The range of furniture types was influenced by the decline of the hall as the most important room, and the rise of a variety of other rooms for private use. The distinction between furniture and fittings was also more marked as a greater variety of moveable furniture was made to accommodate the demands of the new and more stable society.
In England the trestle table was now longer, and made with a fixed top using a panelled construction and a fixed underframe. The most important innovation, however, was the extending table mechanism, which allowed the leaves to be drawn out upon tapered bearers (lopers) so virtually doubling the size of the table top (Figure 1.5).
Chairs, developed from a box-panelled shape possibly based on the chest with a back added, gradually began to be less heavy, more open and usually fitted with arms. They were given a slight rake to the back, but the legs remained straight. Chairs continued to be made by joiners, often with prestigious ornament inlaid into the backs of joined chairs.
The bed was usually the most expensive piece of furniture and was considered an heirloom. Four-poster beds were enlarged and fitted with highly carved canopies and testers,
often with the frame separate from the end posts.
Storage became more important and the idea of a cupboard made the transition from 'a cupboard with things on, to one with things in'. The raising of a chest on tall legs gave the first sideboard or table, and the planked hutch gradually developed into the court cupboard and buffet. Nevertheless, chests remained the most important storage devices and were available in a wide variety of forms, shapes and sizes.
France developed two items that deserve mention: the 'lit de repos' or daybed, lavishly decorated with drapes and materials, and the 'caquetoire chair with its trapezoidal seat and narrow carved back, which was invariably decorated with carved or pierced back panels.
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