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, 267 and 268. The 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.
Fig. 272. Oak Doors. - Albert Cubitt, Esq.
Fig. 273. Oak Panelling. - The type which was used concurrently with the linenfold patterns. - W. Smedley Aston, Esq.
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 form 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 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 the 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 tendrils of vine and bunches of grapes, by cusping, as in Fig. 273, or with purely Renaissance ornament. That the parchemin, and the vertically-moulded panel of the linenfold description, both have a common origin, in the decorative use of a central rib, is almost certain.
Fig. 274. 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 VIII. - From a drawing by Herbert Cescinsky.
Fig. 275. Oak Panelling. - Date about 1520-40. 246 - Great Fulford, Devon.
Fig. 276. Oak Panelling.
Fig. 278. Oak Panelling From A House At Waltham. - Early sixteenth century. (1520). - Victoria and Albert Museum.
The moulded and the linenfold panels occur, during the early sixteenth century, in conjunction with Renaissance motives, sometimes the linenfold being used for the lower and the cartouche and Italian ornament for the upper tiers of panels.