Kentish Woodwork Types

It is merely an example of the school of designing and carving which both helped to found, as exemplified in much of the woodwork in St. Paul's Cathedral and elsewhere.

The Renaissance of the South-West, whether in clerical or in secular woodwork, is nearly always richer in detail than in the East of England. It is also, as a rule, exceedingly varied, yet possessing marked characteristics which are typical and recognisable. Such examples as the fine Wrey pew in Tawstock Church, Fig. 68, may be cited as representative of the expression of the French Renaissance in Devonshire, examples of which have already been illustrated in the Exeter panellings, Figs. 312 to 316, Vol. I. So closely was the style assimilated, and so fine in execution and full in design are manv of these Devonshire examples, that the hand of the French carver and designer has •often been suspected, and with reason. In spite of this foreign character, very strong in such details as the balusters supporting the tester of this rich pew, there is 110 question as to its English origin, although French collaboration may be granted in its designing.

The Kentish and Eastern Sussex types of pulpits are not so defined as those of East Anglia, and this is due as much to a multiplicity of influences, and even of work imported from other countries, as to spontaneity in creation, with either no antecedent fashions or a mere jumble of details gathered from many sources. Thus the Gothic panel now in the back of a chair at Frittenden, Fig. 69, which may have been a pulpit panel, is strongly permeated with influence from Northern France or the Low Countries. The Gothic in church woodwork is rarely local, in the strict sense of the word. True, certain forms were adopted as favourite motives in certain parts of England at particular periods, but the influence both of the Church and of its workmen was too widespread before 1530 to allow of the style becoming localised in definite districts. It is comparatively easy, for example, to illustrate Gothic woodwork from Lancashire and to cite this as the Midland type, but this can only be done by ignoring other woodwork from a county far removed which exhibits similar designing influence. That the Gothic woodworkers

Late sixteenth century. Capt. The Hon. Richard Legh.

Late sixteenth century. Capt. The Hon. Richard Legh.

copied from one another is obvious, and that this copying was from other examples which were readily accessible,—in the same county or district,—in the great majority of instances, is comprehensible, but to say that a locality such as Wales or the Southwestern Counties,—where the Gothic does develop on very individual lines,—has its own style, meaning that there are no similar manifestations of it elsewhere, is sheerly absurd.

In its treatment of the Renaissance, Kent is much more individual than with the Gothic. At Biddenden, Figs. 71 and 72, is a pulpit which shows the characteristically Kentish treatment of the strap-and-jewel ornament which was imported from the outlying districts or suburbs of London.

Aldington, Fig. 70, has a fine and boldly carved pulpit, with the representation of the pelican feeding her young with blood from her breast,—styled, in heraldry, " a pelican in her piety,"—but it is doubtful if this, and other woodwork with which the

Late sixteenth century. Capt. The Hon. Richard Legh.

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