The next example, Fig. 113, is of the Midland type, and is probably now, in a room in a house at Henley-in-Arden, not far from its original county of origin. Here are the East Anglian arcaded and pilastered panels, but treated in quite another fashion, with ornament much more closely drawn and flattened in execution. This cupboard is squat for its length, but it has never been higher. It is early for its type, if the carved date is to be relied upon, and there is no obvious reason to doubt this, as the piece is original and there would have been no purpose to be served in carving a date prior to its actual period upon it. The band immediately under the carved date emphasizes its Western-Midland origin, and the double-flattened scrolling on either side of the date copies a type of chair-cresting usually found on Warwickshire chairs. One might, with considerable reason, guess that Coventry or its neighbourhood was the locality from which this court-cupboard originally emanated.
The chest, Fig. 114, has the appearance of Kentish work of the Rye or Romney
Fig. 119. Oak Cabinet. - Date about 1670. - Messrs. Gregory and Co.
Marsh district, as the French type of the two central uprights, the flattened leaf with fillet, twisting to a central guilloche encircling a round representation of the Tudor rose, and the chevrons of the central arch and its pilasters below, are quite in the manner of some of the preserved Kentish work of this district. Intercourse between the southern Kentish coast and France was irregular, and of varied character, since the days when the French rovers partially burned Rye Church and pillaged the country round. Reprisals followed on Calais, quite in the modern approved manner, yet a good deal of the artistic influence of France was assimilated by the woodworkers of Rye, as much of the original work still to be found in small houses in that ancient town bears witness.
Fig. 120. Oak And Fruit-Wood Cabinet. - Date about 1670. W. Smedley Aston, Esq.
Fig. 121. Oak Inlaid Cupboard. - Oak Chest Of Drawers. - Date about 1670.
C. H.F. Kinderman, Esq.
It is true that many of the French details were adopted at a much later date than their vogue on the other side of the Channel, but they were rendered, in almost every instance with considerable fidelity.
With Fig. 115 we revert to East Anglia again, and the years following the Restoration. The front of this chest is a rich example of the inner-frame panelling referred to at a previous stage, with the central small panel facetted and carved from cherry wood, stained to a darker shade. A curious detail may be noticed with a magnifying glass. In Chapter III (The Early Woodworker: His Life, Tools And Methods) of Vol. I, an account was given of the method of cutting oak in the manner known as " quartering," that is, where each board was cut at a slight angle to the medullary ray. It was pointed out, at the time, that to cut the wood exactly parallel with the ray, caused the surface to wear unevenly, as the hard ray-figure resisted wear better than the softer surrounding wood. The river, who splits, instead of sawing his timber, usually aims at riving exactly on the ray itself. The front of this chest has been constructed from this riven oak, and the riving marks, and the signs of unequal wear, can both be seen in the flat panels in the illustration. This chest, with its almost barbaric richness of decoration, may be referred to mid-Essex, and a date between 1660 and 1670.
Fig. 122. Oak Inlaid Chest. - Date about 1670-S0. Messrs. Gregory and Co.
Although a decoration of split and applied turned balusters or bosses is early, - in Elizabethan examples it is usually known as "strap-and-jewel" work, - it is a mistake to assume that this is an indication of late sixteenth or early seventeenth-century work, when coupled with an elaborate mitring of mouldings. Thus Fig. 116 cannot be referred to a period prior to 1650 for this reason, if for no other. It will be noticed that this cabinet is elaborate, yet quite without carving. This fashion, of complicated mitring of mouldings, is borrowed from the Italian frames of the period, and is the indication an attempt, during the later Commonwealth period, to establish a style which should conform to Puritan severity, and yet be decorative without the use of carving. Thus key-corners to framing-mouldings, raised chamfering of panels, and applied split balusters or bosses, became, a fashion so popular that it persisted after the Restoration, - although anything of Puritan origin was anathema to the new Court, - with the addition of inlay of ebony, sycamore, holly, bone and mother-o'-pearl. It is difficult to assign any locality of origin to much of this work. It appears to have been made, equally, in districts as far removed as Lancashire and Middlesex, and Norfolk, Suffolk and northern Essex adopted the new manner with avidity, some of the finest work being produced in East Anglia. It is doubtful if the style ever penetrated into the south-western counties, however.
Fig. 123. Oak Inlaid Chest. - Date about 1685-90. 93
Fig. 124. Oak Chest On Stand. - 3 ft. 1 1/2 ins. wide by 4 ft. 0 1/2 ins. high. Date about 1690-1700.