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Old Oak Furniture | Fred Roe



The object which the writer has aimed at in the present work is to classify the various examples of each article of furniture as near as may be in chronological order. I have in the great majority of cases, and wherever it has been possible, based my descriptions and theories on personal investigation of the articles discussed, whether English or Continental, occasionally supporting conjectures as to dates by the external evidence of contemporary writers or manuscript illustrators. In studying the history of furniture, it should always be remembered that the restoration of rare or unusual objects in one's mind's eye, though an intensely fascinating occupation, is one which is apt to lead astray. Viollet le Duc, while giving a most astounding series of details from personal research, obviously romances at times through this love of elaboration. While admiring the greatness of his master-mind, I have endeavoured to withstand the insidious temptation of reconstruction.

TitleOld Oak Furniture
AuthorFred Roe
PublisherMethuen & Co.
Year1905
Copyright1905, Methuen & Co.
AmazonOld Oak Furniture

By Fred Roe, Author Of "Ancient Coffers And Cupboards"

Old Oak Furniture 2OAK BUFFET INLAID WITH IVORY AND MOTHER OF PEARL DATED 1661

Oak Buffet Inlaid With Ivory And Mother-Of-Pearl Dated 1661.

-Preface
THERE are possibly almost as many fallacies on the subject of old oak as there are connected with family portraits. The cicerone who gravely assures you that the gaze of a certain portrait will follow...
-Chapter I. Introductory - The Cult Of Oak-Collecting
NOT many years ago 'oak-collecting' was considered to be a form of eccentricity. Then came a period when the taste became more general, and many people imagined themselves to be adepts in the art simp...
-Chapter II. Archaic Rarities
WE know very little of the earliest methods of the construction and decoration of wooden furniture and domestic appliances. England, perhaps from the corroding nature of her climate, possesses fewer a...
-Chapter III. The Gothic Styles
MEDIEVAL furniture down to the time of the Renaissance falls naturally into three periods: the first, Pointed, or 'Early English,' dating approximately from the commencement of the thirteenth century ...
-The Gothic Styles. Part 2
A very early box exhibiting tilting knights, carved in small oblong compartments, has, I am informed, been recently discovered in the outhouse of an old garden. This relic is said to date from the end...
-The Gothic Styles. Part 3
It may be this simplicity which has led to the destruction of similar pieces by the ignorant, while less pure and over-decorated specimens of a later time have been preserved. The common mind tends to...
-The Gothic Styles. Part 4
It is to be hoped that the collector may happen to come across some of the good things bearing the badges or decorations we have mentioned in this chapter. If he does we can sincerely wish him joy, fo...
-Chapter IV. The Renaissance - And After
DURING the reign of the last Henry so many foreign features were introduced into English furniture that inexperienced people frequently assign a Continental origin to almost every piece of this date. ...
-The Renaissance - And After. Part 2
It is curious to find that the severely classic style, with round arch and fluted pilasters on the panelling, came into vogue in some cases at startlingly early dates, while the pointed arch, with its...
-The Renaissance - And After. Part 3
The jerry-builder, however, is not exclusively a modern production any more than his counterpart in the furniture trade. The finest productions of the old makers and the coarser counterparts of the sa...
-The Renaissance - And After. Part 4
It is from the reign of Charles II. that we date the introduction of light soft-wood furniture. Its greater adaptability to the handling of the carver speedily made the softer material fashionable, wh...
-The Renaissance - And After. Part 5
There has been, and is, a considerable difference of opinion as to whether the surface of the wood during the olden time was left in its natural state, or whether it was waxed or polished by any artif...
-Chapter V. Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Thirteenth Century To The Renaissance
IN the chapter on ancient rarities I have already treated of some of the existing specimens of wooden chairs, as well as the so-called Saxon chair at the Leicester Hospital, in Warwick. Chairs of the ...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Thirteenth Century To The Renaissance. Part 2
The custom of trial for the flitch has of late years been revived in a somewhat debased style at Great Dunmow, some three miles distant from the original scene, but it is pleasant to record that the h...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Thirteenth Century To The Renaissance. Part 3
Again, I cannot help emphasizing the fact that, whilst in the museums and other collections in France there are very many specimens of furniture of the fifteenth century, or even earlier, in England t...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Thirteenth Century To The Renaissance. Part 4
Houses exhibiting this semi-moresque arch in the angle formed by the junction of the barge boards may be seen at Wingham and Tunbridge, in Kent. The Boar's Head Inn at Bishop's Stortford exhibits the ...
-Chapter VI. Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Renaissance To The End Of The Seventeenth Century
IN the last chapter I (Introductory - The Cult Of Oak-Collecting) (Introductory - The Cult Of Oak-Collecting) attempted to give an account of the different styles of chairs and stools down to the time...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Renaissance To The End Of 17th Century. Part 2
The use of the linen panel in connection with chairs seems to have ended with the reign of Henry VIII., for though we find this form of decoration occasionally, though rarely, continued in wainscottin...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Renaissance To The End Of 17th Century. Part 3
It is certain that the high-backed type at this stage was quite foreign to the Eastern Counties, where we even have evidence that in the early years of the seventeenth century chairs assumed a somewha...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Renaissance To The End Of 17th Century. Part 4
A child's chair having every probability of being connected with the royal House of Stuart was sold a year or so ago by Messrs. Christie, Manson, and Woods. This beautiful specimen, which was traced b...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Renaissance To The End Of 17th Century. Part 5
One in particular - a most characteristic arm-chair - stands in the chancel of Cobham Church, Surrey. Unfortunately this is not entirely intact, having had a carved splat fitted into its back during t...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Renaissance To The End Of 17th Century. Part 6
It should be mentioned that the panelling of the apartment in which Rizzio was murdered, as well as its window casements, are all replacements of the date of James and Mary's occupation, while even it...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Renaissance To The End Of 17th Century. Part 7
One more anecdote of real life can be mentioned in which the great musician figures in company with a joint-stool. In Aylesbury Street, Clerkenwell, there lived in the reign of Queen Anne a worthy of ...
-Oaken Chairs And Stools From The Renaissance To The End Of 17th Century. Part 8
Though it is outside the province of this book, I am tempted to mention a curious chair preserved in Fishmongers' Hall. As a chair it possesses claim to no great antiquity, having been constructed in ...
-Chapter VII. Coffers And Chests From The Norman Times To The Renaissance
A GREAT deal may be said about the chests and coffers used by our forefathers, for they were perhaps their earliest staple pieces of furniture, and occupied an important place in not only the domestic...
-Coffers And Chests From The Norman Times To The Renaissance. Part 2
In the first half of the fourteenth century the construction of coffers remained very much the same as in the preceding period, though the carved embellishment became more elaborate. It was not until ...
-Coffers And Chests From The Norman Times To The Renaissance. Part 3
The English tilting-chest which we have in the vestry of York Minster is actually a much finer specimen than either of these French coffers, and still retains traces of its original colouring and gild...
-Coffers And Chests From The Norman Times To The Renaissance. Part 4
Two shields appear on each side of these figures, the charges being those of England and France quarterly, and the arms of the d'Aungerville family, one of whom, Richard de Bury, was Bishop of Durham,...
-Coffers And Chests From The Norman Times To The Renaissance. Part 5
Though this work does not pretend to treat at all fully on foreign methods or styles and their intermediate variations, it is expedient to notice here some peculiarities connected with certain article...
-Chapter VIII. Coffers And Chests After The Renaissance
WITH the advent of the roundel or medallion, it was not uncommon for chests to be carved with this form of decoration upon their front panels, while those exhibiting the linen fold were relegated to t...
-Coffers And Chests After The Renaissance. Part 2
The Pyx Chapel coffer is interesting from its being possibly a receptacle made to replace one which was previously injured or destroyed during the Great Robbery in 1303, but its actual date is, to say...
-Coffers And Chests After The Renaissance. Part 3
In St. Mary's Church, Lichfield, immediately opposite the historic birthplace of Dr. Samuel Johnson, are two Elizabethan chests, one of them a superb carved and inlaid production, as fine a thing of i...
-Coffers And Chests After The Renaissance. Part 4
Chests of an architectural type, both as regards design and inlaid embellishment, were very much in vogue during the reign of Charles I. The inlaid views of mansions, such as Nonsuch House, were also ...
-Chapter IX. Cupboards And Sideboards
THE name 'cupboard' is rather a wide term, embracing the armoire, or great press, the credence, the almery, the hutch, the court and livery cupboards, as well as many varieties of these leading forms....
-Cupboards And Sideboards. Part 2
After 1610, in which year the Sothertons sold the property, the old house passed through many vicissitudes, becoming so debased in the latter part of the nineteenth century as to be used as a common w...
-Cupboards And Sideboards. Part 3
The Minehead cupboard belongs to this category. The doors, centre panel, and drawers in its front exhibit some elaborate tracery and the initials 'J. M. C.,' while the back shows panels carved with th...
-Cupboards And Sideboards. Part 4
In the time of Henry VIII. a large substantial press was used which partook very much of the nature of the armoire, and was, in fact, a stage in the development of that species of furniture into the c...
-Cupboards And Sideboards. Part 5
An exquisite example of the cupboard with faceted sides, but in the last stage of worm and decay, may perhaps still be seen in the gate-house at Rye House. Two excellent specimens of the varieties of ...
-Chapter X. Varieties Of The Cupboard: Dressers, Desks
IN old inventories and specifications we find the term livery cupboard' frequently employed. This name has in our own day lost all significance, and it is difficult to determine how the name came to b...
-Chapter XI. Settles And Benches
ONE of the most homely and useful pieces of furniture that has ever been invented is the old-fashioned settle, and it is difficult to understand why its use has declined in modern life. We have very f...
-Settles And Benches. Continued
Settles and benches of the sixteenth century bearing incised dates are exceptionally scarce. Some of the earliest specimens with which I am acquainted are those in the library of Lichfield Cathedral, ...
-Chapter XII. Tables And Forms
IN the history of tables we have not anything like such a retrospect as we have in that of other pieces of furniture. It is really astonishing how very few early examples can be referred to. Salisbury...
-Tables And Forms. Part 2
The Lord's table on the dais is framed, and more or less a fixture. These tables at Haddon and Penshurst are probably not of a very early date, being perhaps made in late Tudor times. It is a fact ...
-Tables And Forms. Part 3
As time went on the 'melon' degenerated into an elongated bulb encircled by a shallow groove, and having a short, straight member immediately beneath it. The carving round the upper stretchers of thes...
-Tables And Forms. Part 4
When the wonderful timber-house at Shrewsbury, which was slept in by the Duke of Richmond - afterwards Henry VII. - on his way to encounter the tyrant Richard, was undergoing renovation some few years...
-Chapter XIII. Bedsteads And Cradles
THOUGH a fair number of antique oak bedsteads are still in existence, that number is steadily diminishing on account of the adaptability of bedstead backs for being made up into what are now termed 'o...
-Bedsteads And Cradles. Part 2
The leaf-covered bulbs which form part of each bed-post rest upon a sort of open temple-shaped structure, supported by five small pillars - a form of construction which, from an architectural point of...
-Bedsteads And Cradles. Part 3
The shock of the disgrace killed the old man, who, absolutely blameless in the matter, had published in all good faith these precious documents; but, glorying in his baneful cleverness, the son produc...
-Bedsteads And Cradles. Part 4
A great many of the more unpretentious oak bedsteads, made for the commoner class in the Jacobean times, had no bed-posts or hangings, but were wonderfully picturesque withal. The writer recollects se...
-Chapter XIV. Panelling And Fitted Furniture
THE practice of panelling or lining the interiors of buildings with wainscot dates from very early times, for we find it referred to in ancient documents, but there is good reason to believe that, apa...
-Panelling And Fitted Furniture. Part 2
All over the country, and along the East coast line especially, these wonderful linen-panelled apartments remain, cut up into tenements and offices, in the manner that many at King's Lynn are, speakin...
-Panelling And Fitted Furniture. Part 3
The parchemin panels are enriched with shields, on which appear the emblems of the Passion, the five bleeding wounds, and other devices. They furthermore exhibit such allegories as the fox preaching t...
-Panelling And Fitted Furniture. Part 4
Panelling, such as was placed in inferior rooms or passages, differed little from Elizabeth's time to that of the last of the Stuarts, except in an increase in the superficial area of the panels thems...
-Chapter XV. Foreign Influences
THIS chapter cannot pretend to give more than an outline of the changes of style and construction which have taken place in Continental oak furniture. The subject, if treated at all fully, would suffi...
-Foreign Influences. Continued
What has been observed as regards French styles and their influence, or otherwise, on English practice is almost equally true of Flemish work, which mainly derived its inspiration from France. The met...
-Chapter XVI. Old Furniture With Hiding-Places
EVERY now and then one is startled by reading in the newspapers some sensational account of how a hoard of coins or other valuables has been discovered in some oak chest or bureau which has been purch...
-Old Furniture With Hiding-Places. Continued
At Newport Church, in Essex, may still be seen a very ancient ecclesiastical coffer, which possesses a hiding-place in full working order. The coffer is an enormous and weighty piece of construction, ...
-Chapter XVII. Some Vicissitudes Of Old Furniture
THE Baron de Cosson, the well-known authority on arms and armour, in his book on helmets and mail, * makes the following pithy remark: 'This . . . was a most impudent forgery, and it would seem, fr...
-Some Vicissitudes Of Old Furniture. Part 2
Apropos of the case just related, the importance of heraldry may opportunely be referred to. The marvellous value of this science in tracing pedigrees is well known, and can scarcely be overestimated....
-Some Vicissitudes Of Old Furniture. Part 3
Fifteen or twenty years ago the Crown-room, as it is called, was opened by certain Commissioners, under authority of a sign-manual. They saw the fatal chest, strewed with the dust of an hundred years,...
-Some Vicissitudes Of Old Furniture. Part 4
Upon the breach being made in the wall by which the workmen entered, a rush of air into this dismal prison chamber caused the rapid disintegration of the figure, which collapsed into a heap of dust mi...
-Chapter XVIII. Forgeries In Old Oak
IT has been said that of the making of many books there is no end, and the same remark now truly applies to the manufacture of 'ancient furniture.' With the course of time and inevitable clearing o...
-Forgeries In Old Oak. Part 2
I once saw in the Midlands a spurious piece of 'old oak,' which had incised upon its front the anachronistic legend, 'God save the King, 1590'! In France these crudities are avoided; there these forge...
-Forgeries In Old Oak. Part 3. Note On Authorities
IN a work of this character it is the modern custom to supply a bibliography, and such a feature I would willingly add if the materials for its composition existed. Strictly speaking, however, there i...
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