One fine type, and probably of south-western origin, is the court cupboard shown in Fig. 107. The carving is in very low relief, in some instances, as in the styles between the upper doors, almost of chip-carved character, and the ornament is employed in the form of long bands, of which there are six from the existing portion of the top cresting to the bottom guilloche-carved rail of the lower carcase. The bulbs are heavy and plain, without squares either at the top or bottom, and secured merely by dowels. The provision of two drawers above the lower doors is unusual in these cupboards, and the raised bead or jewel decoration of the fronts is exceptional in the work of the southwestern counties. There is a fine subdued richness in the whole character of this example which is almost typical of Devonshire or Somerset work. The same character can be noticed in the oak bedstead from Great Fulford, shown in Fig. 396 of Vol. I.
Fig. 112. Oak Court Cupboard. - Date about 1660. 82
Fig. 113. Oak Court Cupboard. - 6 ft. I in. wide by 4 ft. high by I ft. II ins. deep. Fated 1637. - W. Smedley Aston, Esq.
Sideboards or buffets of the early seventeenth century, of two stages, with bulb-turned balusters on the outer corners, as already illustrated in Fig. 85, are rare, but where the upper tier is enclosed by a central door, with panelled flanks on either side splayed at an angle to the uprights of the back, - angle-buffets as they are usually termed, - they are still more exceptional. Fig. 108 is a choice example of this kind, the lower stage somewhat restored, as one nearly always finds in these early seventeenth-century oak pieces. The upper stage is fixed to a thin shelf or platform, and rests on the lower part, without dowels or other fixing. Of Essex or Suffolk make, this is a very fine example both of its period and locality. Fig. 109 is another of these angle-buffets, of somewhat later date and not so vigorous in execution.
Fig. 114. Oak Chest. - Mid-seventeenth century. C. H. Woodruff, Esq.
The East Anglian work of the later seventeenth century is distinguished by accurate proportioning and fine detail, allied with a strong and unmistakable Dutch influence. Considering the close intercourse between Norfolk and Suffolk and the Low Countries, this is in no way remarkable, but it requires a nice discrimination to differentiate between pieces made here under Dutch influence (frequently the work of foreign artisans) and those which were actually imported. Fig. no is the upper part of a small buffet, the lower stage of which has disappeared. It is without carving, and has many details, such as the bulb-turning of the outside balusters, the twisting of the half-balusters flanking the central panel, and the applied half-bosses of the frieze and its keystone trusses, which suggest Holland rather than England. The panels are painted in imitation of the scrolled marqueterie which was coming into fashion at this period, but the colours have faded, with the exception of the red berries in the design, which are still bright. The whole piece is exceptional and interesting.
Still more strongly permeated from Dutch sources, although undeniably of English make, is the open buffet shown in Fig. 111. The cushion-moulding of the two friezes, divided by fine double beads, and especially the downward tapering of the bulbs, are details typical of East Anglian work, and this form of turning will be found in several of the legs of the tables illustrated in the next chapter. The bottom board here has been restored, but the buffet is, otherwise, original and a fine example of its district. Fig. 112, which is East Anglian work of about the date of the Restoration, has also suffered by being fitted with turned feet, and a later bottom rail, at a date subsequent to its original manufacture. The Norfolk type of strap-hinge will be noticed. These hinges, of wrought iron, are original in this example, which is rarely the case at the present day. The panels in the upper stage are fitted with pilastered arches, very finely carved, alternating with the " inner-frame," or key-centred forms constructed by framing, in mouldings only, one rectangular panel inside the larger one. This type of panel-decoration, in which twenty internal and four external mitres are needed for each complete panel, became a very favourite pattern after about 1660, but is somewhat rare in furniture prior to this date, although in panellings the detail is used at a much earlier period. The rich double-moulded framing of these panels is worthy of careful note. The entire piece, with the exceptions noted above, is in fine and original condition, and of the highest quality even for its locality and period. The oak has been varnished, and is now a rich mellow golden brown in shade. The piece originally finished on the floor on three square stumps, prolongations of the outside and central uprights, but these were, probably, decayed when the present turned feet were substituted.
Fig. 115. Oak Chest. - Date about 1665. C. H. Woodruff. Esq.
Fig. 116. Oak Cabinet - Date about 1650-60. - Messrs. Gregory and Co.
Fig. 117. Oak Cabinet. - Date about 1660-70. A. Cubitt, Esq.