Oak Chimneypiece

The stone lining is carved with the arms of the Huxleys of Edmonton.

Date about 1610. Victoria and Albert Museum.

may be found in Lord Treasurer Cromwell's Castle of Tattershall. One of these is illustrated in Fig. 298, refixed at the time of the recent restorations to the Castle. It is from these stone mantels that the early chimney-beams of oak were copied, before the wood mantel acquired its later decorative importance. At the date when Tattershall was built this mantel represented the highest development of chimney decoration. Ralph Cromwell symbolised his elevation to the post of Treasurer of the Exchequer in 1424 by the money-bags which are carved in each of the corner panels. Waynflete was, probably, the designer of both the Castle and its decorations. In selecting stone mantels of

Strap And Jewel Paneling

HEMSTED, KENT. OAK MANTEL.

A reproduction. The panelling of this room is original early-seventeenth-century work.

HEMSTED, KENT. OAK MANTEL.

A reproduction. The panelling of this room is original early-seventeenth-century work.

Viscount Rothermere.

this kind, as models for their carved oak chimney-beams, therefore, the designers of timber houses were copying the finest examples extant at their day.

The earliest attempts at decorating the space above the mantel appear to have consisted of plaster panels set in flush with the wall-face. The flue and chimney breast, even in timber houses, were, of course, constructed either in brick or stone, and, while vertical oak stud-work ma\ have had a certain decorative effect, it was dangerous to use it over the mantel. It is exceptional, however, to find any attempt at embellishing

Early English Carved Panel
Fig. 331. CARVED OAK PANEL

3 ft. 3} ins. wide by 2 ft. 10J ins. nigh. Late sixteenth or early seventeenth century.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

Fig. 332. Fig.t 333i

OAK MANTELS FROM LIME STREET, CITY OF LONDON

Date about 1620. Victoria and Albert Museum.

this space before the latter half of the sixteenth century. As a general rule, rooms were low, and mantels high, with very little space above them for more than a single row of panels, if the room was completed with panelling to the ceiling. These flush plaster panels or overmantels were very popular in Lancashire, Derbyshire and Cheshire from about 1570 to 1600, and were frequently enriched with colours. Fig. 299 may be regarded as typical of this period and district. The heraldry of the coats in the shields of these plaster panels is often false. To this date belong many of the allusive coats which puzzle the heralds of the present day.

The oak mantel develops in size and prominence very rapidly towards the close of the sixteenth century. In Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Lancashire there is a strong tendency towards an almost barbaric richness of ornament, coupled with the adoption of a type at a date much later than its fashion in other counties. Fig. 300, now in Rablake Schools, was formerly in the Coventry house of Sir Orlando Bridgman. At its removal the original jambs were replaced with others of quite simple fashion. The peculiarity of the later Midland development of the sixteenth-century Renaissance can be studied in this chimney-piece. The detail is coarse, an effect which must have been accentuated when the overmantel possessed its original heavy cornice.

OAK MANTEL FROM LIME STREET, CITY OF LONDON.

6 ft. wide. Date about 1620.

OAK MANTEL FROM LIME STREET, CITY OF LONDON.

6 ft. wide. Date about 1620.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

If there be such a style, in woodwork, as Elizabethan, then the arcaded panels, with the arches flattened, and centred by keystones with turned pendants beneath, and the shields below framed in paper-scrolling, may be described as being a Midland County perpetuation of that manner in a mantel of the seventeenth century.1 It is hardly correct, however, to state that English woodwork in the Midlands had become sufficiently homogeneous at this period to admit of any such style-classification ; each district or county appears to have possessed its own manner, although such details as the arcaded panel appear in them all, and persist for nearly a century.

As illustrating this richness of ornamentation in the Midlands at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and, at the same time the use of an earlier style, the three overmantels from Lyme Park, Figs. 301 to 303, may be given as examples. Unfortunately, these are merely castings from originals which have disappeared, probably when Leoni rebuilt the house. How much he added is also conjectural. At the date, about 1603, when Sir Piers Legh built Lyme as his habitation, a considerable amount of fine woodwork must have been put in, judging from the original fragments of panelling and staircases which still exist in the Leoni house. That some desire must have been felt to preserve as much of this old house as was possible, consistent with its considerable enlargement in all directions, is indicated by the central portion of the entrance front, Figs. 304 and 306, which has been rebuilt with the old stones, marred, however, by the classical windows which Leoni inserted. Fig. 305 shows Leoni's central courtyard, and it will be seen that no fragment of the original house remains on these elevations. A feature here is the size of the

1 This mantel is dated 1629. The general style is earlier, however, even for Warwickshire.

Fig. 335. OAK PANEL AND PILASTERS.

Height 5 ft. S ins. ; width 4 ft. 1 in. First half of the seventeenth century.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

THE HOUSE OF SIR PAUL PINDAR, FORMERLY IN BISHOPSGATE WITHOUT.

Built 1600. Demolished 1890.

THE HOUSE OF SIR PAUL PINDAR, FORMERLY IN BISHOPSGATE WITHOUT.

Built 1600. Demolished 1890.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

panes in the sash-barring of the windows, all of fine crown glass, and all intact. This glass is of beautiful colour, with the whirling marks visible in every pane.

It is idle to conjecture why the originals of these fine overmantels were not preserved.1 The plaster copies are richly coloured and emblazoned, but it is impossible to imagine that these are the mantels of the early-seventeenth-century house. The original chimney-pieces must have been removed while the house was being rebuilt, and, with plaster, this would have been impossible. It is more reasonable to suppose that the originals were in sctilptured stone, and were incapable of being removed without breakage, and before taking them down these plaster copies were made. Lyme is in a stone county ; there are stone outcrops everywhere in the Park, and Sir Piers Leglj may have chosen the more accessible, and more durable, material for his mantelpieces, with the idea that his house would persist for a period considerably longer than a century. He had not reckoned with changes of taste, or desires for vast rooms of great height, which his Jacobean house could not satisfy. These plaster overmantels, copies as they may be, are exceptionally interesting nevertheless, as showing the rich work which was put into a Knight's country house in the first years of the reign of James I.

The oak overdoor from Rotherwas, in County Hereford, Fig. 307, is a good example of the Flemish Renaissance development, in the Welsh bordering counties, at the close of the sixteenth century. Here we

1 There is the possibility that these plaster overmantels are actual originals from the old house of Lyme. In their present state of later emblazonry, it is impossible to say. If original, they have been both repaired and added to, either Kv Leoni, or at a later date. The mantels below appear to be from his designs.

Fig. 337

SHERARD HOUSE, ELTHAM, KENT.

Fig. 337

SHERARD HOUSE, ELTHAM, KENT.

have the coarse, fretwork ornamented with strap-and-jewel and pierced pinnacles, in the manner which permeated Lancashire, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire and Herefordshire very thoroughly at this period, especially in the designing of staircases such as at .Aston Hall. The arms carved on this overdoor are those of Bodenham quartering Baskerville. The shield of the Bodenhams, with its twenty-five quarterings, is illustrated in Fig. 346.

The custom of making wall panellings, with the join of the sections masked by carved pilasters, appears to have originated at the very close of the sixteenth century, and to have been very general throughout England. At an earlier period an)' joins in the lateral rails of panellings were frankly made, scarfed together with no attempt at concealment. In Derbyshire, Cheshire and Lancashire, the usual plan appears to have been to make both the panellings and the pilasters in two distinct lateral sections or stages, divided by a moulded surbase or dado-rail, as at Tissington, Fig. 308, and Lyme, Fig. 309. The same system was adopted, in a different manner, in the case of the East Anglian woodwork of this date. In the Tissington panelling this arrangement is better indicated, the fluted pilasters with moulded-panel bases having both dado and skirting mitred round in the one unbroken lateral line. At Lyme, the panelling, originally that of a Long Gallery, has been very badly adapted to the present drawing-room, with the stages of the pilasters not in vertical line, and the whole effect marred by the enormous angle-pilaster which is fixed to the junction of the compass-window recess with the flank wall, and which cuts the panelling up in a very unfortunate manner. Yet this wood-

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