The somewhat later, and more elaborate, versions of this East Anglian manner are shown in the two mantels, Figs. 368 and 369. Both are at Holywells, Mr. J. D. Cobbold's house at Ipswich. The first has the typical Suffolk composition of a truss-bracketted frieze with caryatid figures under, on small moulded bases, with a central inner framed panel (a favourite detail throughout almost the whole of England during the seventeenth century) flanked by two others, arcaded and pilastered. Both frieze and base of the overmantel are ornamented in flat strap-work patterns with slight undercutting. Fig. 369 is more ornate, although much of the interesting inlay does not show in the photograph. The arcading and pilasters of the three panels of the overmantel, are of red deal instead of the more usual oak. The oak panels are inlaid with bandings of interlaced diamond pattern, on the first from the left, a ship in full sail with a flag showing a red cross on a white ground, in the centre a painted globe on stand, with the inscription underneath, " He that travels ye world about Seeth Gods wonders and Gods works.
"Thomas Eldred travelled ye world about and went out of Plimouth 21st of July 1586 & arrived in Plimouth again the 9th of September 1588,"1 and on the right-hand panel, a bust of a nautical figure wearing a lace collar of the Charles I period, in the act of using a sextant.
That this mantel, as in the case of the Yarmouth rooms, was made for another of the Suffolk merchant adventurers, in this case of the middle seventeenth century, is highly probable, as no other would have commemorated the exploits of Thomas Eldred in this fashion. Numbers of these elaborate rooms have been removed from East Anglia, especially from hotels and inns, but where it has been possible to trace them back to their original sources, it is nearly always a merchant, usually one who was engaged in the woollen trade with Flanders or in adventures to the Spanish Main, who emerges from the mists of time. Frequently, these men were of Dutch extraction, and commerce with the Low Countries must have been exceedingly lucrative, judging by the ornate furnishings in which they indulged. Rich as this Holywells mantel is, with its quaint suggestion of ventures by land and sea, - probably a record of an ancestor more than half a century before, - the East Anglian decorative limit had been reached before the end of Elizabeth's reign as in the Yarmouth panellings already illustrated. Who built Fenner's House we do not know, but the second, as we have seen, was the private residence, or business house, - probably both, - of William Crowe, the Merchant Adventurer, possibly a merchant with a small filibustering branch to his business (they were not over-nice in their doings when on the high seas in the reign of Elizabeth). He is a merchant, however, and proud of the fact, as he places the arms of his Company in the centre of his mantel as a reminder to others of his status in the world of commerce. Trade with Holland and Flanders had declined, towards the close of the seventeenth century, from the former high position it had occupied at the end of the sixteenth. The Netherlands had safely harboured Charles II before 1660, however, and when the King was called to ascend the English throne (Pepys was one of the deputation which went to fetch him) there is no doubt that the Hollanders were not forgotten. That the trade of Norfolk and Suffolk with the Netherlands revived after the Restoration is highly probable; and we shall see the reflex of this revival a little later in this chapter in Fig. 370.
1 In St. Clement's Church, Ipswich, is an inscription to the memory of this Thomas Eldred who accompanied Cavendish in his voyage round the world.
Fig. 38C. Oak-Panelled Room From Whitley Beaumont. - Early eighteenth century. Messrs. Robersons.
There is one detail which is to be found in nearly, if not in all of this seventeenth-century woodwork which has been illustrated thus far; the panels are always of comparatively small area. Occasionally a joint in the panel was attempted, but rarely; in the majority of instances the wood is in the one piece.
The credit for the introduction of the large panel in the wainscotting of rooms must be given to John Webb, who, in the later years of the Commonwealth, had used it, with effect, at Thorpe, Thorney Abbey House, and elsewhere. It was obvious, from the outset, that such an innovation would come from an architect rather than from a practical joiner, or from one acquainted with the limitations, as well as the advantages, of oak, and with a wholesome dread of such incidents as cracking or warping of panels. These large surfaces once insisted upon, it was left to a practical carpenter to carry out the design in the best and safest manner possible. With the traditions of that date, some compromise was inevitable, and we find two methods sometimes adopted; in certain instances red deal (so often miscalled " pine ") is used instead of oak, and in others the framing is applied direct with the plaster wall forming the panels. At Tytten-hanger we have the broad panels inserted in doors, but here they are of substantial thickness. That this wholesome fear of the large panel was very prevalent in the later Commonwealth years is evident by the fact that panellings from earlier periods were used in the new houses of that date, in many cases. It was as if the men who knew, the carpenters and joiners, insisted on the small panel as a measure of safety, and convinced both architect and client that their views were just and sound.
It is just before the Restoration that we find decorative woodwork, - which had, hitherto, been the exclusive province of the joiner, - often left to the designing-skill of the architect, with a loss in constructional soundness but a gain in freedom and novelty. At the same time, especially in the East Anglian counties, the joiner still holds sway, copying older designs and methods, with the result that we get such examples as Fig. 370, which on the evidence of its details merely, might be referred to a much earlier date.