Dated theff J

this example, the initials HJ

" J.E.S." and the date 1574 being carved on the cresting rail of the back, an honour shared only with the chest and the standing cupboard. The skirting to the base is a later addition.

Fig. 217. OAK STOOL.

1 ft. 10 ins. long by i ft. 10 ins. high by i ft. i in. deep. Early sixteenth centurj'.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

Sixteenth Century Furniture

Fig. 218. OAK UPHOLSTERED CHAIR

Late sixteenth century. Lord Amherst.

Fig. 218. OAK UPHOLSTERED CHAIR

Late sixteenth century. Lord Amherst.

Jacobean Farthingale Chair

Fig. 219 OAK INLAID CHAIR.

Date about 1590-1 Goo.

Fig. 219 OAK INLAID CHAIR.

Date about 1590-1 Goo.

THE BACK OF THE CHAIR, FIG. 219.

(See next page for sizes.) Barking Church, Suffolk.

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CHAIR, FIG. 219.

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CHAIR, FIG. 219.

Floor to top of straight capping rail, 4 ft. 1 in.

Seat cushion moulding, 3i ins.

Frieze panel of back (including mouldings), 5] ins. Back, outside uprights, 1 ft. iof ins. wide Back panel, outside pilasters, 1 ft. 5J ins. wide. Extreme over front of seat, 2 ft. 4J ins. wide. Outside squares of front legs, 2 ft. ijj ins. wide. Depth over front and back legs, 1 ft. 5I ins. Pitch from seat line to top of capping, 4J ins.

The chair being a rare article of furniture during the sixteenth century and almost unknown in the fifteenth, the usual seat was either the long or short stool. Even after the Restoration, when chairs were made in considerable numbers, the stool maintained its popularity, owing, possibly-, to its greater portability. Oak chairs are heavy pieces, as, apart from the intrinsic weight of the wood itself,—• which is, approximately, double that of walnut,—chairs until the Restoration were heavily made and framed. It is partly- due to this fact, no doubt, that so many- have persisted to our day in good preservation.

Fig. 222. OAK STOOL.

Date about 1600.

Fig. 222. OAK STOOL.

Date about 1600.

The early stools, from the mid-fifteenth to the early sixteenth century, are usually of the one type, with solid ends, held together with deep framing-pieces halved into the trestles, and with tops pegged to the framing and supports. Fig. 216 from Barningham Hall is a long stool of this kind, dating from about 1450-60. The front " apron " is cut out in the form of eight ogival arches, the two in the centre, only, being cusped, and this is original, no signs being visible of cuspings on the other archings. This form, which was discovered in the stables of the Hall, is very complete for its period. The present building only dates from about 1612, but it was erected on the site of a much earlier house, to the furnishings of which this long stool probably belonged, or it may have formed a part of the possessions of Sir William Paston, who acquired the old manor house of the Winter family, on the site of which he erected his new hall.

The date assigned to this piece, by the Museum Authorities, that of the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, is somewhat early, as the form of the trestle ends is later than the _ _

pattern of the cusped arches, and it is the latest feature which establishes a period. The cusping also,

Fig. 223. OAK UPHOLSTERED CHAIR.

Height, 2 ft. n| irs. ; width, I ft. 10 ins. ; depth, I ft. 9J ins.

c. 1600. Victoria and Albert Museum.

is more mannered than one would expect, at least in the late fourteenth century. It is safer, therefore, to ascribe a date towards the middle of the fifteenth century rather than at its beginning. The back rail of this form, which is missing, but of which indications remain, was probably a plain board, as the cutting of the back of the trestle-ends suggest that the piece was made to stand against a wall.

The early sixteenth-century type of single stool, such as was the usual seat at table for meals, is shown in Fig. 217. This is a full expression of the manner and constructive methods of its time. The turned leg does not appear on stools or chairs until the very close of the sixteenth century. It is somewhat earlier in the case of tables.

It must not be assumed that the art of the wood-turner was not known in Tudor times. Actually, in some of the inventories of the mid-sixteenth century, certain

Yorkshire Chair Tudor

OAK CHAIRS

OAK CHAIRS

Midland Type.

Date about 1620. • Victoria and Albert Museum.

" turneyed " chairs are mentioned. These will be again referred to at a later stage in this chapter, with the reasons why no examples of the original early period appear to have survived.

While upholstered chairs and settees became usual in wealthy houses towards the end of the reign of James I,—the well-known examples from Knole Park are representative of this period,- the fashion for upholstery first

Fig. 227. OAK CHAIR

Date about 1640.

St. Michael's Church, St. Albans.

OAK CHAIR.

Date about 1630.

St Michael's Church, St. Albans.

Fig. 227. OAK CHAIR

Date about 1640.

St. Michael's Church, St. Albans.

OAK CHAIR.

Date about 1630.

St Michael's Church, St. Albans.

appears to have arisen, in England, in the years from 1590 to 1600. The device of padding with horse-hair or tow, and covering with fabrics, such as silk or velvet, originated from Italy, rather than from France. These upholstered chairs and settees, however, are too rare at any period in England, up to the close of the seventeenth century, to enable any progression of types to be illustrated. Fig. 21S is only given to show an upholstered chair of the

X-form, such as was made in England at a date from 1590 to 1645-50, in very rare instances only, and in houses where a high standard of comfort and luxury was attempted.

Chairs with turned legs, prior to the accession of James I, are very rare, and usually of high quality. The fine chair from Barking Church, Suffolk, here illustrated in Figs. 219 to 221, is one of this late sixteenth-century kind and of East Anglian origin. The use of the

Fig. 228. OAK CHAIR.

Date about 1630-40.

  1. Gregory and Co.
  2. 228. OAK CHAIR.

Date about 1630-40.

Messrs. Gregory and Co.

1630 Dining Great Chair Jacobean

Fig. 229. OAK CHAIR.

Dated 1621.

Fig. 229. OAK CHAIR.

Dated 1621.

pilastered arch in early chair backs and chests nearly* always suggests Norfolk or Suffolk.. Occasionally, especially* in Kent, this arcaded form was adopted, but the arches lack the finish and proportion of those in East Anglian work, and are nearly* always flatter.

In this chair from Barking Church, the seat-rail, of inverted thumb-section, is carved with the late form of Elizabethan strap-work. The front legs are turned, with flutes, 174

of light wood, inlaid in the shafts, with the arm-balusters to correspond. The arms sweep downward in a graceful line, and finish, on their supports, in well-carved volutes. The central panel, and frieze of the backs, are inlaid with holly and other woods cut into the solid oak. Of this inlay, the central vase has fallen out and been replaced with a piece of plain veneer, cut to the original shape. The cup-like finials, which are later additions, were, probably, of the same form as this vase, and may have been inlaid with llutes, in the same way as the arm-balusters. The arch of the back is in flattened ovolo-section, finely carved with strapping and scrolling. The small ogee cornice breaks forward over carved trusses, finished 011 the uprights of the back-framing with laterally fluted scrolls. The lunetted cresting is a later addition, or a replacement, crude in

Fig. 230 OAK CHAIR-TABLE.

Date about 1650. 175

Fig. 230 OAK CHAIR-TABLE.

Date about 1650. 175

every way, compared with the rich and finely-designed chair below. The shaping of the under-side of the arm remains a popular pattern for half a century. It will be noticed again in Figs. 234 and 235, two chairs some fifty years later in date.

The very charming little stool, Fig. 222, similar both in design and county of origin to the chair from Barking Church, may be described as the 1600 type. The inverted thumb-moulded frieze, carved with a centred gadroon, is applied over the upper squares of the delicately-turned and fluted legs. The stretcher-railing is kept low to give the maximum of strength.

Upholstered chairs of the kind shown in Fig. 223, usually known as farthingale chairs, were not unusual in great houses shortly after 1600. In the Presence Chamber at Hardw ick is a large set, with backs so dwarfed as to suggest that the chair was intended for use sideways, with the low back acting as an arm. The theory that these backs were provided as a concession to the large hooped skirts of the period is not tenable, as any back would incommode a lady dressed in this manner, whether high or low. That the stretcher-rails were used, apart from their constructional purpose, to keep the feet from the floors

the oak chair-table, fig. 230

Shown with top raised.

the oak chair-table, fig. 230

Shown with top raised.

of this period,- -which were often in a questionable state of cleanliness,- is more probable, but no chair-railing could obviate the ordeal of entering or leaving a room. Perhaps avenues in the rush-strewn floors were provided for ladies, or those who were over-nice in their habits.

These early padded back chairs, with squab-cushioned seats, were nearly always covered with rich fabrics, often an applique of gold or silver braiding on a ground of cut-pile velvet, generally of Italian, but sometimes of French origin. That these coverings were imported is suggested bv^lthe ^fact that petit-pon^t ^leedle-- ^ ^

of gorgeous fabrics commences, after ^^

the Huguenots had been expelled from France with fire and sword. At the commencement of the sixteenth century7, upholstery fabrics of any kind must have been exceptional, even in the houses of the wealthy, if we except

  1. -2 A 177
  2. 232. HICKORY ARM-CHAIR.

Dated 1633.

Height of back from floor, 3 ft. Height of seat, 17J ins. Width of seat at front, 221 ins. Width of seat at back, iS ins. Depth of seat, front to back, 16 ins.

the state or principal bedchambers, the only apartments in which some degree of luxury was attempted at this period, as we have seen in the concluding chapter of the first volume of this work.

Two versions of the Midland type of arm-chair of James I period are illustrated in Figs. 224 and 225. The backs are of one panel, framed up, the top rails with low cresting cut from the solid. The legs are baluster-turned, and tied with moulded stretcher-rails. The seats are thin, cut round the squares connecting the front legs with the arm-balusters, with a small overhang, in Fig. 225 taken across the squares, but in Fig. 224 only cut between them.

Lancashire and Cheshire appear to have adopted the four petal Tudor rose and the interlacing guilloche as favourite design motives. Yorkshire chairs differ in many respects from those of Lancashire. In much the same manner as with clocks in the later eighteenth century, the Yorkshire oak chair of this early seventeenth century7 is generally clumsy, with crude carving in low relief.

In Figs. 226 and 227, two chairs from St. Michael's Church, St. Albans, the general character is unusual. This is due, in great measure, to omissions and additions due to decay and restoration. Thus, the lunette panel in the cresting of the first is carved in the manner of a century later. The original top rail of the back is below this, and has lost its small trusses at each end. The central panel of the back is coarsely carved with a representation of a winged angel holding a chalice, and appears to be earlier work. The legs and armbalusters are in the manner of the early Fig 233. years of the reign of Charles I. The back oak chair. stretcher-rail is missing. There is so

w. smediey Aston, Esq. much that is exceptional and not original 17s

Chair 1650

Fig. 235. OAK CHAIR.

Date about 1650-60.

to the chair, that it is impossible to postulate its locality of origin. It may be said, however, that it is not of the west or middle England types. Fig. 227 has lost its stretcher-railing entirely, and the feet are badly decayed. It is somewhat later in style than Fig. 226, and is of pronounced East Anglian character. It may be as well to notice here, that the arms of both of these chairs are of almost identical pattern. The over

Fig. 234. OAK CHAIR.

Date about 1660.

Fig. 235. OAK CHAIR.

Date about 1650-60.

hanging back rails of both are without the original small trusses.

Whether chairs of this kind were made for Church use is problematical; many are to be found flanking altar tables in small churches throughout England. It may be that their dignity, which wasstillmaintained during the first half of the seventeenth century*, caused them to be bequeathed, as valuedpossessions,to theChurch. In sacred buildings, as a rule, chairs are finer and in better preservation than in private hands. This may be owing to the fact that the best were given to the Church in the original instance, and they have been more carefully preserved, and certainly less used, than would be the rule in secular houses.

  1. 228 is the Cheshire type of oak chair of about 1630 -40. The carving is in low relief, with a peculiarly soft modelled effect. There is hardly a trace of vigorous cutting, with the gouge, anywhere. The back panel is coarsely7 incised. The chair has lost its original board seat, its place being taken by a squab-cushion. The trusses, or earpieces to the uprights of the back framing will be noticed here. They will be found in nearly every example of these Stuart oak chairs, from 1610 to about 1660.
  2. 229 is the work of the Welsh bordering counties, probably of Shrewsbury make. It has its original cresting, with the date 1621 carved to flank a guilloche-framed semicircular panel, scrolled at the bottom and cut with a conventional vine tendril with leaves and grapes. The interlacing guilloche pattern is used for the styles and rails of the back framing, the bottom rail of which is a replacement. The sides of the seat framing project above the seat, which is thus sunk to receive a squab-cushion. The eagle-pinnacles, which surmount the side uprights of the back, are well conceived and executed, and give a fitting finish to a very stately chair. The columnar type of leg and armbaluster, as in this chair, does not indicate either the maimer of a locality or a defined period. It was adopted in Lancashire, Somerset, Kent, Hertfordshire and East Anglia, frequently alternating with a severely modified form of the Tudor bulb, and persists, as a favourable design, until about 1685. It may be described as the characteristic seventeenth-century7 front leg of English oak chairs of that

OAK CHAIR.

1660-70.

Chelsworth Church, Suffolk.

1 So

Elizabethan Guilloche Chair

period. The modified form of the bulb-leg can be seen in the remarkable oak chair-table shown in Figs. 230 and 231. The top is formed of three boards, nearly two inches in thickness, clamped at the ends. The under side, which forms the visible back of the chair when raised, is carved with a double-headed crested eagle resting on a scrolled base, all cut from the solid wood, framed round with a narrow moulding. The top has two stout runners which are pivoted on the arm rests. Below the seat is a drawer pulling out on grooves and runners. This piece is of western-midland make and, in spite of the early appearance of the carved back, is probably of mid-seventeenth-century date. The title of a monk's bench for chairs of this kind is a misnomer ; monks had almost ceased to exist in England when they were made.

To illustrate the chairs of this period in a regular order of progression as s^v^S

regards their dates, and at the same

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