There is another reason why pulpits prior to the end of the sixteenth century are useless for the purpose which is intended here. They are rarely, if ever, true to the type of their period. It is common knowledge that the Gothic style has, in many localities, a fixed association with the Church, and any furnishings, whether of wood or metal, are, in design, limited to that style. There would be little to complain of, as a rule, were the Gothic properly understood, but, unfortunately, in nearly every instance, it is the worst possible travesty of the style which ignorance and the commands of economy can devise.
That this practice of using the Gothic long after the introduction of the Renaissance had ousted it from general favour, even in churches, was still followed, is shown by such examples as at St. John's, Henley-in-Arden, Fig. 52, and Bramford, Fig. 53, where the panel-details of tracery or linenfold are early sixteenth century in style, while the system of framing and the moulding-sections indicate almost the other end of the century.
Fig. 49. Oak Cabinet Inlaid With Various Woods. - German, early seventeenth century. - Capt. The Hon. Richard Legh.
Fig. 50. The Cabinet (Fig. 49) Shown Open.
It is the Renaissance pulpits which are valuable for our purpose, as data for comparisons with secular furniture, as these pulpits were, as a rule, made in the height of the fashions current at the time. St. Nicholas Church at Ipswich has a pulpit, Fig. 54, of early seventeenth-century date and East Anglian or Home County in style. A comparison of this with the mantels from Lime Street, Figs. 332 to 335, Vol. I, and those from Eltham, Figs. 339 to 341, Vol. I, will show how the secular and the clerical examples corroborate each other. It is possible, - in fact, it is extremely probable, - that a pulpit of this elaborate kind was made in London or its neighbourhood. To state that this manner of using pilasters with downward taper, bosses or split-balusters of bog oak or fruit-woods, applied fretwork and architectural frames or tablets of key-cornered mouldings surmounted by pediments, either with or without akroteria, is a London style in its inception, can only be an error of too great a constriction of locality. If expanded to include parts of Essex, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Northern Kent, the statement may be regarded as more exact in application.
Yaxley pulpit, Fig. 55, shows the East Anglian use of the pilastered arcade and the split baluster, in conjunction with the gadroon. Occold, Fig. 56, Earl Stonham, Fig. 57, and Kelsale, Figs. 58 and 59, are all East Anglian pulpits of a general style familiar in chest and coffer-fronts of their period or somewhat later. Kelsale has a fine pulpit, shown in larger scale in Fig. 59, which will repay close examination. There are details, from the dawn of the Renaissance in England down to the first quarter of the seventeenth century, which are used together with charming effect.
Great Bealings, Figs. 60 and 61, with its fine canopy, Brandeston, Fig. 62, of plain type, but made from quartered oak of choice figure, Stonham Aspel, Fig. 63, reminiscent of the panelled and arcaded chests of the first Restoration years, Witnesham, Fig. 64, which shows the reintroduction of the split-baluster coupled with the chamfered moulding and recessed panel, and St. Mary Quay, Ipswich, Fig. 65, which closes this series of East Anglian Stuart pulpits, are all typical of their date and locality. Tower Church, Ipswich, Fig. 66, has the Wren type of pulpit which may be of Suffolk, Essex or London make. At this date the classical manner in woodwork, which may be said to commence with the later years of Inigo Jones, tends to fuse the styles of many counties into one, and it is difficult to dissociate the work of each by the criterion of design only. An even more ornate and striking example of this Wren manner in pulpits can be seen at Attle-borough in Norfolk, Fig. 67. The association of Wren and Gibbon is plainly evident here, although the design is, probably, not the work of the one nor the carving of the other.
Fig. 51. Oak And Walnut Inlaid Chest. - 4 ft. 1 1/2 ins. wide by 2 ft. 2 ins. high by 1 ft. 8 ins. deep, back to front. - Date about 1640. John Dupuis Cobbold, Esq.
Fig. 52. St. John's, Henley-In-Arden. - Warwickshire type of 1550.
Fig. 53. Bramford, Suffolk. - The East Anglian type of 1590.
Fig. 54. St. Nicholas, Ipswich. - The East Anglian baluster-and-jewel type of 1600-10.
Fig. 55. Yaxley, Suffolk. - The baluster-and-jewel type of 1610.
Fig. 56. Occold, Suffolk. - The East Anglian arcaded type of 1610-20.
Fig. 57. Earl Stonham, Suffolk. - The Arcaded and Bossed type of 1610.