Elizabethan oak boarded chest
Early Elizabethan board chest with applied mouldings. This unusual board chest simulates the appearance of more costly joined construction through the application of mitered mouldings to a plank-construction carcass. The perimeters of the front and side boards are visually framed by nailed-on mouldings with elaborate fillet and bead profiles and mitered corners, forming two false panels on the façade and one on either side. This decorative strategy is often seen on the plank lids of earlier sixteenth-century board and joined chests but was rarely used on the carcass of a piece of furniture. In addition to the use of applied mitered mouldings on the lid (a sixteenth-century feature), the chest exhibits several other details indicative of its relative sophistication and pre-1600 date. A plaque attached at the lower centre of the front board is shaped to an adorst ogee profile similar to the profiles cut on the front rails of mid sixteenth-century boarded stool. The vertical mouldings applied to the front board terminate at the feet of the chest in a small ogee bracket similar to the ‘buttresses’ that appear on the feet of some late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century board chests. The feet also are shaped around an elongated cusped arch cutout typical of sixteenth-century board chests. An unusual feature is the gouged notches cut along the side edges of the front board and lid and, oddly, underneath the edge of the applied mouldings.
The interior of the chest is fitted with an unusual and apparently original feature resembling a till. It is likely that this is what remains of a secret compartment that was never completed by the artisan who made the chest.
Undisturbed dry reddish-brown surface. Snipe hinges, lock and escutcheon, and all applied mouldings original.
- West Country, England
- Circa 1570
- Width 41" x Height 20" x Depth 16"
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