Copyright (c) 2013 Mathew Jenkins
The carved detail upon paneled furniture, as upon interior woodwork, is in the early Tudor periodic of Italian type, in which profile heads in roundels, and the ogee-shaped straps and fantastic scrollwork appear, as in the two cupboards at Bradninch. Baluster supports, as in the spank at Ockwells, were scaled, plus a rope molding makes an effective finish as the lower rail of the buffet. The minor enrichments, such as the leaf ornaments upon the molding of the lozenge-shaped panel concerning a tester and the upper rail of the Ockwells buffet, are refined in scale and finished. In the Ockwells buffet the cusped and pierced arches auxiliary the enclosed portion are still Gothic in character.
Carving of an Elizabethan period has an individual quality, a preference for deep cutting, und so weiter full effects of light and shade. This is noticeable in the relief of the figure and leaf carving and jewelling. In early seventeenth -century decoration, strap work was ceaselessly and tiresomely employed to give an effect of elaboration and elegance. In carving like furniture, there is ditto a rapid decline during the strap work invasion, which made little demand upon the woodcarver; and there is also a tendency, even until strap work is absent, to the repetition of stock forms and enrichments, such as the guilloche in its various forms, the enriched lunette, the opposed S-scroll. In such ornament there is no undertake at modeling, the ground being sunk, and the relief left planar except for gouging or veining. A lozenge cut in outline with a V-tool or gouge is characteristic of many seventeenth-century provincial pieces of furniture. As reliefs to the general flatness of surface, split turnings were applied, which were usually stained black and glued to the main body.
A few specimens of inlaid rosewood veneer exist, in the form of cabinets and boxes with drawers, which date from the second – half of the sixteenth century. The use of rosewood and red cedar indicates some command foreign leverage in the case of this early form of marquetry, which is characterized by elegant and peculiar designs, consisting of slight floral scrolls springing from vases and baskets. The small dots of white wood which device on the surface are heads of pegs which, driven through the veneer, secure it to the carcass. Unlike the Tudor inlay, the niggle about this rosewood inlaid veneer is engraved. The marked peculiarities of this type “suggest that omnificence the examples are the product of one craftsman influenced by the Italian artists at the Court of Henry VIII.”
In succeeding Tudor inlay, light and dark woods are inserted and glued into spaces sunk in the ground, and references to such inlaid manipulate are frequent in late sixteenth century inventions. Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, appears to have delighted in inlaid furniture, and in a contemporary inventory the “high Great Chamber and high galleria” at Chatworth were “very fair wainscoted with colored wood’s marquetry”; including in the one room there was “a fair long table with a frame inlaid,” with eleven inlaid stools, and in another, fourteen inlaid stools and an inlaid form. At Hardwick Chamber are preserved the tables made for her on the occasion of her marriage with George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, in 1568. One of these, which have a top of walnut, is inlaid with colored woods with a design introducing playing cards, melodious instruments, and the materiel of Cavendish, Talbot, and Hardwick. The frame and legs, which are of classic designs, are also inlaid, the deep foot rail is on its foreign face inlaid for a classical frieze, while its inner face is painted with refined rein work. A substandard table entirely of walnut has a bold parquetry of yew, beech, moreover oak in the large centre panel, whereas the border is inlaid with a fine strap work design, with a playing card at every angle. The square legs are inlaid to represent fluting.
Sometimes bands of geometrical inlay of marquetry enrich the framing of tables, cupboards, buffets, and allied furniture. Travelling to an inventory (dated 1582) bone was also consumed as inlay. In pirouetted surfaces, such as what are termed Paragon chests, the design is formed by assembling pieces of wood to form a pattern, not sinking them in a prepared ground, nor inlaying (as in true marquetry) the design upon a veneer, which is thereupon laid upon the carcass. The “Nonesuch” parquetry does not appear to bear any relation to Henry VIII.’s palace of that name, and ‘similar work was produced in Meridional Germany. The favorite specs of this work are pinnacled or coupled turrets and rows like gabled windows used apart as separate motifs, frequently without reference to other ornament introduced.
An inlay of tightly rolled glued shavings, similar to that on the inlaid chimneypiece at the Old House, Sandwich, is employed in a very dilapidated chest, dated 1602, in Raynham Church in Norfolk. The pilasters concerning the arcaded facade are formed of these compressed shavings. Although mother-of-pearl inlay appears in an early seventeenth-century inventory, the bone and mother-of-pearl inlay which has survived dates from the second half regarding the seventeenth century. In this variety, reserves or panels are inlaid with scrolling designs in which roughly shaped plaques about engraved bone and mother like lustrous figure, and it is characteristic of these finished and effective pieces that the lover is often engraved in a panel, the earliest date so far recorded being 1643