Types Of Baluster Turning Of The Seventeenth And Early Eighteenth Centuries

Victoria and Albert lluseura.


been illustrated. The diagram, Fig. 180, mal be of some little service in tracing this evolution of the turned leg on seventeenth-century tables. A writer of an illustrated book, such as this, who has many photographs before him, a far greater number than it is possible to reproduce in a work of this size, has still the advantage over his readers of being able to trace developments from example to example, which, although evident to him on comparison, cannot be stated other than empirically without the use of lavish illustration to prove his statements, which is here impossible. These twelve examples are not actual copies from existing tables ; the idea has been rather to include several variations in the one type, in order to explain, pictorially, the evolution of form. Thus A must be taken as an example which includes all the bulbous-leg forms of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, where the squares above and below are pared down, almost disproportionately, in order to emphasise the bulb itself. The type which is contained in the one square of wood, without any diminishing of the squares, is shown in B. The development towards the inverted vase-baluster is shown in C, and in D the cup-turning of the later walnut period is suggested. The true Orange balusterleg, with inverted cup, is shown in E, and F is another variation of the same form, found on tables, chairs and the turned-leg stands of marqueterie or veneered chests or cabinets shortly before 1700. G marks a return to the early column-leg, other varieties of which are given in H and I. The vase-baluster, J, can be traced back to the forms of C and D. The reversal of the leg is not such an advance as one would expect, as, in the making of these tables, the legs are received from the turner, to be framed together by the cabinet-maker. At this stage, to view the leg upside down is a procedure which would occur, obviously, and it would be found, in some instances,— as for example in I), -that this reversal might be an advantage rather than a defect. The legs once framed together, as a table, this turning upside down would cease to be a possibility*.

To close this series, Iv may* be taken as representative of the Restoration twist and L of the Commonwealth bobbin-turning. The dates of the inceptions of the various forms have already* been stated, at an earlier stage in this chapter, and recapitulation is unnecessary7 here. This subject of turning, especially* that of lathe twisting, however, is so fascinating, as illustrating not only* the evolution of fashion but also the progression of the art of the wood-turner, that the two remaining pages, Figs. 181 and 182, may be of service, in showing what was achieved by* the aid of the lathe and gouge during the latter half of the seventeenth and the first years of the eighteenth centuries. The illustrations are, for the most part, self-explanatory, and it is hardly7 necessary to point out that the various patterns do not differ, other than in bulk of timber, whether used for the legs of tables or chairs, the balusters of stairs or the stands of cabinets.

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