Sectional Detail Of The Oak Wainscotting Above

LAVENHAM GUILD HALL, THE PORCH.

Oak moulded wainscotting. Late fifteenth century.

served in relieving the bareness of walls of stone or timber and plaster. As will be remarked later on, in the instance of the development of the chest or coffer, there is' every reason to believe that a new and lesser class of woodworkers,—the huchers, or box-makers,- arose at the close of the fifteenth century, and they were, probably, the makers of the first wainscotting in secular houses. The carpenter was still responsible for the structural timber work, and was employed for the high-class interior joinery in wealthy houses.

The late fifteenth-century Great Hall screen, a fragment of which is shown in

OAK-PANELLED ROOM FROM PAYCOCKES, COGGESHALL, ESSEX.

Late fifteenth or early sixteenth century.

OAK-PANELLED ROOM FROM PAYCOCKES, COGGESHALL, ESSEX.

Late fifteenth or early sixteenth century.

XToel Buxton. Esq.

Fig. 260, is a typical example of high-grade carpentry of its period. This photograph was taken before it was restored, beyond recognition as a Great Hall screen, b}- a former West-country joiner of greater vigour than knowledge. As it is illustrated here, it is not difficult to reconstruct it, in imagination, and in Fig. 261 it is shown in its hypo-theticalh original state.

The design is typical of its period, and the work is of high quality. Originally from the Old Manor House of Brightleigh, X. Devon, the shields in the central portion are painted with the arms of Gifford. The three stages of the linenfold pattern, from the simple to the elaborate, are shown in each panel. Even in the state as illustrated here, the screen shows evidences of restoration. Thus the left-hand panel of the right-hand section is reversed, with the simple form at the top, instead of the bottom, as in every other instance. That the central fragment is only one-half of the original (as suggested in the drawing) is shown by the fact that the right-hand muntin is, really, a complete central mullion, in which case three panels are missing. The left-hand portion shows the commencement of the springing of the door-arch. The reverse side of the screen is nearly as elaborate as the one shown here, and this, in conjunction with the small spy-holes in the upper portion of the last two panels, show, conclusively, that it was a Great Hall screen in its original state. The panels and mullions have rotted at their bases, and the threshold has perished.

Many theories have been advanced as to the origin of the linenfold in the decoration of panels. It has been suggested, with some plausibility, that the device may have been

Fig. 270. OAK MOULDED PANELLING.

Late fifteenth century-2 I 241

Fig. 270. OAK MOULDED PANELLING.

Late fifteenth century-2 I 241

copied from the curling of the parchment, which was frequently glued to the backs of painted panels to stiffen them, and as some security against cracking. Parchment, being somewhat of a greasy nature, would not adhere readily to an oak panel, and would have a tendency to curl up from its outside edges, and thus present the form of a simple linenfold. Decorative devices of this kind, however, have nearly always a useful basis, and it is more reasonable to suppose that the first panels were made with a central stiffening ridge (as in Fig. 223) which developed, gradually7, into the vertical moulded panel, and from thence, by carving at each end, the folding and curling of linen was imitated as a form of ornament. There is no doubt that, by its use, especially as the sawmg of panel stuff was not performed with any great degree of accuracy at this period, a thin panel acquired a stability which it would not, otherwise, have possessed. The

OAK PANELLING FROM A FARMHOUSE AT KINGSTONE, NEAR TAUNTON (NOW DESTROYED).

OAK PANELLING FROM A FARMHOUSE AT KINGSTONE, NEAR TAUNTON (NOW DESTROYED).

3 ft. 25 ins. high by 4 ft. 7J inf. wide. Late fifteenth century.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

sawing of thin wood must have been a task of some difficulty, even in the early seventeenth century. It is by no means unusual to find panels, as late as 1640, riven instead of sawn, and rubbed smooth 011 their external faces only.

The term " linenfold " should not be used to describe these early vertically-moulded panels, even when the ends of the alternate, rib-and-hollow are cut into decorative shapes. Thus Figs. 262 and 263 are typical linenfold patterns, whereas Figs. 264 and 265 are not. Actually, in the progression of types, the true linenfold is the later, but this does not necessarily imply that vertically-moulded panels are, in reality, earlier in date than those carved in the representation of folds of linen, but merely that the original type persists, and overlaps with the later one. There are two kinds of moulded wains-cotting which are nearly always of the fifteenth, rarely of the sixteenth century ; both of a primitive type which does not continue for many years. The first and the earliest, is a form of wainscotting, without framing, where the vertical boards are moulded, usually with ridge, hollow and quirk-bead in succession, half-lapped, with rebates at the joins, and fixed to the walls, generally with nails, giving the appearance of one large moulded panel to each side of the room, the quirk-beads rendering the. lap-joints, more or less, invisible. An example of this kind can be seen in Lavenham Guild Hall, Figs. 266, 2G7 and 26S. The

Fig. 272. OAK DOORS

Enrlv sixteenth century.

Fig. 272. OAK DOORS

Enrlv sixteenth century.

Albert Cubitt, Esq.

Fig. 273. OAK PANELLING.

The type which was used concurrently with the linenfold patterns.

Early sixteenth century.

W. Smedley Aston, Esq.

boarding is stiffened by a capping rail and a small skirting, neither of which is original, here. When the term " wainscotting " is used, in documents of the fifteenth century, it is usually this method of boarding which is implied.

The other early type is shown in the room from Paycockes, Fig. 269. Here the panels are high, divided only by one central rail, the mouldings a succession of hollows and sharp ribs, spear-pointed at top and bottom. This kind of decorative panelling gives a greater appearance of height to a low room than it actually possesses. The small scratch-mouldings, on the styles and rails, in this panelling, are generally mason's-mitred, that is, the rails are butted square into the styles and the mouldings turned and mitred with the carver's gouge, to meet those on the vertical muntins, in the stonemason's fashion. Occasionally, but rarely, these high moulded panels are merely cut off square, to allow of them being grooved into the framing, with the projecting ribs merely chamfered off so as not to project, unduly, over the framing-mouldings.

Fig. 270 is an interesting fragment, as the breakage shows the construction quite clearly. Only the vertical styles are scratch-moulded; the rails are square on the lower and bevelled on their upper edges, with the muntins scribed over them. It will be seen, that with the rebating of the vertical mouldings at the top and bottom, to allow of the insertion of the panel in its grooves, the flat fillet which flanks each panel necessitates square-sectioned rails, so as not to overhang in sharp butt-edges.

Fig. 271 has many characteristics which indicate the late fifteenth century, apart from the geometrical ornament of the capping rail. The panels are moulded, in the foi in of creased parchment tubes, cut at the top end only in a sharp chamfer to heighten the illusion. The panel projects at the bottom over the base-moulding.

It is possible that this system of stiffening panels with vertical ribs may have originated in quite a simple way. Early panels are generally stout and of uneven thickness, especially when the wood is riven instead of sawn. To reduce to an equal gauge at the outer edges, to allow of their insertion in framing-grooves, these panels were chamfered, at the back, this being easier than attempting to reduce the entire panel to an even thickness. The same method is followed at the present day, but in the early panels, these chamfers are, frequently, so flat, that those worked vertically, or with the grain, meet in the panel centre at the back, in a rib. It would be noticed that this method resulted in a marked stiffening of the panel, as compared with one of even

PANELLING IN THE AISLE OF THE CHURCH OF ST. VINCENT, ROUEN.

Showing the influence which affected the panelling in England of the period of Henry Vlll.

Early sixteenth century.

PANELLING IN THE AISLE OF THE CHURCH OF ST. VINCENT, ROUEN.

Showing the influence which affected the panelling in England of the period of Henry Vlll.

Early sixteenth century.

From a drawing by Herbert Cescinsky.

Fig. 275. OAK PANELLING.

Date about 1520-40.

Oreat Fulford, Devon.

thickness throughout and the idea would probably occur to put this ridge on the front of the panel, and to make it an ornamental device. Boxford door, Fig. 223, shows that some such evolution must actually have taken place, as the rib here is hardly a decoration at all. This central ridging also develops in another direction, in that of ■ the parchemin panel, Figs. 272 and 273. Here the ribs, instead of being taken through and carved, at their extreme ends, in such devices as the curls of folding linen, are diverted, in ogival form, to the corners of the panels. The result is a broad diaper effect, the patterns being broken only by tin-styles and the rails. The space left by the double ribs, in shape similar to the vertical section of an aubergine, Fig. 272, was decorated in a variety of ways, by ten-

Fig. 276. OAK PANELLING.

Early sixteenth century.

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