Has been abandoned as being of lesserBSttWI

  1. During the seventeenth century, articles of furniture began to increase, both in amount and variety. Apart from the era of building that commenced about 1510 and lasted, with little intermission, until almost the end of the eighteenth century (a list of important houses from 1510 to 1790 could be made with no lapse of as much as a decade between the completion of the one and the commencement of another), which gave a great impetus to the craft of the furniture maker, there was gradually emerging from the ranks of the artisans a middle class that also demanded furniture for houses of the lesser type. For such
  2. 237. OAK CHAIR.

1640-50.

Messrs. Gregory and Co.

the interesting chair shown in Fig. 232 was probably made. The wood is hickory, with the top rails of the back inlaid with herringbone stringing of walnut and bog oak, surrounding the device " S.G. 1633. S.C." The uprights of the back originally finished with small turned vases, similar ornaments of smaller size being fixed to the top rail immediately above each of the five spindles, but these have all disappeared. The panel of the back is inlaid with the five-diamond device (see Fig. 221), in lime and bog oak. The chair has been upholstered on seat and arms at a later date, which may account for the arm-terminal scrolls being cut off.

It is difficult to imagine how the ends of arms could be broken off, fashioned, as thejr are, from the long-grain of the timber. Even if the scrolling were to break across the short-grain, the actual arm-length would not be affected. Fig. 233 has suffered in the same way, and its three finials on the uprights and the centre of the cresting are missing. The panel of the back is unusually choice for a chair of this class ; carved with a conventional rendering of the carnation, the dahlia, the Tudor rose and the acorn, all on the one central stem. Some family significance may attach to this choice, but, without indication, it is obscure.

One of the fine chairs from the Lady Chapel of St. Albans Abbey is shown in Fig. 234, which, at first glance, bears a resemblance to the one shown with it on the same page, Fig. 235. Both have the heavy horizontal top rail to the back,, projecting over two carved brackets on the sides of the back uprights. The design of the arm is the same in each. There are points of difference, however, which may be pointed out with advantage. Both chairs have lost their original cresting; had this been present, the casual resemblance between the two would not have been so Fig. 268. marked. The first has the type of key-

oak chair. cornered framing of the back, which was c. 1660. st. \ibans Abbey. borrowed from the Low Countries about

1650-60, and was rarely nsed other than by East Anglian designers. To complete the pattern of this back, one must imagine a central Danel of upright rectangular form framed with a chamfered moulding or field. The front legs are turned in the form of columns, well cut in at the necks and bases. The carving motif of the seat and back rails is purely geometrical in inspiration. The cushion-moulding of the top rail of the back is not the original form, but the carved members above and below it belong to the chair.

There is one detail which many of the chairs of this date exhibit in common—the gouge cuts, or " fingering," which is a relic of the Gothic period. It will be noticed in the hickory chair, Fig. 232, in the arches and pilasters of Fig. 233, in fctl' '*» the cutting of the conventional leaf '<

on the back uprights above the . ju iunction of the arm in the chair flf - - —"»^»r; v

BfiSiWffllTs ? 1 c which we are considering, and, 111 «|',<» ogf * ' &

the next example, in the lower rail ^flar^P^ill fllfc

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