Welsh oak clamp-front chest
Wales, probably Black Mountains region
W 38" × H 20" × D 14.5"
Stock # MARH0208
Welsh oak clamp-front chest of diminutive proportions. Clamp-front construction, an archaic form of proto-joinery which involved horizontally oriented planks captured in groves cut in vertical stiles, survived into the late sixteenth century in socially and geographically isolated regions such as Wales. This remarkably small chest is such a survival. Its unusual scheme of ornament â€“ three-quarters, gouged roundels centering upon a gouged spiral â€“ can be associated with a small group of late sixteenth-century case furniture (several fully joined chests and a joined low-cupboard) that appears to originate in the Welsh Black Mountains. Two closely related clamp-front chests of larger size have been attribute attributed to the Black Mountain region by Richard Bebb, and are illustrated as Welsh Furniture, 1250-1950, vol. 1, pp. 146-147, figs. 234, 237. Retains nearly full height with intact, inward-facing toes. Lid replaced; lock added in the seventeenth century. Deep reddish surface with natural patination.