rodney Griffiths – 27:22 Samuel Richardson by Joseph Highmore – 28:28 William Sergeant 29:00 Sworders comb back with blacksmith’s repairs – 30:30 Branston, Lincolnshire – Methodism in Lincolnshire – Old Rectory, Epworth, Lincolnshire – 32:26 John Wesley’s comb back Windsor – 33:54 Robert Young Antiques – 34:41 Wren Library, Lincoln Cathedral Wren Type 1 comb back – 36:57 Wren Type 2 comb back – 38:46 Wren Type 2 in 1909 – 39:09 Wren Type 2 in 1909 – 39:28 Hanslip Fletcher – 39:51 Thames Valley Windsor chairs – 41:21 cf. Lincolnshire Windsor chairs – 43:50 Chippendale’s Director 1754 and 1762 – 44:16 Robert Manwaring Cabinet and Chairmaker’s Real Friend and Companion 1765 – 44:44 Dr B D Cotton The English Regional Chair – 45:47 David Swanson Antiques (and 48:17) – 46:40 David Charles Dodge Antiques (and 48:50) – 47:05 Tim and Betsan Bowen – 47:38 Roger Warner – 49:07 Lawrence of Crewkerne – 49:30 Peter Bundy – 50:42 Wakelin and Linfield – 51:12 and 51:44 William Sergeant, Lincolnshire Chair Museum – Tim Garland, Antiques Restorer – Rob Ley, chair maker.
18th Century Windsor Chairs – Research, Repair & Authentic Replication – 14 February 2021 talk
Speaker: Julian Parker – 0:55 Regional Furniture Society – 3:02 vernacular furniture research 5:03 sources – 7:34 Credits – 8:20 re-cap from Part 1 – anatomy and dimensions of the comb back – 11:58 furniture restoration of the Newark chairs by Tim Garland – 16:58 turners of wood in 17th century Grantham – 18:15 Joseph Newton of Fenton in the parish of Beckingham, Lincolnshire, near Newark in the County of Nottinghamshire – 18:25 Stamford Mercury 1st July 1725 – White Hart – The Angel – 19:41 Stamford Mercury 1st July 1729 – John Fox, gunsmith, Grantham – 24:24 John Farrow, joiner, Newark upon Trent – 24:39 John Shackleton, joiner, Nottingham Gainsborough – 25:52 JOHN BROWN’S At the Three Chairs and Wallnut Tree in St. Paul’s Church-Yard – The Craftsman 11th April 1730 – 26:58 Lord Byron – Byron family – Newstead Abbey 29:20 William Partridge, Banbury – Jackson’s Oxford Journal 13th July 1754 – 29:55 Will of Joseph Newton 1752/52 30:51 summary of possible Newton chairs – 32:32 lap joints – dowel pegs – 35:58 summary – 36:56 Thames Valley Windsor side chairs – 37:45 earliest Windsor side chair – anatomy of Windsor chairs – 39:58 Rob Ley – 40:43 Thomas Hennell The Countryman at Work (1947) – 42:54 carpenter’s adze – bottomer’s adze – froe and mallet – turner’s axe – 43:15 hand augers – brace and spoon bit – 43:23 travishers – spoke shaves – scratch stock moulding – draw knife – 43:46 felling ash – 44:16 riving ash – 44:50 riving video clip – 48:42 making a leg – 49:43 lathe video clip – rough gouge – skew chisel – 51:58 steam bending – bending brace – steambox – 53:27 bending table – chair seat former – 54:43 seat adzing video clip – 57:16 chair framing – animal glue – 1:00:40 repair and restoration of Sworders comb back with blacksmith’s repairs 1:03:05 new lathe needed! 1:03:50 John Boden – 1:04:02 more repairs Rob Ley and Tim Garland 1:06:00 the Bonham’s side chair, just discovered, compared to the Robert Young side chair – 1:11:56 Where next? – 1:11:40 RFS Leaflet
Agnès Bos – RFS Research in Progress 1- ‘Reappraisal of the ‘Medieval’ Arconati-Visconti Dressoir’
‘A Reappraisal of the ‘Medieval’ Arconati-Visconti Dressoir at the Louvre’ Agnès Bos is a Lecturer in Art History at the University of St Andrews. She was a curator at the Louvre from 2006 to 2016 specialising in decorative arts from the late middle ages to the 17th century, with a focus on furniture, tapestries and textiles. In 2019 she published the catalogue raisonné of the Medieval and Renaissance furniture of the Louvre. 0:00 Liz Hancock – Introduction to the day 1:11 Chris Pickvance – Chair, morning session 3:31 Agnes Bos Arconati-Visconti Dressoir 4:05 catalogue raisonné 10 year project 5:27 diverse collection in Louvre, mostly French 6:27 English or Flemish chest 6:48 Centre de Recherche et de Restoration des Musees de France is based at Palais du Louvre Restoration, conservation research all in one place 8:37 conservation studio; work in progress: X-rays, paint analysis, also gilding 9:20 dendrochronology 10:27 Renaissance chest with later front opening doors 11:24 medieval dressoir 11:55 Marquise Arconati-Visconti 1916 donation 13:57 Arconati-Visconti collection published 15:30 Émile Molinier curator end of 19th century 16:44 Maximilien I dressoir is similar 17:27 Arconati-Visconti dressoir is oak, massive 165 cm high – 25 cms taller than normal 18:18 it is not deep 18:54 rear view 19:17 delicate vegetal carved decoration with vine leaves, birds, salamanders, rh bottom drawer snake, small dog 20:37 sides 20:48 V&A dressoir door 20:20 another from le Louvre Brabant 1521-24 22:05 illuminated manuscript borders 22:30 musee de Cluny Abbot’s chapel 23:07 statuettes on upper part of dressoir, probably religious 23:39 3 pendants details cf 24:02 Rouen Saint Ouen Abbey corbel 24:44 place of manufacture and date of dressoir ? France ? Flanders late c15. 25:34 Jacques Thirion ‘magnifique dressoir’ 26:30 oddities: different heights of sculpture panels. Top and base are not authentic. 27:33 x-rays – not all pendant construction consistent 28:15 dendro samples from different parts 29:01 not all analysable e.g. sides but 29:56 red panel felled 1510-40 lower parts (green) felled 1658-1669 30:45 doors in grey are old and genuine c16 l drawer and linenfold panelling yellow c17 or c19 purple red unknown date 32:20 even if pendants c16 there were not originally three – only one and with legs 33:37 two pendants may be reused from a missing canopy or another piece 34:26 – not mediaeval, barely genuine c17 wood a surprise 35:15 may be c19 forgers using old wood – old armoire may have been used 36:38 is it “mediaeval”? No – Q1 c16 36:52 another Marquise Arconati-Visconti “renaissance” dressoir dendro dating very similar 38:51 c16 wood from where? Paris? Not Flemish. 40:00 Q&A wood from east of Paris towards Champagne
Cécile Lagane – RFS Research in Progress 2 – Armoires of Bayeux (Normandy) and Aubazine (Limousin)
Cécile Lagane (Centre Michel de Boüard /CRAHAM, Caen), ‘Evolution and Transformation of Furniture in its Architectural Environment: the Armoires of Bayeux (Normandy) and Aubazine (Limousin)’. Cécile’s doctoral thesis on Medieval furniture and furnishings from 500-1300 will be published shortly. 0:00 Introduction by Chris Pickvance 2:00 Cécile Lagane – architectural style 3:02 Eugène Viollet-le-Duc César Daly Pierre Gélis-Didot were all architects 3:56 ‘romanesque’ ‘gothic’ ‘plain’ architectural styles were used for dating furniture but it was wrong 4:38 3 plain chests 1) late c12 Chest from the Lüneburger collection, TR-NR300, 1174d 2) late c13 Chest from the Musée du Valère, Sion, MV 8690, 1272 – 1273d 3) late c14 Chest from the Lüneburger collection, TR-NR 319, 1398 but they all look constructionally the same 5:42 armoire Aubazine dated just by ‘look’ 7:10 armoire Bayeux – its painted door has been the sole focus – rest ignored. Architectural style is not the only or the correct way to study furniture. Archaeological approach required 9:06 armoire: free standing closed storage structure for weapons from Latin ‘armarium’; not many left in Europe; all dissimilar; 11:35 armoire Aubazine (Corrèze) c12 Benedictine monastery with Saint-Etienne church with armoire of oak ‘oldest self standing piece in France or even Europe’? Discovered by Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc c19 Monument Historique 1891 2.32m high 6 solid 30 x 10 cm uprights trad. dated late c12 early c13 because of barrel arches similar to bell tower of the Saint-Etienne church consecrated in 1176 (cl. Structurae) and vaulted arches of the 12th c. cloisters (cl. Limousin Medieval) and fleur de lis motifs on baptismal font but it is not of that date. 14:50 Rectangular Boards with arch doors assembled via dowels, tongue and groove 15:50 bolt with animal head 16:10 barrel arches summit moulding with triangular frieze highlighted in red with fleur de lis decorative elements; decorative nails already lost by c19 17:25 4 levels of shelves; some later; nothing comparable in Europe; dowels, tongue and groove doesn’t help date; cf other extruded moulding at Noyon (Oise) c1216-1240d Westminster 1377-1393d (by dendro) Malines 1475-1476d (by document) 20:28 cf chest with uprights that turn into legs Sion 1294 Wienhausen 1330 Westminster 1237-1269 Noyon 1227-1260d 22:12 barrel arches found esp Musée du Valère Sion chest MV 1237, 1225-1250d chest MV 84 1150-1270d (c14) chest MV 82 1270d exactly same method as armoire by dowelling on to surface. 23:46 metallic elements bolts lock plate all similar to late c13 to late c14 inc bolts with animal head Abbey Maillezais Vendee 25:00 cf fleur de lis c12 to c15 v common Westminster late c13, Châtenois (Lower Rhine) in Spielmann 2016 c15 Überlingen c14 26:00 Pierpont Morgan Library, New York MS M.521r, c. 1155-1160 Ms. Egerton 3028 f° 94r, British Library, c. 1325-1350 Colmar BM Ms. 428 f°397v c15 late c13 to late c14 more likely than the church. Church is late c12. Armoire looks like church therefore 27:36 fleur de lis armoire fittings look original as straps have no shadow Church cupboard doors may be made to look like armoire as they do have move shadows. Font cupboard doors are in c18 wall (1731) but ? re-used. 32:21 trying to do dendro if tenure and funding can be found. Armoire therefore prob bit later than c12/c13. 33:12 Bayeux in treasury chapel on first floor armoire known from 33:56 c15 document 34:15 studied 1852 by César Daly Monument Historique 1898 Viollet-le-Duc drew 34:36 without seeing it. 35:02 Dated 1st half c13 because of date of chapel. 3m high 5.2m long 88cms deep Two rows doors, barrel hinges iron straps 36:20 drawing, rests on bench 3 pinnacles 37:00 painted with palmettes 37:28 used to be 8 sets not 7 of doors – it’s been altered from symmetry. Left hand end legs have been moved. It was made to fit the room. 40:17 modifications – 7 top doors and 2 lower are prob original 41:50 Lock, bolt of first door upper row Late c13 or 14th, original?; late c14 Lock, bolt of last door on lower row: bolt late c13 or 14, lock late c19 post Daly 1852 drawing 43:12 green paint may be later. 43:32 5 bottom doors have traces of scenes and scrubbed green paint 44:45 straps were removed and others added and lock removed and gap plugged 45:30 3 doors have much green, removed hinges and straps and must have come from some other piece of furniture. 46:00 Last 2 doors on left difficult. RH door has features like the original ones but it is too big. Complicated 47:24 The painted famous door not from original armoire but added later. Where from? Who knows. God in majesty holding globe; 4 monks with reliquary; inside bare so not like the 3 green doors. 49:00 so it evolved. No locks original. 49:53 date: prob not early c13 but 50:25 cf old Noyon armoire that was c14 that was destroyed in WWI 50:55 fits round tiles; must be c14 52:04 York Minster cupboards in Zouche chapel dendro dated to 1400 53:48 Q&A
Nick Humphrey – RFS Research in Progress 3 – Desk Cupboard, Oak, England, 1430-1450
Nick Humphrey (Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Dept., Victoria and Albert Museum, London), ‘A Fifteenth-century Desk-cupboard at the Victoria and Albert Museum’. Nick is the curator responsible for pre-1700 furniture, woodwork and leatherwork and was involved in creating the British Galleries (2001), the Medieval and Renaissance galleries (2009), the Dr Susan Weber (Furniture) Gallery (2012), and the Europe galleries 1600-1815 (2015). His most recent publication revisits the museum’s most famous piece of furniture, the Great Bed of Ware; current research includes cypress wood chests and Latin-American lacquer 0:14 Fred Roe 1908 first mention; bought 1898; then dated to 1500; 2:10 2012 re-display led to re-appraisal 3:00 writing slope for manuscript? 4:23 free standing; just under 1m high; 38 degrees to horizontal; cavetto moulding; 5:35 scratching; can be propped open with 3 rods; 6:16 metal lock 6:36 cavity; groove that may have held shelf; signs of shelves at 4″ and 8″ height 8:03 sides and front: designs differ between the two sides; two lion masks; 9:55 embattlement has been removed; 10:44 for sitting or standing? Some evidence of broken off wooden dowels 12:00 cf chair stall construction with lectern top cf chests; desk shares some characteristics of both 13:16 drawing of construction 14:15 isometric exploded view by Richard Sheppard; clever tenons and mortices 16:00 full height board carved in solid linked by dowels; 18:00 some similarities to masons’ joints 19:00 complex inventive form 19:23 Tracy (1988) said 1375-1400 English tracery; lion masks; Lincoln and Chichester; 20:00 dendro 2012 slow growth eastern baltic oak and also fast growth English. Dendro on lid growing in 1420: for use 1430-1450; 22:00 could it be continental? English most likely even though 2 generations later than Tracy. 23:20 cf Lincoln library desks 1422 St Walburge de Zutphen 1564 Bibliotheca Laurenziana (Florence) 1524-34 designed by Michelangelo made c1550 by Giovan Battista del Cinque e Ciapino; seated; standing; study desk 24:40 seated: 45 degrees Lincoln desks 26:21 lecterns antiphonary walnut 1502 S Agostino Perugia attr.. Baccio d’Agnolo; oak, St Thomas a Becket Ramsey, Cambridgeshire; c15 c16 Eagle lectern Chirk Castle, Denbighshire; 27:40 torah pulpit 1440-80 Musee d’art et d’histoire de Judaism, Paris 28:12 oak pult 1490 Martinskirke Landschut Bayerischenationalemuseum 29:31 Jean Mielot 1465; oak book cupboard, Vicar’s Library, Wells Cathedral; 32:06 enlarged and book slope; 32:58 comparable units; 32:25 scriptoria (no illustrations) private study desks (plentiful 1300-1425) but nothing specifically English; 35:20 comfort and convenience of desks matter; 36:25 desk with side opening with or without door 36:50 lateral openings Master of the Prayer Books 1500 Master of the Manderville Travels Bohemia 1400-1425; V&A desk is 34 inches wide; 38:30 Lucas Cranach St Jerome 1515; movable if not portable; 39:55 desk box of Henry VIII 41:10 footrests present, kneeholes absent; 42:02 all have slopes; and desk tidies; 45:49 V&A missing its base makes it tricky: unlikely to be more than 5″ or too hard to reach inside – not for standing – it was for use seated; reading slope plus storage; ecclesiastical context most likely; admirable, useful and durable – a rare survivor
Jens Kremb – RFS Research in Progress 4 ‘The Chest of Drawers: a Late Medieval Piece of Furniture?’
Jens Kremb (Independent scholar, Bonn), ‘The Chest of Drawers: a Late Medieval Piece of Furniture?’ His doctoral thesis about painted tabletops in the late Middle Ages, was published as Bemalte Tischplatten des Spätmittelalters (Böhlau Verlag, 2015). He has created a research initiative on medieval furniture (www.inimm.de); 00:47 start Chest of Drawers – late Medieval Piece of Furniture? 1:46 Max Planck open-mindedness is needed; 3:00 storage furniture with 2 or more drawers c17 French, not in Germany before 1720; 3:20 Gloag 1952 in England c17, but in a 1673 Essex inventory; 4:34 1599 chest with drawers Southwark 1560; 5:52 kommode 1713 Versailles 6:45 Cassettone Liguria 1600-1650 V&A; 7:20 Heinrich Kreisel not in Germany pre-1720s but focused on kommode; 9:21 Cassettone 1600-1609, Castello Sforzesco, Milano; 9:32 c17 chests V&A, drawers with cupboard doors; 10:09 Paris 1700-1720 Chest of Drawers V&A 11:07 Gothic kommode? Ulrich Auer, Box with drawers Castle Pappenheim lost since 1945; 12:14 Hans Traut Rueland Frueauf Augustiner Altarpiece 1487 Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremburg 13:05 reconstruction of closed altarpiece 13:16 wings of altarpiece 13:29 St Luke painting the Virgin 14:40 Virgin on chair detail legs and stretcher, dowels, mortice and tenon joints visible; 15:34 St Luke’s bench detail ogive arch, trefoil; easel detailed too 16:52 behind the easel there is, clearly, what may be a chest of drawers 17:26 detail of chest end board; height split in thirds – independent stand alone storage furniture with probably 3 drawers; painters detail is accurate; 19:09 St Vitus with castle – identified as Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento by eight windows with arcades, built in 1475; 19:58 studio similar to contemporary written sources; and here 200 years before one might expect it is a chest of drawers; 22:08 Meister des Laufener Nothelfer Altars 1495-1505 Intercessor Altar, Miracle of the Roses, Elizabeth of Hungary, church of Laufen, Bavaria; another storage box with an open drawer with dovetail but no handle; 23:43 chest with drawer, France c15; 24:42 X-ray shows St Luke furniture was not added later; 25:50 Sacristy cupboard 1539 Feldkirch, Austria, lost; 27:01 underpart of sacristy cupboard, 2nd half c15 Austria, lost; 27:41 St Luke’s chest is not like the sacristy cupboard 28:27 Chest of drawers for vestments, The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum, New York c15 France ? 28:56 credenza with drawers 1475 Florence; 29:35 Chest with drawers Salzburg end c15 Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremburg 29:58 Archive cupboard 1455 Diocesan Museum, Wroclaw; 30:30 table with drawers, Cistercian Abbey, Wettingen, Switzerland, to Abbot Rudolf Wulfinger 1436, oldest with drawers in Switzerland; 30:55 Pappenheim 1458 again; 31:08 Jean Mielot 1456 in his scriptorium by Jean le Tavernier, Miracles de Notre Dame showing a box with drawers with runners; 32:02 Asteas crater with drawer with two handles 350-340BC, Altes Museum Berlin; 32:36 Musei Vaticani, c1AD grave altar of cutler L Cornelius Atimetus with a drawer; 34:52 German Masterpiece regulations: drawer – schublade -lade; till box also lade 35:18 1427 Munich Regulations ‘truchen mid laedelein’ ?chest with till box? 1508 ‘ladegschier’ drawers and ‘drivachen inneren laden’ 36:12 three drawers or three till boxes? 36:48 no written sources proof in c15 but the chest of drawers plainly attained its form long before France at the end of the c17; 37:40 be open minded. 38:14 Q&A dovetails
Christopher Pickvance – RFS Research in Progress 5 ‘English Clamped Chests from 1250-1350’
Christopher Pickvance ‘A Closer Look at a Group of English Clamped Chests from 1250-1350: Timber, Construction and Decoration’. Chris has been researching medieval chests for over ten years using dendrochronology. Articles in Regional Furniture, The Antiquaries Journal and archaeological journals; see http://www.researchgate.net; 2:11 Start of talk; construction types: dug out construction, trunk recess-cut, lid with strap hinge, Horning, Suffolk, late c12 based on the ironwork; 2:45 boarded construction or ‘six plank’, weak structure which needs strap work, 85% to 90% are like this, Laneham, Nottinghamshire c14; 3:45 mixed construction (boarded and dugout), with iron straps, Kent, imported, dendro dated 1390-1420 (lid is hollowed out Baltic limewood; 4:29 clamped construction (5%); front board is pegged into grooves in vertical stiles, Horsham, pegs with iron caps, iron disks and escutcheon; 5:32 view of joints Graveney and Canterbury 1237-1260 early but sophisticated; 8:56 Primary sources: F. Roe, Ancient Coffers and Cupboards, 1902 P.M. Johnston, Church chests of 12th and 13th centuries in England, Archaeological Journal, 64: 243–306, 1907 H.W. Lewer and J.C. Wall, The Church Chests of Essex, 1913 P. Eames, Medieval Furniture, Furniture History, 13, 1977 J. Geddes, Medieval Decorative Ironwork in England, 1999 K.H. von Stülpnagel, Die Gothische Truhen der Lüneberger Heidekloster, 2000 11:42 D Miles and M Bridge. Westminster Abbey, London: Tree-ring Dating of the Chests and Fittings. Portsmouth: English Heritage, 2008 M. Bridge and D. Miles Overview on dendro-dated chests Regional Furniture, 25, 2011 (on RFS website) D. Sherlock, Suffolk Church Chests, 2008 C. Charles, and C. Veuillet, Coffres et coffrets du Moyen Age dans les collections du Musée d’histoire du Valais, 2012 Background E. Mercer, Furniture 700-1700, 1969 A. Bowett, Woods in British Furniture-making 1400-1900, 2012 B.M.S. Campbell, The Great Transition, 2016 13:16 The 1970s onwards: the rise of dendrochronology New wave of recording Knowledge base: Secondary sources Edicts, value of church furnishings, inventories, accounts, images Result: Limitations of pre-1970s primary studies. Advances of later studies, but continuing obstacles 25:48 Distribution of domed pine chests in England, imported, 1390—1420d (Gavin Simpson). 27:27 Tracery-carved imported chest, TPQ 1390-1420, Faversham Kent, (others in Kent and Norfolk) 30:38 Pin hinged clamped chests Clamped construction, not boarded or dug-out Pin (or pivot) hinges, not iron strap hinges Walls pegged into long grooves in stiles Tills, inward-sloping sides, with or without applied grids Bases made of long or short boards, clamped into grooves in the front, back and sides Joints: Butted and dowelled, or V-joints 30:56 Chartres cathedral 31:20 Pin hinge and applied strengthening grid (Plain sided chests exist too) 32:12 Pin hinge and till to store small items, can have hidden lower section 32:29 Internal view, joints here with V- edges (can also be with straight edges and dowelled), internal surfaces 33:01 Long bolt with prongs: part of lock found in almost all Sussex, Kent etc examples 33:18 The bolt engages with rigid iron staples held in lid when central key is turned 33:36 The staples drop into slots in the top of a wooden cover (unless distorted) 33:50 A wooden cover conceals the bolt mm:ss 34:06 Pin-hinged clamped chests: distribution Of 56, 21 have carved or incised facades, 35 are plain Carved decoration is concentrated mainly in West Sussex (chip-carved roundels, or roundels and carved gothic arcading) and North-East Kent (outline gothic arcading) Locks: mainly sliding bolt type, but mixed in East Anglia and Essex 34:14 Distribution of pin-hinged clamped chests by county.Number with carved facades/total number (carved and plain).‘Carved façade’ includes roundels and/or arcading 35:59 Canterbury, Kent, FDR,1237-69 36:26 Hindringham, Norfolk, 3rd quarter 13th century 36:57 Climping, Sussex (in Chichester Cathedral), 1st quarter 14th c, arcading and round 37:55 Buxted, Sussex, 1318-50, arcading and roundels 38:13 Winchester Cathedral 38:22 Chichester Cathedral, 1256-88 38:35 Chichester Cathedral, polychrome 38:50 Midhurst, Sussex 38:51 Bosham, Sussex 39:01 Hants (V&A W.30-1926) 39:15 Laneham, Notts 39:39 Earl Stonham, Suffolk 40:15 Longstanton, Cambs 40:47 Pin-hinged clamped chests: the West Sussex group and its outliers Q. 1 Are the roundels chests a single group? Q. 2 What were the chests used for? Q. 3 Why roundels? Q. 4 Does roundel design evolve over time? Q. 5 Who commissioned them? 43:43 map 46:08 Dimensions of chests 47:43 Two chests 48:46 West Sussex and North-east Kent, 1st half 14th century Joan Thirsk, The Agrarian History of England and Wales, 1988, p.183 49:34 Population density and town sizes, 1290 B.M.S. Campbell, The Great Transition, CUP, 2016, p.63 More information http://www.regionalfurnituresociety.org Please send questions and feedback to: C.G.Pickvance@kent.ac.uk
Noah Smith, RFS Research in Progress 6 Courtrai chest New College, Oxford Iconography & Materiality
Noah Smith (Scouloudi Fellow, Institute for Historical Research), ‘The ‘Courtrai chest’ at New College, Oxford: Iconography and Materiality’. This controversial chest, a focus of Noah’s research on Flemish medieval art, has been viewed both as a fake and a Belgian national treasure. This paper will explore the material and art historical aspects of the chest, addressing its potential provenance and suggesting a new iconographic reading of its frontispiece. 1:45 start 3:11 New College Warden Archibald Spooner found it in 1905 in Stanton St John early c14 wood carving and c17 reconstruction 3:26 frontispiece 100 cm x 71 cm carved shortly after Battle of the Golden Spurs 1302 backpiece likely also original rest c17; Hayter account of acquisition from William Harris not substantiated as accurate by college minutes 5:48 1912 published by Aymer Vallance in The Burlington Magazine Ffoulkes, Charles (July 1912). “Carved Chest at New College, Oxford” ‘stylistically 14th c’; Battle of the Golden Spurs and goedendag identified 7:12 in 1952 claims of fakery in Belgium; in 1977 college thought of selling; was examined in Belgium, authenticity questioned; 9:06 John Fletcher dendro upper plank 970 1243 lower 983 1216, later confirmed but possibly as late as 1420 10:52 interior 11:30 Filippe de Potter Didier Dumolin 2002 reconstruction 12:08 iron cross straps – may be part of hidden compartment – was it a diplomatic gift – no evidence 14:30 cf Harty, Isle of Sheppey tilting chest 133 x 76 x 68 cms body straight close grained Baltic oak cleft or quarter sawn Scott Robertson 1876 dates it to mid c14 iconographically Noah Smith thinks late c14 early c15 17:38 stylistically charging knights are similar, also helmets; 19:46 cf York Minster chest late c14 all 3 Flanders imports similar construction cutting and locks 22:04 Count Guy of Dampierre, imprisoned by Philip IV, for overtures to Edward I; unrest against French rule; Bruges Matins massacre May 1302; 25:12 Courtrai Flemish Guilds defeated French army 26:16 iconographical program Guy of Dampierre, also called Guy of Namur William of Jülich and goedendag are shown; 27:17 3 aldermen offer key; pun on chest lock key 28:45 Annales Gandenses beheadings 30:08 robed monk blessing bowed soldiers, flags of craft guilds many goedendag 31:17 Courtrai castle 31:44 Flemish militia in combat – pikemen crossbowmen looting 32:18 identity chronology and morality are the theme 5 guilds identified; just and righteous Flemish intervention against French oppression; 33:21 dendro window 1280 to 1420; possibly chest older than battle and carved later; depth and breadth of carving severely weakened the chest and led to reconstruction 300 years later; must have been in Stanton St John after 1305; in Harris family since ?1593 when they came to Stanton St John; 36:55 map; domestic context more likely than diplomatic; c14 led to many Flemish weavers coming across the Channel 38:56 conclusion
Rachel Sycamore – RFS Research in Progress 7 Dug-out Church Chests in Herefordshire & Worcestershire
Rachel Sycamore (MRes student in Medieval Archaeology, Worcester University), ‘Dug-out Church Chests in Herefordshire and Worcestershire’. Rachel is in the third and final year of her Master’s degree. Her research focuses on dug-out church chests and has used dendrochronology to date four in the two counties so far. Her paper discusses the construction methods, ironwork and physical characteristics of examples, comparing and contrasting those which have been dated 0:42 start; 4 chests recently dated by dendro; chest 1 did not have enough growth rings; 2:27 definition; Foy chest must have been hoist in; hollowed, heavy, tend to split, capacity limited, large tree needed 4:14 used for valuables and alms; Waterford vestment, used for altar cloths, plate, documents, relics, books, money for Crusades or poor; 1199 edict for trunks with 3 locks; other edicts later; none yet in secular use 6:14 style dating unreliable; can’t know when ironwork fitted; need 50 good rings for dendro; only 6 chests dendro dated pre current research; 4 of 6 current chests yielded dates 7:52 lids made either by riving (cleaving or splitting) or trestle sawing 1425-1436 Chinnery 1979 riving; straight sawing; quarter sawing – maximum no of stable boards 10:44 Herefordshire 14 dug-outs, 11% of 132 chests found; Worcestershire 13 dug-outs, 16% of 80 chests found; 12:14 map; St Mary’s Foy St Michael and All Angels’ Kingstone; dug-outs are in rural areas not market towns; 13:21 Kingstone chest 260 x 49 x 48 cms, rebated lids, strap hinges, double ended fleur de lis straps for bracing 15:50 interior divided by oak inset, staples for sliding bolt lock; 17:13 six locks in total, stamped pattern on keyhole guards rh plate is upside down, central hasp with square and cross and staple; forged vs stamped (later) straps; 20:50 end of chest growth rings LH end saw kerf marks visible, ascribed to c13 in the past; dendro 1243 to 1273 felling year 22:32 St George’s Orleton two chests, one of which can be dated 191 x 54 x 57 cms, pin hinged shape straps, 3 lid hinges with bifurcated terminals, 3 vertical straps with heraldic fleur de lis inserts; cf Westminster Abbey clamped chest dendro 1271 to 1287; LH bottom end has been given a cut away ridge ? to fit a step? 25:43 LH end split-curl hinge and keyhole in lid, split-curl strap with heraldic fleur de lis; lid is tapered, possibly because riven; 27:29 interior adze marks on underside of lid; key hole and scar of lock; hasps cut in to front; old dating c13 but felling dates 1347 to 1377 (Moir 2020) which makes it 100 years later; 29:42 scaled drawing Orleton II 30:13 St John the Baptist Feckenham E Worcestershire rural again, away form towns 30:58 236 x 53 x 500 cms, overlapping lids in centre – sole occurrence RH lid can only be open if LH lid is up; lids later than base; 4 lock plates 1 L 3 R; 4 vertical straps w double end fleur de lis; each lid has 2 strap hinges which have different fleur de lis from the hasp strap types; 34:10 3 lock plates one with date stamp ‘Birm 1827’ in new timber inserted in front with straps applied over; 35:14 end view lids are tangentially sawn so no good for dendro as not enough growth rings and probably later; base dendro date was 1435 to 1465; 36:39 St Lawrence Lindridge NW Worcestershire; 37:17 129 x 49 x 44 cms 3 looped hasps 2 in old hasp scars and staples; single lid no rebate 38:21 interior with toys, sloping sides to cavity; exterior has been painted 39:26 LH end lid and base match rings; dendro dated to 1519 to 1549; 40:34 summary side of Kingston 1243-1273; Orleton II 1347-1377; Feckenham 1435-1465; Lindridge 1519-1549; samples all match local chronologies so wood local; earliest most elaborate but some replacements; latest simplest; pre Norman to post Reformation; 42:45 bibliography 43:36 Nick Humphrey conclusion and Q&A
The History of Dutch Painted Furniture: Hans Piena, Conservator, Holland Open Air Museum
Hans Piena, Conservator, Nederlands Openluchtmuseum (Holland Open Air Museum): The History of Dutch Painted Furniture 7 April 2021 – 00:56 17 years’ study – 1:31 Cabinet on stand 1700-1740 – 3:03 softwood not oak, few joints, nailed – 3:57 hand saw kerf marks 4:30 17th century windmill wood saw kerf marks – 5:08 scrub plane – 5:27 hardware – chronology of hinges, pivots, early hand-forged, later machined – 7:12 backspring locks, early back plates hand-forged trapezoidal with snap bolts, later back plates prefabricated square bolts with key and spring – 8:32 mahogany wood graining cross section pigmented and varnished 9:38 overpainting common 10:16 Witwerkers (“White (wood) workers”) were not farmers and fishermen; they were peddlers of wooden objects in cities; competition to cabinet makers – 11:33 17th century Amsterdam Dordrecht Rotterdam Haarlem Utrecht Leiden 18th century Middelburg Zaandam Hoorn Alkmaar Vlissingen Leeuwarden Kampen Joure 12:34 Guilds map 13:18 Guild regulations softwood only, painted, (no glue or joints in Belgium but not in Holland) (cabinetmakers monopoly of oak) 14:27 Masterpieces were cabinet and tea table 15:07 Cabinet 1660-1700 Collection Antiek d’Eglantier – 15:42 paint recipes including amber 16:13 759 archive records of 476 master witwerkers in Amsterdam – 17:09 1788 Witwerker guild shop by Herman Schouten 17:59 Noordermarkt Amsterdam 1775 rococo or marbled 18:34 Nieuwmarkt with the St Anthoniswaag Isaak Ouwater 1787 second hand 19:13 distribution maps by shuttle boats centred on Rotterdam and Amsterdam 20:59 Frans Dircksz Sluijter 1706-20 Account Book 22:17 tray and three corner cupboards 22:31 14 years’ accounts 6,658 records of 11,685 pieces 4 work benches 90,000 to 100,000 pieces per year 23:37 Frans Dircksz Sluijter distribution map. 24:06 Cabinet 1640-1680 24:33 Sijbrant Schellinger & Jenneken ter Borch Gesina ter Borch 1669 Rijksprentenkabinet potty chair 25:08 Dolls potty chair 1740 25:23 Glass of lemonade Gerard tea Borch 25:38 Serving table 1680-1720 25:50 Interior of Jacob Cats, Amsterdam 1769-1770 26:18 Gateleg table 26:26 Afternoon tea 1715-1720 V&A 27:05 snap top tea table with bird cage Zuiderzeemuseum with biblical scene 27:50 Entry into Jerusalem tea tray and source print 28:20 Corner cabinet with toddler and corner cabinet 28:36 Corner cabinet Manor house Ionica aan de Amstel 28:51 Cylinder desk Carel Breytspraak Royal Palace Amsterdam 1808 for Louis Napoléon Bonaparte 29:31 Cylinder desk 1825-1840 oak and brass; votes for literate unimprisoned tax payers gave appearance of literacy a social value 30:55 ‘Cylinder desk’ 1860 to 1880 which is actually a store cupboard for dishes and pulses and grains 31:34 ‘Cylinder desk’ which is a peat bin 1860 – 1880 32:05 interior with peat box Doornspijk 1910 32:30 Jacobus Alberti 1763-1836 Notary and Mayor of Krommenie at baize table 33:08 Authenticity; overpainting; beautified; combination of older pieces; re-used floor boards; stripped with Na-OH sodium hydroxide; new and faked 34:51 Gateleg table with re-painted border over Prussian blue shown in cross section 35:52 Chest of Drawers with scene from Rembrandt of many layers 36:39 copy of landscape with Stone bridge Rembrandt van Rijn 1638 37:13 expensive 1940s acquired “17th century” miniature cabinet which is a fake with apparently 1628 bible prints from Cornelis van Sichem 38:13 painted on top of windmill saw kerf marks – not authentic 38:50 bevelled edge re-used door frame with tinplate and wire nails 39:19 pencil lines later than 1820 and ink stains on old varnish 39:59 wire nails after 1860 40:12 unoxidised linseed oil 40:45 titanium white is post 1920 41:31 fake cabinets Ameland Workum Zaanstreek not 17th century 41:52 Cradle Hindeloopen “18th century” 42:28 Expensive Print book Historie des Ouden en Nieuwen Testaments Amsterdam Pieter Mortier 1700 43:07 turns out it is Scottish via Bill Cotton’s Scottish Vernacular Furniture 44:13 Hindeloopen or Scotloopen culture
The Regional Furniture Society was delighted to present a Zoom lecture by Hans Piena, Conservator of the Dutch Open Air Museum, Arnhem on Wednesday, 7th April at 18:00 hrs GMT on ‘The History of Dutch Painted Furniture. The lecture is now available on the RFS YouTube channel.
Hans is well-known to members of the Regional Furniture Society. He recently joined our Shropshire conference where he delivered a fascinating talk on the history of Dutch rush-seated chairs, but we first met at Arnhem on our study tour of Dutch painted furniture in 2001. His new 50 minute presentation, recently delivered at The Rijksmuseum, is the result of his 14 years of research since our visit. It covers the history of Dutch painted furniture which was produced by members of guilds known as ‘witwerkers’. ‘Wit’, meaning white, refers to the pieces in their initial unpainted state. Witwerkers developed great skill in decorating these pieces in faux exotic veneers or with painted stories from the Bible, in imitation of a host of fashionable hardwood items such as cabinets, wardrobes, chests of drawers and tables. It is usually assumed that painted furniture was a rural craft, but Hans will explain that witwerkers emerged in the cities – the first witwerkers’ guild founded in Amsterdam in the early seventeenth century. During the course of the seventeenth century, the influx of immigrants and rise of the middle classes led to a boom in the market for inexpensive painted furniture and the development of a marketing and distribution network into the distant reaches of the Netherlands and overseas as far as Russia and beyond, including, of course, those bow corner cabinets to England that are so familiar. Witwerk evolved to reflect the changes of the finest furniture through the late 18th and early 19th century, sometimes with humorous consequences.
The latest meeting in the series of Research in Progress took place on 13 March 2021 via Zoom. As with the previous two themed meetings, (Sixteenth-century Furniture and The Regional Chair), speakers presented current research from a variety of perspectives. The sessions may be viewed on the RFS YouTube channel.
10.15. Agnès Bos (University of St Andrews) ‘A Reappraisal of the ‘Medieval’ Arconati-Visconti Dressoir at the Louvre’) Agnès Bos is a Lecturer in Art History at the University of St Andrews. She was a curator at the Louvre from 2006 to 2016 specialising in decorative arts from the late middle ages to the 17th century, with a focus on furniture, tapestries and textiles. In 2019 she published the catalogue raisonné of the Medieval and Renaissance furniture of the Louvre. For her articles see Agnès Bos | University of St Andrews – Academia.edu
11.00 Cécile Lagane (Centre Michel de Boüard /CRAHAM, Caen), ‘Evolution and Transformation of Furniture in its Architectural Environment: the Armoires of Bayeux (Normandy) and Aubazine (Limousin)’. Cécile’s doctoral thesis on Medieval furniture and furnishings from 500-1300 will be published shortly. For her articles see www.academia.edu
12.00 Nick Humphrey (Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Dept., Victoria and Albert Museum, London), ‘A Fifteenth-century Desk-cupboard at the Victoria and Albert Museum’. Nick is the curator responsible for pre-1700 furniture, woodwork and leatherwork and was involved in creating the British Galleries (2001), the Medieval and Renaissance galleries (2009), the Dr Susan Weber (Furniture) Gallery (2012), and the Europe galleries 1600-1815 (2015). His most recent publication revisits the museum’s most famous piece of furniture, the Great Bed of Ware; current research includes cypress wood chests and Latin-American lacquer.
12.45 Jens Kremb (Independent scholar, Bonn), ‘The Chest of Drawers: a Late Medieval Piece of Furniture?’ His doctoral thesis about painted tabletops in the late Middle Ages, was published as Bemalte Tischplatten des Spätmittelalters (Böhlau Verlag, 2015). He has created a research initiative on medieval furniture (www.inimm.de) and his articles are on www.jkremb.academia.edu
Afternoon session (Chair: Nick Humphrey)
2.15 Chris Pickvance (Chairman, RFS), ‘A Closer Look at a Group of English Clamped Chests from 1250-1350: Timber, Construction and Decoration’. Chris has been researching medieval chests for over ten years using dendrochronology. His articles have appeared in Regional Furniture,The Antiquaries Journal and archaeological journals; see www.researchgate.net
3.00 Noah Smith (Scouloudi Fellow, Institute for Historical Research), ‘The ‘Courtrai chest’ at New College, Oxford: Iconography and Materiality’. This controversial chest, a focus of Noah’s research on Flemish medieval art, has been viewed both as a fake and a Belgian national treasure. This paper will explore the material and art historical aspects of the chest, addressing its potential provenance and suggesting a new iconographic reading of its frontispiece. Noah is in the final year of his PhD at the University of Kent, and has work forthcoming in several publications.
3.45 Rachel Sycamore (MRes student in Medieval Archaeology, Worcester University), ‘Dug-out Church Chests in Herefordshire and Worcestershire’. Rachel is in the third and final year of her Master’s degree. Her research focuses on dug-out church chests and has used dendrochronology to date four in the two counties so far. Her paper will discuss the construction methods, ironwork and physical characteristics of examples, comparing and contrasting those which have been dated.
The event was free and open to non-members after registration. The day was recorded.
A bit of lockdown amusement: a group of Early Modernists are engaged on project examining and writing about the everyday cultural lives of the middling sort 1560-1650. They have come up with a Social Status Calculator across the various statuses from ‘new gentry’ to ‘dependent poor’, with some biographies and information about real people in those days.
There’s a piece about furniture by Chris Pickvance too!
This painted East European chest, probably Romanian but possibly Hungarian, is in need of a new home. It is 3ft 3in wide, 1ft 10in deep and 2ft 9in high (99cm x 56cm x 84cm). Members who went on the Transylvanian trip in 2012 will remember seeing similar examples. This type of chest was still being made in the 19th and 20th centuries. The owner, Jill Robson, would be happy to pass it on as a gift to a suitable home. She does not want it to go back into the trade. Any member interested in acquiring the chest should contact Jill Robson on 01433 620350.
This month sees the publication of Claudia Kinmonth’s keenly awaited Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000 (pp. 550 illus 448., Cork University Press). Following the Society’s Irish tour last year and as a thank you to the RFS for its support for the book Claudia has arranged a special 20% discount from the publisher for RFS members on the RRP €39.00 or £35.00 (plus p&p.), valid until the end of December. The book will also be available from good bookshops by about 20 November 2020, and online, usually free of postage, from Book Depository. To order a signed copy from the publisher, email: email@example.com and quote the code ‘RFS’. Signed copies must be ordered before 31 December 2020. Listen to Claudia’s recent interview on BBC Radio Ulster (at 26 mins 40 seconds into the programme). For more information please check Claudia’s website and her Twitter.