Sixteenthcentury Oak Chest With Panel Of Earlier Date

The panel is mid-fifteenth century.

manner of the mid-fifteenth-centurv great windows, and there is no trace of the cusping which is so marked on the next example, Fig. 19, a chest from the Lady Chapel of St. Michael's Parish Church at Coventry. This is a typical late fifteenth-century Church muniment or vestment chest of large size and great weight. The ends are closely frame-braced over solid sides, and the front with its uprights is richly ornamented. Here again, it will be noticed that the front panel only is ecclesiastical in character, the uprights being rosetted in diamond tracery with a swan or other bird in the central panel. The top is nearly two and a half inches in thickness, of straight-cut oak, with tongued clamps at the ends. The side framings and the hasps are bolted through with large wrought-iron nails. The two locks are of a later date. For its age, this chest is in wonderful preservation. It is one of the earliest examples known where the uprights are prolonged to act as feet, with a shaped apron uniting them on the front.

OAK CABINET, PROBABLY FRENCH OR BURGUNDIAN.

4 ft. 3 ins. wide by 3 ft. 2 ins. high by 2 ft of in. back to front.

Late fifteenth century. W. Smedlev Aston. Esq.

OAK CABINET, PROBABLY FRENCH OR BURGUNDIAN.

4 ft. 3 ins. wide by 3 ft. 2 ins. high by 2 ft of in. back to front.

Late fifteenth century. W. Smedlev Aston. Esq.

Before dismissing the subject of these chests of elaborate kind but of questionable nationality, one example, now in Christchurch Museum at Ipswich, is illustrated in Fig. 20, together with another, which strongly resembles it, in Crediton Church, Devonshire, Figs. 21 and 22. The Ipswich chest has not been improved by the later plinth with the carved inscription above it. Both these chests areBof the Flamboyant Gothic of the close of the fifteenth or the commencement of the sixteenth centuries, and of French origin, but, possibly, from the provinces which had remained English, in ideas if not in actual fact, at this date. It cannot be suggested that these fine chests were either made in England or under English supervision, although the central panel of the Ipswich chest is carved with the English lion. This, however, is a later insertion, the coat being that of the town of Ipswich. Both examples are certainly not prior to 1500 in date, but at this period the Italian Renaissance was dominating the woodwork of France.

They may, on the other hand, have been imported from the Low Countries, which would account, in some measure, for the Flamboyant Gothic as late as 1500- 20. This hypothesis is preferable to ascribing a date in the fifteenth century, even although the Gothic character is more French than Flemish, both in design and execution.

Another example from the Christchurch Museum, Fig. 23, is typical Touraine work of the early sixteenth century, but this may have been, and probably was, imported as a chest-front, only the front and the two end panels being actual work of the period.

If it be difficult to postulate a country of origin for a chest, with a carved front strongly suggestive of French workmanship, but where the top, sides and back may have been, and probably were, made in this country, there can be little or no doubt regarding the 17

Fig. 17. OUTDOOR PANEL.

Late fifteenth century.

Fig. 17. OUTDOOR PANEL.

Late fifteenth century.

17J ins. high by 13 ins. wide. Late fifteenth century. 11.—n

17J ins. high by 13 ins. wide. Late fifteenth century. 11.—n fine walnut chest illustrated in Fig. 24. Not only is the wood foreign,' but the chest bears the arms of Henry II when Dauphin of France, together with his motto, " Donex totum impleat orbe." The top is domed in the manner of the thirteenth century, before described, but here it is constructed, in cooper-jointing, not hewn from solid timber as in the case of the earlier examples. The front is finely carved in representation of a joust or actual combat, and at each corner are caryatid figures modelled in the fine manner of the Italian Renaissance. It is possible, considering the period of this chest,—which can be stated within narrow limits,- that one of the contemporaries of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) if not the master himself, may have had something to do with its designing, as we know that Francis I was a liberal and cultured patron of Italian artists and craftsmen of his period. There is real spontaneity and inspiration evident in this chest as compared with the skilful but

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Responses

  • priamus
    Where do i find the date on an oak ches?
    7 years ago

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