Chipcarved Chest Of Elm And

3 ft. ii ins. long by i ft. ij ins. high by i ft. i J ins. back to front. Date about 1500. 24

may explain its rich character and its small size. Its Original associations were undoubtedly clerical, either with an abbey or one of the semi-ecclesiastical guilds.

The sixteenth century witnessed the abrupt decline of the line earlier Gothic traditions, after the destruction of the monasteries began in 1530. The Gothic lingered, but the earlier guidance of the Church is clearly absent in the woodwork produced after this date. Such a decline can be explained by no other hypothesis than the dispersal of the former knowledge and taste, with the abolition of the monastic houses. It is at this period that we get crude Gothic ornament of cusped tracery, coupled with still cruder construction,\ which might cause one to imagine that these examples were the forerunners of much of the fine woodwork of the fifteenth century. There are later methods visible in many of these pieces, however, such as the scratch-moulding of the upright styles of Fig. 36 for example, which show that mere crudity is no necessary indication of age. The construction here is from solid boards, without framing, uprights nailed to the sides in the manner of the early chests, and the doors of one piece, pierced and carved. Xo woodworker of the Gothic period, however, would have been responsible for the Catherine-wheel-like pattern of the tracery in the lower door of this cupboard, nor the circular holes above the arcading in the upper one. This must be regarded as an example of the depraved period, from about

Fig. 2b. OAK READING DESK

3 (t. 2}. ins. high by 2 ft. 9J ins. wide by 1 ft. g\ ins. deep. Late fifteenth centur\ .

Victoria and Albert Museum.

Fig. 2b. OAK READING DESK

3 (t. 2}. ins. high by 2 ft. 9J ins. wide by 1 ft. g\ ins. deep. Late fifteenth centur\ .

Victoria and Albert Museum.

1540 to 1560, when the former Gothic designers were roaming the highways or lurking in the forests of England as vagabonds and outlaws.

The dole cupboard, Fig. 37, said to have come from Ivychurch, an old house at Alderbury in \\ iltshire, but probably looted from a monastery at the Dissolution, is earlier, and better than the preceding. To begin with, it is low, not as high as an ordinary table, and has little or none of the appearance of a cupboard cut down. It has the usual central door (it is to be noted that double doors shutting together do not appear, in English furniture, until the close of the seventeenth century) pierced with geometrical devices, and the broad front styles or uprights are traceried in rude Gothic forms without cusping. The vertical mouldings are merely gouge-channels, very different from the scratched mouldings of Fig. 36. This dole cupboard was probably intended to stand on a raised platform or table in the chancel, to contain gifts of the charitable, such as loaves,

Fig. 28,
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