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Title: Chats on Cottage and Farmhouse Furniture
Author: Hayden, Arthur
Language: English
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Transcriber's note:
    Minor spelling and punctuation inconsistencies have been
    harmonized. Italic text has been marked with _underscores_.
    Obvious typos have been corrected.



COMPANION VOLUME BY THE SAME AUTHOR

CHATS ON OLD FURNITURE

_Illustrated by 72 Full-page Plates._


CONTENTS

    CHAPTER
       I. THE RENAISSANCE ON THE CONTINENT
      II. THE ENGLISH RENAISSANCE
     III. STUART OR JACOBEAN (Early Seventeenth Century)
      IV. STUART OR JACOBEAN (Late Seventeenth Century)
       V. QUEEN ANNE AND EARLY GEORGIAN STYLES
      VI. FRENCH FURNITURE: THE PERIOD OF LOUIS XIV.
     VII. FRENCH FURNITURE: THE PERIOD OF LOUIS XV.
    VIII. FRENCH FURNITURE: THE PERIOD OF LOUIS XVI.
      IX. FRENCH FURNITURE: THE FIRST EMPIRE STYLE
       X. CHIPPENDALE AND HIS STYLE
      XI. ADAM, HEPPLEWHITE, AND SHERATON STYLES
     XII. HINTS TO COLLECTORS



    CHATS ON
    COTTAGE AND
    FARMHOUSE FURNITURE



BOOKS FOR COLLECTORS

_With Coloured Frontispieces and many Illustrations._

_Large Crown 8vo, cloth._


   CHATS ON ENGLISH CHINA.

    By ARTHUR HAYDEN.

   CHATS ON OLD FURNITURE.

    By ARTHUR HAYDEN.

   CHATS ON OLD PRINTS.

    By ARTHUR HAYDEN.

   CHATS ON COSTUME.

    By G. WOOLLISCROFT RHEAD.

   CHATS ON OLD LACE AND NEEDLEWORK.

    By E. L. LOWES.

   CHATS ON ORIENTAL CHINA.

    By J. F. BLACKER.

   CHATS ON MINIATURES.

    By J. J. FOSTER.

   CHATS ON ENGLISH EARTHENWARE.

    By ARTHUR HAYDEN.

    (Companion Volume to "Chats on English China.")

   CHATS ON AUTOGRAPHS.

    By A. M. BROADLEY.

   CHATS ON OLD PEWTER.

    By H. J. L. J. MASSÉ, M.A.

   CHATS ON POSTAGE STAMPS.

    By FRED J. MELVILLE.

   CHATS ON OLD JEWELLERY AND TRINKETS.

    By MACIVER PERCIVAL.

   CHATS ON COTTAGE AND FARMHOUSE FURNITURE.

    By ARTHUR HAYDEN.

    (Companion Volume to "Chats on Old Furniture.")


    LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN.
    NEW YORK: F. A. STOKES COMPANY.



  [Illustration: SIDEBOARD OF CARVED OAK. ENGLISH, SEVENTEENTH
  CENTURY.

  (_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

    _Frontispiece._]



    CHATS ON COTTAGE

    AND

    FARMHOUSE FURNITURE

    BY

    ARTHUR HAYDEN

    AUTHOR OF "CHATS ON OLD FURNITURE," ETC.

    WITH A CHAPTER ON

    OLD ENGLISH CHINTZES

    BY HUGH PHILLIPS

    AND SEVENTY-THREE FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS

    NEW YORK

    FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

    PUBLISHERS



(_All rights reserved._)



    TO
    MY OLD FRIEND
    FREDERIC ARUP
    I DEDICATE THIS VOLUME
    IN MEMORY OF A HAPPY LABOUR
    OF LOVE COMPLETED



PREFACE


The number of works dealing with old English furniture has grown
rapidly during the last ten years. Not only has the subject been
broadly treated from the historic or from the collector's point
of view, but latterly everything has been scientifically reduced
into departments of knowledge, and individual periods have received
detailed treatment at the hands of specialists.

Museums and well-known collections, noblemen's seats and country
houses have furnished photographs of the finest examples, and these,
now well-known, pieces have appeared again and again as illustrations
to volumes by various hands.

It is obviously essential in the study of the history and evolution
of furniture-making in this country that superlative specimens
be selected as ideal types for the student of design or for the
collector, but such pieces must always be beyond the means of the
average collector.

The present volume has been written for that large class of
collectors, who, while appreciating the beauty and the subtlety of
great masterpieces of English furniture, have not long enough purses
to pay the prices such examples bring after fierce competition in the
auction-room.

The field of minor work affords peculiar pleasure and demands
especial study. The character of the cottage and farmhouse furniture
is as sturdy and independent as that of the persons for whom it
was made. For three centuries unknown cabinet-makers in towns and
in villages produced work unaffected by any foreign influences.
Linen-chests, bacon-cupboards, Bible-boxes, gate tables, and other
tables, dressers, and chairs possess particular styles of treatment
in different districts. The eighteenth-century cabinet-makers
scattered up and down the three kingdoms and in America found in
Chippendale's "Director" a design-book which stimulated them to
produce furniture of compelling interest to the collector.

The examples of such work illustrated in this volume have been taken
from a wide area and are such as may come under the hand of the
diligent collector in various parts of the country.

In view of the increased love of collecting homely furniture
suitable for modern use, it is my hope that this book may find a
ready welcome, especially nowadays, when so many of the picturesque
architectural details of old homesteads are being reproduced in the
garden suburbs of great cities.

It is possible that the authorities of local museums may find in
this class of furniture a field for special research, as undoubtedly
specimens of local work should be secured for permanent exhibition
before they are dispersed far and wide and their identity with
particular districts lost for ever.

In regard to the scientific study of farmhouse and cottage furniture,
the ideal arrangement is that followed at Skansen, Stockholm, and
at Lyngby, near Copenhagen. In the former a series of buildings
have been erected in the open air, in connection with the Northern
Museum, gathered from every part of Sweden, retaining their exterior
character and fitted with the furniture of their former occupants. It
was the desire of the founder, Dr. Hazelius, to present an epitome
of the national life. Similarly at Lyngby, an adjunct of the _Dansk
Folkemuseum_ at Copenhagen, the life-work of Hr. Olsen has been given
to gathering together and re-erecting a large number of old cottages
and farmhouses from various districts in Denmark, from Iceland, the
Faroe Islands, and from Norway and Sweden. These have their obsolete
agricultural implements, and old methods of fencing and quaint styles
of storage. The furniture stands in these specimen homes exactly as
if they were occupied. It is a remarkable open-air museum, and the
idea is worthy of serious consideration in this country. Old cottages
and farmhouses are fast disappearing, and the preservation of these
beauties of village and country life should appeal to all lovers of
national monuments.[1]

  [1] Those interested in the method pursued in Sweden and Denmark
  and the grave necessity for speedy measures to preserve our
  national cottages and farmhouses from effacement will find
  illuminating articles on the subject from the pen of "Home
  Counties" in the _World's Work_, August, October, and November,
  1910, and in the American _Educational Review_, February, 1911,
  in an article by Lucy M. Salmon. "Old West Surrey," by Gertrude
  Jekyll (Longmans & Co.), 1904, contains a wealth of suggestive
  material relating to cottage furniture and articles of daily use
  of old-style country life now passing away.
In connexion with farmhouse furniture, old chintzes is a subject
never before written upon. A chapter in this volume is contributed
by Mr. Hugh Phillips, whose special studies concerning this little
known field enable him to present much valuable information which has
never before been in print, together with illustrations of chintzes
actually taken from authentic examples of old furniture.

A brief survey is made of miscellaneous articles associated with
cottage and farmhouse furniture. Some specimens of Sussex firebacks
are illustrated, together with fenders, firedogs, pot-hooks,
candle-holders, and brass and copper candlesticks.

The illustrations have been selected in order to convey a broad
outline of the subject. My especial thanks are due to Messrs.
Phillips, of the Manor House, Hitchin, for placing at my disposal
the practical experience of many years' collecting in various parts
of the country, and by enriching the volume with illustrations of
many fine examples of great importance and rarity never before
photographed.

To Messrs. A. B. Daniell & Sons I am indebted for photographs of
specimens in their galleries.

In presenting this volume it is my intention that it should be a
companion volume to my "Chats on Old Furniture," which records the
history and evolution of the finer styles of English furniture,
showing the various foreign influences on English craftsmen who made
furniture for the wealthy classes.

    ARTHUR HAYDEN.



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER I
                                                                    PAGE
    INTRODUCTORY NOTE                                                 25

    The minor collector--The originality of the village
    cabinet-maker--His freedom from foreign influences--The
    traditional character of his work--Difficult to establish dates
    to cottage and farmhouse furniture--Oak the chief wood
    employed--Beech, elm, and ash used in lieu of mahogany and
    satinwood--Village craftsmanship not debased by early-Victorian
    art--Its obliteration in the age of factory-made furniture--The
    conservation of old farmhouses with their furniture in
    Sweden and in Denmark--The need for the preservation
    and exhibition of old cottages and farmhouses in Great
    Britain.

    CHAPTER II

    SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY STYLES                                        43

    Typical Jacobean furniture--Solidity of English joiners'
    work--Oak general in its use--The oak forests of England--Sturdy
    independence of country furniture--Chests of
    drawers--The slow assimilation of foreign styles--The
    changing habits of the people.

    CHAPTER III

    THE GATE-LEG TABLE                                                83

    Its early form--Transitional and experimental stages--Its
    establishment as a permanent popular type--The gate-leg
    table in the Jacobean period--Walnut and mahogany varieties--Its
    utility and beauty contribute to its long survival--Its
    adoption in modern days.

    CHAPTER IV

    THE FARMHOUSE DRESSER                                            113

    The days of the late Stuarts--Its early table form with
    drawers--The decorated type with shelves--William and
    Mary style with double cupboards--The Queen Anne
    cabriole leg--Mid-eighteenth-century types.

    CHAPTER V

    THE BIBLE-BOX, THE CRADLE, THE SPINNING-WHEEL,
    AND THE BACON-CUPBOARD                                           137

    The Puritan days of the seventeenth century--The Protestant
    Bible in every home--The variety of carving found in
    Bible-boxes--The Jacobean cradle and its forms--The
    spinning-wheel--The bacon-cupboard.

    CHAPTER VI

    EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY STYLES                                        155

    The advent of the cabriole leg--The so-called Queen Anne
    style--The survival of oak in the provinces--The influence
    of walnut on cabinet-making--The early-Georgian types--Chippendale
    and his contemporaries.

    CHAPTER VII

    THE EVOLUTION OF THE CHAIR                                       189

    Early days--The typical Jacobean oak chair--The evolution
    of the stretcher--The chair-back and its development--Transition
    between Jacobean and William and Mary forms--Farmhouse
    styles contemporary with the cane-back chair--The
    Queen Anne splat--Country Chippendale, Hepplewhite,
    and Sheraton--The grandfather chair--Ladder-back types--The
    spindle-back chair--Corner chairs.

    CHAPTER VIII

    THE WINDSOR CHAIR                                                243

    Early types--The stick legs without stretcher--The tavern
    chair--Eighteenth-century pleasure gardens--The rail-back
    variety--Chippendale style Windsor chairs--The survival of
    the Windsor chair.

    CHAPTER IX

    LOCAL TYPES                                                      265

    Welsh carving--Scottish types--Lancashire dressers, wardrobes,
    and chairs--Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridge,
    and Essex tables--Isle of Man tables.

    CHAPTER X

    MISCELLANEOUS IRONWORK, ETC.                                     285

    The rushlight-holder--The dipper--The chimney crane--The
    Scottish crusie--Firedogs--The warming-pan--Sussex
    firebacks--Grandfather clocks.

    CHAPTER XI

    OLD ENGLISH CHINTZES. (By Hugh Phillips)                         315

    The charm of old English chintz--Huguenot cloth-printers
    settle in England--Jacob Stampe at the sign of the Calico
    Printer--The Queen Anne period--The Chippendale period--The
    age of machinery.

    INDEX                                                            343



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


    SIDEBOARD OF CARVED OAK (ENGLISH,
      SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY)                      _Frontispiece_


  CHAPTER I--INTRODUCTORY NOTE
                                                         PAGE
    CHESTS (SIXTEENTH CENTURY)                             29

    ELIZABETHAN CHAIR                                      35

    CHEST (SEVENTEENTH CENTURY)                            35

    INTERIOR OF FARMHOUSE PARLOUR                          39

    INTERIOR OF COTTAGE                                    39


  CHAPTER II

    MONK'S BENCH                                           53

    OAK CHEST WITH DRAWERS UNDERNEATH                      53

    JOINT STOOLS                                           57

    OAK TABLE                                              57

    CHEST (RESTORATION PERIOD)                             63

    EARLY OAK TABLE (MIDDLE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY)           63

    SMALL OAK TABLE (_c._ 1680)                            65

    JACOBEAN CHEST OF DRAWERS (_c._ 1660)                  65

    CHESTS OF DRAWERS                                      69

    CHEST OF DRAWERS (CABRIOLE FEET)                       73

    WILLIAM AND MARY TABLE (_c._ 1670)                     73

    CHILDREN'S STOOLS                                      77

    RARE BEDSTEAD (_c._ 1700)                              77


  CHAPTER III

    TRIANGULAR GATE TABLE                                  87

    OAK SIDE-TABLE                                         87

    SMALL GATE TABLE (VERY EARLY TYPE)                     91

    GATE TABLE (MIDDLE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY)                91

    RARE TABLE WITH DOUBLE GATES                           93

    RARE TABLE WITH DOUBLE GATES AND ONLY ONE FLAP         93

    GATE-LEG TABLE (RESTORATION PERIOD)                    97

    GATE-LEG TABLE (YORKSHIRE TYPE)                        97

    GATE-LEG TABLE WITH SIX LEGS ("BARLEY-SUGAR"
      TURNING)                                             99

    GATE-LEG TABLE (BALL TURNING)                          99

    COLLAPSIBLE TABLE WITH RARE =X= STRETCHER             101

    PRIMITIVE GATE-LEG TABLE                              101

    WILLIAM AND MARY GATE-LEG TABLE                       105

    SQUARE-TOP GATE-LEG TABLES                            105

    MAHOGANY GATE-LEG TABLES                              109


  CHAPTER IV

    OAK DRESSER (ABOUT 1680)                              117

    OAK DRESSER (PERIOD OF JAMES II.)                     117

    OAK DRESSER (EARLY EIGHTEENTH CENTURY)                119

    OAK DRESSER, URN-SHAPED LEGS (RESTORATION PERIOD)     119

    MIDDLE-JACOBEAN DRESSER                               123

    WILLIAM AND MARY OAK DRESSER                          127

    OAK DRESSER. SQUARE-LEG TYPE                          127

    UNIQUE DRESSER AND CLOCK COMBINED                     131

    OAK DRESSER. QUEEN ANNE CABRIOLE LEGS                 135

    LANCASHIRE OAK DRESSER                                135


  CHAPTER V

    BIBLE-BOXES. EARLY EXAMPLES                           143

    BIBLE-BOXES (MIDDLE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY AND
    ORDINARY TYPE)                                        145

    OAK CRADLES                                           149

    YARN-WINDER AND SPINNING-WHEEL                        151

    BUCKINGHAMSHIRE BOBBINS                               151


  CHAPTER VI

    LANCASHIRE OAK SETTLES                                159

    CUPBOARD WITH DRAWERS                                 163

    QUEEN ANNE BUREAU BOOKCASE                            163

    OAK TABLES (EARLY EIGHTEENTH CENTURY)                 165

    QUEEN ANNE GLASS- OR CHINA-CUPBOARD                   171

    GEORGIAN CORNER-CUPBOARD                              171

    OAK TABLES                                            173

    OAK TABLES, WITH TYPICAL COUNTRY CABRIOLE LEGS        177

    QUEEN ANNE TEA-TABLE                                  181

    OAK REVOLVING BOOK-STAND                              181

    COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE TABLE                             181

    SQUARE MAHOGANY FLAP-TABLE                            183

    TRIPOD TABLE (_c._ 1760)                              183

    COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE AND COUNTRY ADAM TABLES           187


  CHAPTER VII

    OAK ARM-CHAIRS (ONE DATED 1650)                       191

    CHESTNUT ARM-CHAIR AND OAK ARM-CHAIR (_c._ 1690)      191

    YORKSHIRE CHAIR (RESTORATION PERIOD)                  197

    CROMWELLIAN CHAIRS                                    197

    OAK SETTLE (_c._ 1675)                                201

    OAK ARM-CHAIRS (ONE DATED 1777)                       201

    OAK CHAIRS (_c._ 1680) IN WALNUT STYLES               205

    OAK CHAIRS, SHOWING VARIOUS TRANSITIONAL STAGES       209

    CHAIRS IN QUEEN ANNE STYLE                            213

    COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE AND HEPPLEWHITE CHAIRS            215

    OAK SETTEES IN CHIPPENDALE STYLE                      219

    COUNTRY CHAIRS IN CHIPPENDALE AND SHERATON
    STYLES                                                225

    GRANDFATHER CHAIR                                     231

    ARM-CHAIR AND BACON-CUPBOARD                          231

    SPINDLE-BACK AND LADDER-BACK CHAIRS                   235

    CORNER CHAIRS                                         237


  CHAPTER VIII

    CHAIRS OF EARLIEST FORM WITH STICK LEGS               247

    OLIVER GOLDSMITH'S CHAIR                              251

    CHAIRS WITH FIDDLE-SPLAT AND CABRIOLE LEGS            255

    CHIPPENDALE AND HEPPLEWHITE WINDSOR CHAIRS            257

    SHERATON STYLE WINDSOR CHAIRS                         261


  CHAPTER IX

    CHEST, DATED 1636 (WELSH)                             269

    CUPBOARD, DATED 1710 (WELSH)                          269

    ELM WARDROBE (WELSH). OAK DRESSER (LANCASHIRE)        273

    FLAP-TOP TABLE (HERTFORDSHIRE TYPE)                   275

    SPINDLE-BACK CHAIRS (LANCASHIRE)                      275

    OAK CHEST OF DRAWERS (YORKSHIRE TYPE)                 279

    LANCASHIRE OAK SETTLE (_c._ 1660)                     279

    THREE-LEGGED TABLE (ISLE OF MAN)                      281

    CRICKET TABLES (HERTFORDSHIRE, SOUTH BEDS,
      CAMBRIDGE, AND ESSEX)                               281


  CHAPTER X

    RUSHLIGHT-HOLDERS, SCOTCH CRUSIE, CANDLE-DIPPER,
    PIPE CLEANER, ETC.                                    289

    QUEEN ANNE POT-HANGER, WITH ORIGINAL GRATE            291

    KETTLE TRIVET                                         291

    COUNTRY FIREDOGS AND FIRE-GRATE (EIGHTEENTH
    CENTURY)                                              297

    SUSSEX IRON FIREBACKS                                 301

    SUSSEX IRON FIREBACKS AND ORIGINAL WOOD PATTERN       303

    GRANDFATHER CLOCK AND WARMING-PANS                    307

    BRASS DIAL OF THIRTY-HOUR CLOCK                       309


  CHAPTER XI--OLD ENGLISH CHINTZES

    OLD TRADE CARD SHOWING CALICO PRINTERS AT
    WORK                                                  319

    HUGUENOT PRINTED CHINTZ WITH PORTRAITS                319

    HAND-PRINTED CHINTZES. QUEEN ANNE PERIOD AND
    CHINESE STYLE                                         323

    EXOTIC BIRD AND GOTHIC STYLES (EIGHTEENTH
    CENTURY)                                              327

    HAND-PRINTED CHINTZ BY R. JONES (OLD FORD)            331

    HEPPLEWHITE PERIOD AND VICTORIAN PERIOD DESIGNS       335

    VICTORIAN CHINTZ (IN THE COLLECTION OF MRS.
    COBDEN UNWIN)                                         339



    CHAPTER I

    INTRODUCTORY
    NOTE



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

   The minor collector--The originality of the village
   cabinet-maker--His freedom from foreign influences--The
   traditional character of his work--Difficulty to establish
   dates to cottage and farmhouse furniture--Oak the chief wood
   employed--Beech, elm, and ash used in lieu of mahogany and
   satinwood--Village craftsmanship not debased by early Victorian
   art--Its obliteration in the age of factory-made furniture--The
   conservation of old farmhouses with their furniture in Sweden
   and in Denmark--The need for the preservation and exhibition of
   old cottages and farmhouses in Great Britain.


In regard to launching another volume on the market dealing with old
furniture, a word of explanation is desirable, for nowadays of making
books there is no end, and much study is a weariness to the collector.

In the present volume attention has been especially given to that
class of furniture known as Cottage or Farmhouse. There is no volume
dealing with this phase of collecting. Prices for old furniture of
the finest quality have gone up by leaps and bounds, and for those
not possessed of ample means the collection of superlative styles is
at an end. Singularly enough, the most native furniture and that most
typically racy of the soil has not hitherto attracted the attention
of wealthy collectors. The plutocrats who buy only the finest
creations of Chippendale, who have immediate private information
when an exquisitely designed Sheraton piece is found, who amass a
mighty hoard of gilt Stuart furniture, or who boast of an unrivalled
collection of Elizabethan oak, do not touch the minor furniture made
during a period of three hundred years for the common people.

The finest classes of English furniture made by skilful craftsmen
for wealthy patrons must always be beyond the range of the minor
collector. Every year brings keener zest among those interested in
furniture of a bygone day, and it is therefore increasingly difficult
for persons of taste and judgment who cannot afford high prices to
satisfy their longings. It is obvious that specimens of massive
appearance finely carved in oak of the Tudor age, or of elegantly
turned work in walnut of Jacobean days, must be readily recognised
as valuable. Sumptuous furniture tells its own story. It is unlikely
nowadays that such wonderful "finds," concerning which imaginative
writers are always telling us, will occur again--except on paper.
Popular enthusiasm has been awakened, and more often than not the
possessor of some mediocre piece of furniture or china attaches a
value to it which is absurd. The publication of prices realised at
auction has whetted the cupidity of would-be sellers who convert
early nineteenth-century chairs by a nod of the head into "Queen
Anne," and who aver with equal veracity that ordinary blue transfer
printed ware has "been in the family a hundred years."

  [Illustration: CHEST. MIDDLE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

  Gothic carving. Solid wood ends, forming feet. Made from six
  boards; with hand-forged nails and large lock, characteristic of
  Gothic chests.]

  [Illustration: CHEST. SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

  Lozenge panels, disc turning, and Gothic brackets (rare).

  (_By the courtesy of Mr. F. W. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

Cottage and farmhouse furniture may be said to be in somewhat
parallel case to English earthenware. A quarter of a century ago, or
even ten years ago, collectors in general confined their attention
mainly to porcelain. The rage was for Worcester, Chelsea, Derby, or
Bow. With the exception of Wedgwood and Turner, the Staffordshire
potters had not found favour with the fashionable collector. Nowadays
Toft dishes, Staffordshire figures by Enoch Wood, vases by Neale and
Palmer, and the entire school of lustre ware, have received attention
from the specialist, and scientific classification has brought prices
within measurable distance of those paid for porcelain.

What earthenware is to porcelain, so cottage and farmhouse furniture
are to the elaborate styles made for the use of the richer classes.
The French insipidities and rococo ornament of Chelsea and Derby and
the oriental echoes of Worcester and of Bow are as little typical of
national eighteenth-century sentiment as the ribbon-back chair and
the Chinese fretwork of Chippendale or the satinwood elegances of
Sheraton.

To Staffordshire and to local potteries scattered all over the
country from Sunderland to Bristol, from Lambeth to Nottingham, from
Liverpool to Rye, one instinctively turns for real individuality and
native tradition. Similarly farmhouse furniture exhibits the work of
the local cabinet-maker in various districts, strongly marked by an
adherence to traditional forms and intensely insular in its disregard
of prevailing fashions. It is as English as the leather black-jack
and the home-brewed ale.

Contemporaneous with the great cabinet-makers who drew their
inspiration from foreign sources--from Italy, from France, from
Holland, and from Spain--small jobbing cabinet-makers in every
village and town had their patrons, and when not making wagons
or farm implements, produced furniture for everyday use. As may
readily be supposed, there is in these results a blind naïveté which
characterises a design handed down from generation to generation.
This is one of the surprising features of the village cabinet-maker's
work--its curious anachronism. The sublime indifference to passing
fashions is astonishingly delightful to the student and to the
collector.

There is nothing more uncertain than to attempt with exactitude to
place a date upon cottage or farmhouse furniture. The bacon-cupboard,
the linen-chest, the gate-table, the ladder-back chair and the
windsor chair, were made through successive generations down to
fifty years ago without departing from the original pattern of the
Charles I. or the Queen Anne period. Oak chests are found carved
with the Gothic linen-fold pattern. They might be of the sixteenth
century except for the fact that dates of the late eighteenth and
early nineteenth century are carved upon them. Whole districts
have retained similar styles for centuries, and the fondness for
clearly defined types is almost as pronounced as that of the Asiatic
rug-weaver, who makes the same patterns as his remote ancestors sold
to the ancient Greeks.

The village cabinet-maker's work knows no sequence of ages of oak,
walnut, mahogany, and satinwood. His wood is from his native trees.
His chairs come straight from the hedgerows. His history can be
spanned in one long age of oak, intermingled here and there with elm
and yew-tree and beech. The early days of primitive work go back to
the marked class distinction between gentles and simples, and the end
came only in the last decades of the nineteenth century, when the
village craftsman was obliterated by the rapid advance of factory and
machine made furniture.

It may at first be assumed by the beginner that cottage and farmhouse
furniture is throughout a weak and feeble imitation of finer pieces.
But this is not so. The craftsmen who made this class of furniture
formed for themselves special types which were never made by the
London cabinet-makers. For instance, the Jacobean gate-table, the
Lancashire wardrobe, the dresser, and the windsor chair, have styles
peculiarly their own. In many of the specimens found it will be seen
that the village cabinet-maker displayed very fine workmanship, and
there are clever touches and delightful mannerisms which make such
pieces of interest to the collector.

In early days of the villeins, furniture was limited to a stool, a
table, and perhaps a chest. Nor was the use of much furniture at the
farm or in the cottage a feature in Tudor and early Stuart days.
Gorgeously carved oak and richly turned walnut filled the mansions
of the wealthy, but one does not find its simpler counterpart made
for cottages till nearly 1660. The few pieces essential to every
dwelling-house may be placed not earlier than the late sixteenth or
early seventeenth century--the chest, the table, the form, and the
Protestant Bible-box.

Chests with scratched Gothic mouldings, tables of the trestle type as
used to-day, forms of the most simple construction, exist, and may be
said to belong to the sixteenth century.

Bible-boxes became common during the early seventeenth century, and
without change in their style were made till the late eighteenth
century. In mid-seventeenth-century days the well-known gate-table
was introduced.

Of early pieces we illustrate a few examples, though in connection
with farmhouse and cottage, the early days afford a poor field, as
the furniture of those days now remaining was mostly made for great
families. The two sixteenth-century chests illustrated (p. 29) are
interesting as showing the early styles. The upper photograph is
of a middle sixteenth-century chest, with Gothic carving and solid
wood ends forming feet. This type of chest is made from six boards.
The hand-forged nails show the rough joinery, and the large lock is
characteristic of such Gothic chests. The lower chest is also of the
sixteenth century. It has lozenge panels, and is further ornamented
by disc turning. The Gothic brackets at the base are rare, and it is
an interesting example.

  [Illustration: ELIZABETHAN CHAIR.

  This is of Scandinavian origin, and was known in England before
  the Roman Conquest, being shown in mediæval MSS. Such designs
  survived the Gothic styles.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: CHEST. SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

  Panels with early scratched mouldings (_i.e._, not mitred).
  Mitreing came into general use about 1600.]

That the chest remained in somewhat primitive form is shown by the
illustration of a seventeenth-century specimen (p. 35). It will be
observed that the panels have early scratched mouldings, that is to
say they are not mitred. The fashion of mitreing in cabinet-work came
into general use about the year 1600, but minor examples of country
furniture often possess scratched moulding at a much later date.

On the same page is an Elizabethan chair. This type is of exceptional
interest. It has a long and proud history. They are, according
to Mr. Percy Macquoid, "of Byzantine origin; their pattern was
introduced by the Varangian Guard into Scandinavia, and from there
doubtless brought to England by the Normans. They continued to be
made until the end of the sixteenth century." These turned chairs are
interesting as having spindles, which came into use at a much later
period in the spindle-back chair.

With the growth of prosperity and the increased use of domestic
comforts, cottage furniture becomes a wider subject. Carved oak
bedsteads, simple four-posters, bacon-cupboards, linen-chests became
more common. In eighteenth-century days there was quite an outburst
of enthusiasm, and the small cabinet-maker gained knowledge of his
craft and became ambitious. On the promulgation of Chippendale's
designs he made copies in elm and oak and beech for village patrons
and essayed to follow Hepplewhite and even Sheraton.

But this wave of success was followed by the competitive inroad made
by factory-made cabinet-work, and during these last days the local
cabinet-maker adhered closer than ever to the early oak examples of
his forefathers. The village craft practically came to an end in the
fifties, but it was a glorious end, and it is happy that it did not
survive to produce bad work of atrocious design.

The passing of cottage and farmhouse furniture may be said to be like
the disappearance of dialect. The modern spirit has entered into
village life, the town newspaper has permeated the country-side and
disturbed the old-world repose. The lover of English folk-ways and
the simplicity of rural life may echo the line of Wordsworth, "The
things that I have seen I now can see no more."

In the illustrations of two interiors shown on p. 39 it will be seen
how happily placed the furniture becomes when in its old home. The
atmosphere of these rural homesteads is at once soothing and restful,
and the pieces of furniture had an added dignity. It seems almost
sacrilege to tear such relics of bygone days from their ancient
resting-place. But the collector is abroad, and few sanctuaries have
escaped his assiduous attention. The lower illustration shows the
interior of a cottage with its original panelled walls. This cottage
actually has Tudor frescoes.

  [Illustration: INTERIOR OF FARMHOUSE PARLOUR.]

  [Illustration: INTERIOR OF COTTAGE.

  With original panelled walls. This cottage has Tudor frescoes.]

The study of old farmhouse and cottage furniture has not been
pursued in this country in so scientific a manner as in Sweden and
in Denmark. The conservation of national heirlooms is a matter which
must be speedily dealt with before they become scattered. It is a
point which cannot be repeated too often. At Skansen, Stockholm, old
buildings have, under State supervision, been re-erected, and
with their furniture they afford a practical illustration of the
particular type of life of the district of their origin. At Lyngby,
near Copenhagen, a series of farmhouses similarly illustrate old
types of homesteads from various localities in Denmark, and from
Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

By such a systematic and permanent record of farm and cottage life
and the everyday art of the people it is possible to impart vitality
to the study of the subject.

The English method of museum arrangement in dry-as-dust manner,
with rows of furniture and cases of china, is a valley of dry bones
compared with such a fresh and vigorous handling and method of
exposition as is followed in Scandinavia.

If old English furniture is worth the preservation for the benefit of
students of craftsmanship or as a relic of bygone customs, there is
undoubted room for due consideration of the best means of exhibiting
it. A series of representative farmhouses could be re-erected at some
convenient spot. There are many parks around London and other great
cities which would be benefited by such picturesque buildings.

Before it is too late, and many of these beautiful structures have
been destroyed to make room for modern improvements, and village
life has become absorbed by the growing towns, it should be possible
to step in and preserve some of the most typical examples for the
enjoyment of the nation. The real interest shown by the public in
out-of-door object-lessons of this nature is indicated by the great
crowds at Exhibitions at Earl's Court and the like, which flocked to
Tudor houses replete with old furniture, and villages transplanted in
lath and plaster to simulate the real thing, which seemingly has been
neglected from an educational point of view.

The mountain farms and the homesteads of the men of the dales, fen
farms, and stone cottages from the Cotswolds, half-timbered farms
from Surrey, from Cheshire, and from Hampshire, dating back to early
Stuart days--are not these worthy of preservation? In the Welsh
hills, and nestling in the dips of the Grampians and the Cheviots,
from Wessex to Northumbria, from the Border country to the extremity
of Cornwall, from East Anglia to the Lakes, are treasures upon which
the ruthless hand of destruction must shortly fall. Or far afield in
Harris and in Skye, or remote Connemara, there are types which should
find a permanent abiding place as national records of the homes of
the men of the island kingdom.

This should not be an impossible nor unthinkable problem to
solve before such are allowed to pass away. The intense value of
such a faithful record is worthy of careful consideration by the
authorities, either as a national undertaking or under the auspices
of one of the learned societies, such as the Society of Antiquaries,
or the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and Monuments,
interested in the safeguarding of the national heritage bequeathed us
by our forefathers.



    CHAPTER II

    SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY
    STYLES



CHRONOLOGY


JAMES I. (1603-25)

   =1606= Second colonisation of Virginia begun; Raleigh's first
   colony in Virginia was founded in 1585.

   =1611= The colonisation of Ulster begun.

   Publication of the _Authorised version_ of the _Bible_.

   =1620= The sailing of the _Mayflower_ and the foundation of New
   England by the Puritans.


CHARLES I. (1625-49)

   =1630= John Winthrop and a number of Puritans settle in
   Massachusetts.

   =1633= Reclamation of forest lands.

   =1634= Wentworth introduces flax cultivation into Ireland.

   =1635= Taxes for Ship Money levied on inland counties.

   =1637= John Hampden, a country gentleman, refuses to pay Ship
   Money.


CIVIL WAR (1642-49)

   =1642= Battle of Edgehill. Formation of Eastern Association.
   Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, and Hertford unite for
   purpose of defence against the Royalists.

   =1643= Battles of Reading, Grantham, Stratton, Chalgrove
   Field, Adwalton Moor (near Bradford), Lansdown, Roundway Down,
   Bristol, Gloucester, Newbury, Winceby, Hull.

   =1644= Battles of Nantwich, Copredy Bridge, Marston Moor,
   Tippermuir, Lostwithiel, Newbury.

   =1645= Battles of Inverlochy, Naseby, Langport, Kilsyth,
   Bristol, Philiphaugh, Rowton Heath.

   =1648= Battles of Maidstone, Pembroke, Preston, Colchester.


THE COMMONWEALTH (1642-58)

   =1649= Battle of Rathmines. Storming of Drogheda and Wexford by
   Cromwell.

   =1650= Montrose defeated at Corbiesdale and executed. Battle of
   Dunbar.

   =1651= Battle of Worcester.

   =1652= War with Holland.

   =1656= War with Spain.

   =1657= Destruction of Spanish fleet by Blake.

   =1658= Battle of the Dunes. Victory of English and French fleet
   over Spain.


INTERREGNUM (1658-60)

   =1659= Rising in Cheshire for Charles.


CHARLES II. (1660-85)

   =1672= _The stop of the Exchequer._ Charles refuses to repay
   the principal of the sums he had borrowed and reduces interest
   from 12 per cent. to 6 per cent. This resulted in great
   distress, felt in various parts of the country.


JAMES II. (1685-88)

   =1685= Insurrection of Argyll in Scotland.

   Monmouth rising in West of England.

   Revocation of Edict of Nantes. The expulsion of a large
   number of French Protestant artisans. Settlement of skilled
   silk-weavers and others in England.


WILLIAM III. AND MARY (1689-94)


WILLIAM III. (1689-1702)

   =1689= Siege of Londonderry.

   =1690= Battle of the Boyne. William defeats James, who flees to
   France.

   =1691= Capitulation of Limerick; 10,000 Irish soldiers and
   officers joined the service of the French King.

   =1692= Battle of La Hogue, French fleet destroyed.



CHAPTER II

SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY STYLES

   Typical Jacobean furniture--Solidity of English joiners'
   work--Oak general in its use--The oak forests of
   England--Sturdy independence of country furniture--Chests of
   drawers--The slow assimilation of foreign styles--The changing
   habits of the people.


To the lover of old oak, varied in character and essentially English
in its practical realisation of the exact needs of its users, the
seventeenth century provides an exceptionally fine field. The
chairs, the tables, the dower-chests and the four-post bedsteads
of the farmhouse were sturdy reflections of sumptuous furniture
made for the nobility and gentry in Jacobean and Elizabethan times.
The designs may have been suggested by finer and early models, but
the balance, the sense of proportion, and the carving, were the
result of the village carpenter's own individual ideas as to the
requirements of the furniture for use in the farmhouse. Obviously
strength and stability were important factors, and ornament, as
such, took a subsidiary place in his scheme. But, although coarse
and possessing a leaning towards the unwieldy, and often massive
without the accompanying grandeur of the highly-trained craftsman's
work, there is a breadth of treatment in such pieces which is at
once recognisable. They were made for use and no little thought was
bestowed on their lines, and, rightly appreciated, they possess
a considerable beauty. There is nothing finicking about this
seventeenth-century farmhouse furniture. There is no meaningless
ornament. Produced in conditions suitable for quiet and restrained
craftsmanship, contemplative cabinet-makers began to evolve styles
that are far removed from the average design of furniture made to-day
under more pretentious surroundings.

The gate table, with its long history and its amplification of
structure and ornament, to which a separate chapter is devoted
(Chapter III), is a case in point. It was extensively used in inns
and in farmhouses and found itself in set definite types spread
over a wide area from one end of the country to the other. Its
practicability caught the taste of lovers of utility. Its added
gracefulness of form, in combination with its adaptability to modern
needs, has recaptured the fancy of housewives to-day. It is the happy
survival of a beautiful and useful piece of ingenious cabinet-work.

To-day one finds unexpectedly a London fashion lingering in the
provinces years afterwards. A stray air from a light opera or some
catch-phrase of town slang is gaily bandied about as current coin in
bucolic jest long after its circulation in the metropolis has ceased.
The fashions in provincial furniture moved as slowly. Half a century
after certain styles were the vogue they crept imperceptibly into
country use. In speech and song the transplantation is more rapid,
but in craftsmanship, the studied work of men's hands, the use of
novelty is against the grain of the conservative mind of the country
cabinet-maker. Therefore throughout the entire field of this minor
furniture it must be borne in mind that it is quite usual to find
examples of one century reflecting the glories of the period long
since gone.

=Solidity of English Joiners' Work.=--The love of old country
furniture of the seventeenth century is hardly an acquired taste.
Old oak is at once a jarring note in a Sheraton drawing-room with
delicate colour scheme of dainty wallpaper and satin coverings. But
as a general rule, when it is first seen in its proper environment,
in an old-world farmhouse with panelled walls, and mullioned windows,
set squarely on an oak floor and beneath blackened oak beams ripe
with age, it wins immediate recognition as representative of a fine
period of furniture. It is admitted by experts, and it is the proud
boast of possessors of old oak, that the joiner's work of this
style--the seventeenth century at its best--stands unequalled for its
solidity and sound practical adhesion to fixed principles governing
sturdy furniture fashioned for hard and continued usage. Of course,
there were no screws used in those days, and little glue. The joints
dovetailed into each other with great exactness and were fastened by
the wooden pins so often visible in old examples. The modern copyist
has a fine regard for these wooden pegs. He knows that his clients
set store by them, and he accordingly sees to it that they are well
in evidence in his replicas. But there is yet a distinction which may
be noticed between his pegs and the originals. His are accurately
round, turned by machinery to fit an equally circular machine-turned
hole. They tell their own story instantly to a trained eye, to say
nothing of the piece of furniture as a whole, which always has little
conflicting touches to denote its modernity.

As an instance of the form of the sixteenth century continuing in
use until mid-seventeenth-century days the illustration of an oak
table (p. 63) brings out this point. The heavy baluster-like legs,
only just removed from the earlier bulbous types, and the massive
treatment belong to the days of James I., and yet such pieces really
were made in Cromwellian days.

The rude simplicity of much of the farmhouse furniture is indicated
by the Monk's Bench illustrated (p. 53). The back is convertible into
a table top. The early plainness of style for so late a piece as 1650
is particularly noteworthy. This specimen is interesting by reason of
its exceptionally large back.

On the same page is illustrated a chest with two drawers underneath.
This form is termed a "Mule Chest," and is the earliest form of the
chest of drawers. These Cromwellian chests with drawers continued to
be made in the country for a hundred years, but in more fashionable
circles they soon developed into the well-known Jacobean chest of
drawers, the prototype of the form in use to-day. As an instance of
this lingering of fashion the chest illustrated is dated 1701, quite
fifty years after its first appearance as a new style.

  [Illustration: MONK'S BENCH. _C._ 1650.

  With back convertible into table top. Exceptionally large back.
  (Note early plainness of style.)

  (_By courtesy of Messrs. A. B. Daniell & Sons._)]

  [Illustration: OAK CHEST WITH DRAWERS UNDERNEATH.

  Termed a "Mule Chest." The earliest form of chest of drawers.
  This piece in style is Middle Seventeenth Century, but is dated
  1701.]

=Oak General in its Use.=--The oak as a wood was in general use both
in the furniture of the richer classes and in the farmhouse furniture
of seventeenth-century days and earlier. Inlaid work is unknown in
furniture of this type. It was sparingly used in pieces of more
important origin. The room shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum
from Sizergh Castle has inlays of holly and bog oak. And the suite of
furniture at Hardwicke Hall made for Bess of Hardwicke was made by
English workmen who had been in Italy, the same persons who produced
similar work at Longleat. Small panels with rough inlaid work are
not uncommon in the seventeenth century in chests, bedsteads, and
drawers. But the prevailing types of oak without the added inlays of
other woods were rigidly adhered to in cabinet-makers' work for the
farmhouse.

The great oak forests, such as Sherwood, furnished an abundance of
timber for all domestic purposes, and up to the seventeenth century
little other wood was used for any structural or artistic purpose.
Practically oak may be considered as the national wood. From the
_Harry Grâce à Dieu_ of Henry VIII. and the _Golden Hind_ of Drake
to the _Victory_ of Nelson, the great ships were of English oak.
The magnificent hammer-beam roof of Westminster Hall is of the same
wonderful wood. All over the country are scattered buildings timbered
with oak beams, from cathedrals and ancient churches to farmhouses
and mills. The oak piles of old London Bridge were taken up after
six centuries and a half and found to be still sound at the heart.
The mass of furniture of nearly three centuries ago has survived
owing to the durability of its wood. To this day English oak commands
great esteem, although foreign oak has taken its place in the general
timber trade, yet there is none which possesses such strong and
lasting qualities. It will stand a strain of 1,900 lbs. per square
inch transversely to its fibres.

=Sturdy Independence of Country Furniture.=--The hardness of the
oak as a wood is one of the factors which determined the styles of
decoration of the furniture into which it was fashioned. It was
not easily capable of intricate carved work, even in the hands of
accomplished craftsmen. The fantastic flower and fruit pieces of
Grinling Gibbons and other carvers were in lime or chestnut, and the
age of walnut, a more pliant and softer wood to work in than oak, was
yet to come. The country maker, little versed in the subtleties of
cabinet-work, contented himself with a narrow range of types, which
lasted over a considerable period. This is especially noticeable in
his chairs, and specimens are found of the same form as the middle
seventeenth century belonging to the last decade of the eighteenth
century.

  [Illustration: EARLY OAK TABLE. _C._ 1640.

  Retaining Elizabethan bulbous form of leg and having Cromwellian
  style feet. Brass handles added later.]

  [Illustration: JOINT STOOLS.

  Height, 1 ft. 10-1/2 ins. Height, 1 ft. 8-1/2 ins. Height, 1 ft. 5 ins.

      (About 1640.)                           (About 1660.)]

The typical sideboard of the seventeenth century only varies
slightly in form according to the part of the country from
which it comes. The general design is always permanent. A large
cupboard below, two smaller ones above, set somewhat back from
the front of the lower one, the sides of the upper ones sometimes
canted off, leaving two triangular spaces of flat top at the
ends of the bottom one. The whole is surmounted by a top shelf,
supported by the upper cupboards and two boldly turned pillars.
This is usually the design. The decoration is of the simplest,
and presents nothing beyond the powers of the village carpenter.
The mouldings are simple; there is slight conventional carving,
frequently consisting of hollow flutings, and the pillars, boldly
turned, are very rarely enriched by any ornament. A careful
examination of such pieces is always interesting from a technical
point of view. The framing of the panels is seen to be worked out
by the plane, but the panels themselves more often than not have
been reduced to approximate flatness with an adze. If viewed in
a side light the surface is thus slightly varied, showing the
differences in the planes of the various facets produced by the
adze and giving an effect entirely different from the mechanical
smoothing of a surface by the use of a plane.

The framing of the front and ends of these sideboards is in
detail exactly like the ordinary Jacobean wall panelling or
wainscot. The mouldings are all worked on the rails or styles,
not mitred and glued on, no mitred mouldings being used except
occasionally in the centre panel between the doors. The framing
is mortised together and pinned with oak pins. The doors are
usually hung on iron strap hinges, and the handles of the doors
are of wrought iron. Frequently the doors of the upper cupboards
are hung on pivots, not hinges. Such a sideboard belongs to the
middle period of the seventeenth century, and is representative
of a wide class used in farmhouses.

It is easier to follow the various movements in the design of the
seventeenth-century table than a century later, when more complex
circumstances governed its use. The illustrations on p. 57 give
early forms, with some suggestion as to the progression in design.

The early oak Table is a curious compound of design. It has
retained the Elizabethan bulbous form of leg and has the
Cromwellian foot. In date the piece is about 1640. The brass
handle has been added later.

The Joint Stools on the lower half of the page afford a picture
of slowly advancing invention in turned work. The one on the left
of the group is the earliest, and is about 1640 in date. Its legs
are seen to be of coarser work, roughly turned, but typically
early Jacobean in breadth of treatment. The two on the right are
about 1660 in date. The left-hand one shows the urn-shaped leg of
the strong, broad treatment (as in the Table illustrated p. 63),
brought into subjection and exhibiting a gracefulness of form and
balance that make furniture of this type so lovable. The smaller
stool shows the ball-carving associated with the Restoration
period, and found in gate tables. A combination of these styles
of turning is shown in the graceful oak Table illustrated p. 65,
in date about 1680.

=Chests of Drawers.=--The conservative spirit of the minor
craftsmen is especially noticeable in the articles of everyday
use. The merchant's account ledger with its green back and
cross-stitched pattern in vellum strips, still in use, is to
be found in the same style in Holbein pictures of the days of
the Hanseatic League. Brass and copper candlesticks have a long
lineage, and their form is only a slight variant from very early
examples. The evolution of ornament is especially interesting;
the old stoneware Bellarmine form still remains in the bearded
mask at the lip of china jugs at the beginning of the nineteenth
century. The two buttons at the back of the coattails continue
long after their primary use to loop up the sword-belt has
vanished.

In America the early carved chests of the Puritan colonists were
followed by similar designs contemporary with our own Jacobean
style for a period well towards the end of the seventeenth
century. The panels on chairs and chests have the same arcaded
designs as found in Elizabethan bedsteads and fireplaces. These
become gradually crystallised in conventional form, and Lockwood,
the American writer on old colonial furniture, has reduced the
types coincident with our own Jacobean styles into ten distinct
patterns, until the advent of the well-known chests of drawers
with geometric raised ornament laid on, which pieces of furniture
in Restoration days were set upon a stand.

We have shown in the illustration (p. 53) the earliest form
of the chest with drawers underneath. The stage transitional
between this and the multifarious designs with bevelled panels
in geometric design is exemplified by the chest, in date about
1660, illustrated (p. 63), having two drawers and a centre
bevelled panel, and with two arcaded panels on each side of this
and also arcaded panels at the ends of the chest. This form was
rapidly succeeded by the well-known chests of drawers on ball
feet or on stand so much appreciated by collectors.

We illustrate a sufficient number of pieces to cover the usual
styles and to assist the beginner to identify examples coming
under his observation. Although it should be noted that as these
chests of drawers are so much sought after they are manufactured
nowadays by the hundred and out of old wood, so that great care
should be exercised in paying big prices for them unless under
expert guidance.

The specimen appearing on p. 65 is a fine example, in date 1660,
and when the ball feet are original, as in this example, the
genuineness of the chest of drawers is undoubted. Too often
stands or feet are added, and it is exceedingly rare to find that
the brass handles are original. Quite an industry is carried
on in reproducing old brass escutcheons and handles from rare
designs and carefully imparting to them signs of age, so that
they may be used in made-up chests of drawers and tables.

Of types of stands, the two chests of drawers illustrated p. 69
are fair examples. The upper chest is a curious Jacobean type
with sunk panels and having an unusually high stand. There is
a suggestion that this has been added later, as the foot is
eighteenth-century in character.

The lower chest is of the Charles II. type with sunk panels
and having the arcaded foot of that period. It will be observed
that in addition to the four drawers it has a drawer at the
bottom.

  [Illustration: OAK TABLE. _C._ 1650.]

  [Illustration: CHEST. ABOUT 1660.

  With bevelled panels and drawers and arcaded panels and ends.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: SMALL OAK TABLE. _C._ 1680.

  Showing two forms of mouldings in legs and stretcher.

  (_By courtesy of Messrs. A. B. Daniell & Sons._)]

  [Illustration: JACOBEAN CHEST OF DRAWERS. _C._ 1660.

  Height, 2 ft. 11-3/4 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 11 ins.; width, 3 ft.
  3-1/2 ins. The ball foot, not always present, indicates genuine
  example.]

The treatment of the stand or legs of these chests exercised the
ingenuity of various generations of cabinet-makers. In the specimen
illustrated p. 69, the eighteenth century is reached. The transition
from passing Jacobean styles into those of Queen Anne is clearly
seen. The bevelled panels still remain, with added geometric
intricacies of design, and a new feature appears in the fluted sides.
But the most interesting feature is the cabriole leg, so definitely
indicative of the eighteenth century.

=The Slow Assimilation of Foreign Styles in Furniture.=--Farmhouse
furniture almost eschewed fashion. In seventeenth-century days it
pursued the even tenor of its way untrammelled by town influences.
England in those days was not traversed by roads that lent themselves
to neighbourly communication. A hundred years later Wedgwood found
the wretched roads in Staffordshire, where waggons sunk axle-deep in
ruts and pits, a hindrance to his business, and William Cobbett in
his _Rural Rides_ leaves a record of Surrey woefully primitive at
Hindhead, with dangerous hills and bogs, where the "horses took the
lead and crept down, partly upon their feet and partly upon their
hocks."

From the days of James I. to those of James II., from the first
Stuart Sovereign to the last of that ill-starred house, the country
passed through rapid stages of volcanic history. The opening years
of the century saw the colonisation of Ulster by the Scots and
the English settlers, and the sailing of the _Mayflower_ and the
foundation of New England by the Puritans, nine years after the
publication of the Authorised version of the Bible. Under Charles I.
came the struggle between the despotic power of the Crown and the
newly awakened will of the people. Parliamentary right came into
conflict with royal prerogative. The smouldering fire burst into
flame when John Hampden, a country gentleman, refused to pay Ship
Money, which was levied on the inland counties in 1637, and the
arrest of five members of Parliament in 1642--Hampden, Pym, Holles,
Haselrig, and Strode--precipitated the country into civil war.

For seven years a continual series of battles were waged by the
contending forces. The Eastern Counties formed themselves into a
martial association, and the King set up his standard at Nottingham.
From Bristol to Hull and from Nantwich to Newbury fierce engagements
tore the country asunder. An Irish army was raised for the King, and
the Scots under Leslie crossed the border in the Parliamentarian
cause. With the execution of Charles I. came other dangers; the sword
was not sheathed, nor had revolution left a contented country-side.
Cromwell divided the kingdom into eleven military districts, and
under his rule England took her place at the head of the Protestant
States in Europe.

  [Illustration: OAK CHEST OF DRAWERS.

  Curious Jacobean type, with sunk panels and unusually high stand.
  This stand is the well-known eighteenth-century foot.]

  [Illustration: OAK CHEST OF DRAWERS.

  Charles II. type, with sunk panels and arcaded stand and feet
  typical of the period.]

With the death of the Protector and the restoration of the Stuarts,
when Charles II. returned home, came an influx of foreign customs
and foreign arts learned by expelled royalists in their enforced
sojourn on the Continent. London and the Court instantly became
the centre of voluptuous fashion. The pages of Pepys's _Diary_ afford
instructive pictures of the last quarter of the century at Whitehall
with the Merry Monarch exhibited in vivid colours, and more intimate
still are the word-portraits cleverly etched by the Count de Grammont
in his _Memoirs_ of the gay circle at Court. And after Charles came
his brother James, nor were civil strife and Court intrigue memories
of the past. Restlessness still characterises the closing years of
the century. The insurrection of Monmouth in the West of England was
followed by the Bloody Assize of Judge Jeffreys. The air is filled
with trouble, and blundering statecraft brings fresh disaster,
culminating in the ignominious flight of the King. Nor does this
complete the changing scenes of the seventeenth century. A new era
under William the Dutchman brought new and permanent influences, and
religious toleration and constitutional government became firmly
rooted as the heritage of the people of this country.

It is essential that a rough idea of the period be gained in order
to appreciate the kaleidoscopic character of the events that rapidly
succeeded each other. The paralysis of the arts during the civil
war had not a little influence on the furniture of the period
belonging to the class of which we treat in this volume. The wealth
of noble and patrician families had been scattered, estates had
been confiscated, and sumptuous furniture and appointments pillaged
and destroyed, especially when it offended the narrow tastes of the
Puritan soldiery. Some of the minor pieces no doubt found their way
into humbler homes and served as models for simpler folk. With
a dearth of aristocratic patrons there were no new art impulses
to stir craftsmen to their highest moods, but in spite of war and
disturbances affecting all classes, furniture for common use had to
be made, and the ready-found types exercised a continued influence on
all the earlier work.

In regard to farmhouse furniture the following types represent in the
main the seventeenth-century styles: the bedstead, the sideboard or
dresser, the table and the chair in its various forms, the Bible-box
and the cradle. The Jacobean chest of drawers, a development of the
dower-chest, came in mid-seventeenth-century days, and prior to
the William and Mary styles. The sideboard, a development of the
bacon-cupboard, came into fashion in the middle of the century. It
was a reflex of the grander furniture of the manor house and the
nobleman's mansion. It is difficult to fix exact dates to Jacobean
furniture of this character. As a general rule it is safer to place
it at a later date than is the usual custom.

  [Illustration: OAK CHEST OF DRAWERS.

  Showing transition to Queen Anne type. Cabriole feet, bevelled
  panels, and fluted sides.]

  [Illustration: WILLIAM AND MARY TABLE. _C._ 1670.

  With finely turned legs and stretcher and scalloped underwork.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

=The Changing Habits of the People.=--The shifting phases of the
restless seventeenth century make it exceedingly difficult, in spite
of experts, to decide definitely as to the exact date of furniture.
The country being in such an unsettled state obviously influenced the
manufacture of domestic furniture. Its natural evolution was broken
and the restraint of the Jacobean forms was in the main due to the
conditions prevailing in regard to their manufacture. The long list
of battles given in the chronological table at the commencement of
this chapter is advisedly recorded to show the intense upheaval which
was caused by the civil wars which raged from north to south, from
east to west, and convulsed any artistic impulses which may have been
in process of materialisation.

It is obvious the class of Table of the William and Mary period,
in date about 1670, illustrated (p. 73), with finely turned legs
and stretcher and scalloped underwork, belongs to a period far
more advanced in comfort than the days when such a table as that
illustrated p. 63 was the ordinary type.

By the end of the century the growth of sea power and the astonishing
development of trade brought corresponding domestic luxuries. The two
children's stools illustrated (p. 77) must have come from a country
squire's or wealthy provincial merchant's house. Their upholstered
seats emulate the grandeur of finer types. The rare form of oak
bedstead illustrated on the same page is a survival of the early
type. In date this is about 1700; not too often are such examples
found, for enterprising restorers and makers have seized these
old Jacobean bedsteads and converted them into so-called Jacobean
"sideboards," wherein nothing is old except the wood.

It requires some little imagination to conjure up what the daily
meals were in the days of the early Stuarts. There was the leather
jack, the horn mug, and the long table in the hall where the farmer
and his servants ate together. An old black-letter song, entitled
"When this old cap was new," in date 1666, in the Roxburgh "Songs
and Ballads," has two verses which paint a lively picture:--

    "Black-jacks to every man
      Were fill'd with wine and beer;
    No pewter pot nor can
      In those days did appear;
    Good cheer in a nobleman's house
      Was counted a seemly show;
    We wanted not brawn nor souse
      When this old cap was new.

    We took not such delight
      In cups of silver fine;
    None under the degree of knight
      In plate drank beer or wine;
    Now each mechanical man
      Hath a cupboard of plate for show,
    Which was a rare thing then
      When this old cap was new."

The "mechanical man" is a delightful touch of the old song-writer.
We fear he would have been shocked at the degeneracy of a later day,
when in place of the mug that was handed round came the effeminate
teacups. The change from ale, at breakfast and dinner and supper,
to tea the beverage of the poor, would be a sad awakening from the
ideals set up by the rollicking song-writer of Restoration days. But
such innovations must needs be closely regarded by the student of
furniture.

We wish sometimes that historians had spared a few pages from
military evolutions and Court intrigues to let us know what the
parlours and bedrooms of our ancestors looked like. A rough résumé
from Macaulay's "State of England in 1685," wherein he quotes
authority by authority, holds a mirror to seventeenth-century life.

  [Illustration: CHILDREN'S STOOLS, _C._ 1690.]

  [Illustration: RARE BEDSTEAD. _C._ 1700.

  Survival of early type.]

At Enfield, hardly out of sight of the smoke of the capital,
was a region of five-and-twenty miles in circumference, which
contained only three houses and scarcely any enclosed fields,
where deer wandered free in thousands. Red deer were as common in
Gloucestershire and Hampshire as they are now in the Grampians. Queen
Anne, travelling to Portsmouth, on one occasion, saw a herd of no
less than five hundred.

Agriculture was not a greatly known science. The rotation of crops
was imperfectly understood. The turnip had just been introduced to
this country, but it was not the practice to feed sheep and oxen with
this in the winter. They were killed and salted at the beginning of
the cold weather, and during several months even the gentry tasted
little fresh animal food except game and river fish. In the days of
Charles II. it was at the beginning of November that families laid in
their stock of salt provisions, then called Martinmas beef.

The state of the roads in those days was somewhat barbarous. Ruts
were deep, descents precipitous, and the way often difficult to
distinguish in the dusk from the unenclosed fen and heath on each
side. Pepys and his wife, travelling in their own coach, lost their
way between Newbury and Reading.[2] In some parts of Kent and Sussex
none but the strongest horses could, in winter, get through the
bog in which they sank deep at every step. The coaches were often
pulled by oxen.[3] When Prince George of Denmark visited the mansion
of Petworth he was six hours travelling nine miles. Throughout the
country north of York and west of Exeter goods were carried by long
trains of packhorses.

  [2] _Pepys's Diary_, June 12, 16 8.

  [3] Postlethwaite's "Dictionary of Roads."

The capital was a place far removed from the country. It was seldom
that the country squire paid a visit thither. "Towards London and
Londoners he felt an aversion that more than once produced important
political effects" (Macaulay). Apart from the country gentlemen
were the petty proprietors who cultivated their own fields with
their own hands and enjoyed a modest competence without affecting
to have scutcheons and crests. This great class of yeomanry formed
a much more important part of the nation than now. According to the
most reliable statistics of the seventeenth century, there were no
less than a hundred and sixty thousand proprietors, who with their
families made a seventh of the population of those days, and these
derived their livelihood from small freehold estates.

Such, then, were the chief differences dividing the life of the
country from the life of the town. The London merchants had town
mansions hardly less inferior to the nobility. Chelsea was a quiet
village with a thousand inhabitants, and sportsmen with dog and gun
wandered over Marylebone. General Oglethorpe, who died in 1785, used
to boast that he had shot a woodcock in what is now Regent Street, in
Queen Anne's reign.

The days of the Stuarts were not so rosy as writers of romance
have chosen to have us believe. At Norwich, the centre of the cloth
industry, children of the tender age of six were engaged in labour.
At Bristol a labyrinth of narrow lanes, too narrow for cart traffic,
was built over vaults. Goods were conveyed across the city in trucks
drawn by dogs. Meat was so dear that King, in his "Natural and
Political Conclusions," estimates that half the population of the
country only ate animal food twice a week, and the other half only
once a week or not at all. "Bread such as is now given to the inmates
of a workhouse was then seldom seen even on the trencher of a yeoman
or a shopkeeper. The majority of the nation lived almost entirely on
rye, barley, and oats."

The change from these conditions to those we associate with the
eighteenth century was not a sudden but a slow one. With the increase
of average prosperity came the additional requirements in household
furniture. It is impossible now to state accurately what the exact
furniture was of the various classes of the community. Many of the
seventeenth-century pieces now remaining have been treasured in great
houses and belong to a variety which in those days was regarded as
sumptuous. Now and again we catch glimpses of the former life of the
men and women of those days. Little pieces of conclusive evidence
are brought to light which enable safe conclusions to be drawn. But
the everyday normal character has too often gone unrecorded. We are
left with Court memoirs, diaries of the great, literary proofs of the
more scholarly, but the simple annals of the poor are, in the main,
unrecorded.

In view of this series of queer and remarkable facts strung together
to afford the reader a rough and ready picture of those dim days,
one comes to believe that much of the ordinary seventeenth-century
furniture must be regarded as having belonged to the great yeoman
class of the community. With this belief the collector very rightly
regards it of sterling worth, as reminiscent of the men from whose
sturdy stock has sprung a great race.



CHAPTER III

THE GATE-LEG TABLE



CHAPTER III

THE GATE-LEG TABLE

   Its early form--Transitional and experimental stages--Its
   establishment as a permanent popular type--The gate-leg table
   in the Jacobean period--Walnut and mahogany varieties--Its
   utility and beauty contribute to its long survival--Its
   adoption in modern days.


The gate-leg table is always regarded with veneration by collectors.
It has a charm of style and beauty of construction which afford
never-ending delight to possessors of old examples. It is an inspired
piece of cabinet-work which belongs to the middle of the seventeenth
century, and exhibits the supreme effort of the early Jacobean
craftsmen to break away from the square massive tables, the lineal
descendants of the great bulbous-legged table of the Elizabethan
hall. Dining-tables with the device of slides to draw out when
occasion required, even in early days became a necessity. It is a
note indicating the changing habits of the people. A table was no
longer used for one purpose. The large table required a permanent
place in a large room. But smaller houses fitted with minor
furniture had their limitations of space, and so the ingenuity of a
table that would close together and stand against a wall, or could be
used as a round table for dining, was a welcome innovation.

=Its Early Form.=--The series of illustrations in this chapter afford
a fairly comprehensive survey of the progress and differing character
of the gate-leg table during the hundred years that it held a place
in domestic furniture. It is difficult to say with exactitude which
are the earliest forms, or whether the round table without the moving
gates was a sort of transitional form prior to the use of the movable
legs. It is quite possible that in his attempt to invent something
more convenient than the heavy square dining-table the progressive
cabinet-maker of the middle seventeenth century did strike the
half-way form. But on the other hand it must be admitted that there
is the possibility that the gate-leg table came first, and that the
types with three legs and half circular tops stand by themselves as
later types. On the whole, one is inclined to the belief, especially
as it prettily illustrates forms of natural evolution, that the
three-legged table with fixed legs and half round top came first.

  [Illustration: OAK SIDE TABLE. _C._ 1660.

  Plain style. The precursor of the gate-leg table.]

  [Illustration: TRIANGULAR GATE-LEG TABLE. _C._ 1640.

  Fine example. With arcaded spandrils and gate. This is the next
  stage of development to above table.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

The two tables illustrated on p. 87 belong to this three-legged type.
The upper one is half circular at the top and the three legs are
stationary. This particular table is in date about 1660, and although
in this instance it is obviously later than other forms we illustrate
having gate-legs, yet by the theory we have advanced above, it
belongs to a type prior to the use of a gate. The lower one is a
fine example, in date about 1640, of a triangular gate-leg table.
The top is round, and the illustration shows the gate open at right
angles to the stretcher. The arcaded spandrils are an interesting and
rare feature.

=Transitional Types.=--Not only is the feeling towards the gradual
establishment of this new form of table shown in its construction,
first with four legs until it developed into a table with twelve
legs and double gates, but the styles of ornament used in the
turning differ greatly in character. The leg is capable of wide and
differing treatment. There is the urn leg, a rare and early type,
the ball turned leg, egg-and-reel turned leg, and the straight leg.
In regard to the stretcher similar varieties occur. Sometimes it is
entirely plain, and when it is decoratively turned it varies from
the early survival of the Gothic trestle to the rare cross stretcher
of the late collapsible table. In some types of Yorkshire tables
the stretchers are splat-form, like a ladder-back chair. The feet
differ in no less degree from the usual Jacobean type to the scroll
or Spanish foot at a later date. In the early eighteenth century
there is the interesting series of Queen Anne flap tables which
have gate-legs. Some have the bottom stretcher to the gate-leg.
These belong to the walnut period, when a greater vivacity became
noticeable in English cabinet work.

It is this picturesque and endless stream of designs which appeals to
the collector. It is quite worthy of study to follow the difference
in the cabinet-work of these gate tables. The long line of craftsmen
who fashioned them added here and there not only touches of
ornament that were personal, but invented details of construction as
improvements to existing forms.

A very early type with urn legs and having plain gates is that
illustrated p. 91. It is small in size and belongs to the first half
of the seventeenth century. The survival of the Gothic trestle feet
of an earlier type is noteworthy. The table on the same page has the
trestle ends still retained. There is still the single leg at each
end, as in the example above. The gates are square and plain and the
legs are ball turned, a combination representing an early type. The
size of this piece is small and its date is about 1650 or somewhat
later.

=Its Establishment as a Popular Type.=--The varied improvements and
the slightly differing characteristics make it perfectly clear, when
examined in detail, that the gate table in various parts of the
country had firmly established itself and had won popular approval as
a permanent type. In the search for tables of this form, however wide
the net is spread by those indefatigable seekers in out-of-the-way
places, and by the small army of trade collectors who scour the
country for the purpose of unearthing something rare and unique,
the story is always the same. In the most remote districts such
tables are still found: the growth of the use of this gate-leg form
permeated every part of the country. It was copied and recopied,
native touches were added, and the old leading lines followed by
generation after generation of craftsmen. It had as great a vogue
during the long period of its history as the styles of Chippendale
chairs had at a later date, when every country cabinet-maker was
seized with the desire to produce minor Chippendale in oak or beech
or elm.

  [Illustration: SMALL GATE TABLE. VERY EARLY TYPE.

  Length, 3 ft.; breadth, 2 ft. 4 ins.; height, 2 ft. 3 ins. Urn
  legs with plain gates with survival of Gothic trestle feet.]

  [Illustration: GATE TABLE. MIDDLE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

  Early example. Height, 2 ft.; top, 2 ft. 9 ins. × 2 ft. 3 ins.
  Square gates and turned leg indicate early type. Trestle ends
  still retained.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: RARE TABLE.

  With double gates. Egg and reel turning. Turned stretchers.

  (Examples such as this are worth £18 to £35 owing to rare form.)]

  [Illustration: RARE GATE TABLE.

  With double gates with only one flap and having turned
  stretchers. Tables with one flap are rare and usually have two
  gates.

  {_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

=The Jacobean Period.=--Essentially the flower of the popular
creations of the Jacobean furniture-designer, the gate table must
always stand as reminiscent of the days of Charles I. and Charles
II. No picture of this period is considered artistically complete
unless there be a gate-leg table with its picturesque lines adding a
technical touch of correctness to interiors. The portrait of Herrick,
the parson-poet of Devon, imaginative though it be, whenever it
appears on canvas or illustrating his lyrics, shows the poet beside
a fine gate-leg table. Stage tradition is equally sure on the same
point. A company of swaggering cavaliers at an inn is not complete
without a group arranged at one of these tables quaffing wine from
flagons.

Without doubt the finest examples are to be found from the year 1660
to the end of the reign of Charles II. A new impetus had been given
to furniture-making in Restoration days. The country had settled
down in tranquillity and the domestic arts began again to thrive in
natural manner following the earlier motives of the days of Charles
I. The recent civil wars had arrested their development, and now they
burst forth again with renewed youth.

Ripe examples of the best period may be assigned to the last three
or four decades of the seventeenth century. These, it should be
explained, are in oak. We illustrate (p. 93) a particularly pleasing
specimen with double gates which belongs to this finest period.
There are, it will be observed, twelve legs, and the stretchers are
finely turned with what is known as the egg-and-reel pattern. As a
matter of fact pieces such as this, on account of the rare form,
bring from £15 to £35, and they are rapidly being gathered into the
folds of collectors.

Another rare form is shown on the same page. This, too, has double
gates, and the stretchers are similarly turned. There is only one
flap to this table, and it will be observed that it makes another
variation from accepted styles in having a rectangular instead of a
circular top. Tables with one flap are always rare, and when found
they usually have two gates.

It will be seen that there are pleasant surprises in following
changing forms all through the period. On p. 97 a table is
illustrated with two gates on one stretcher. This in date is about
1660.

The table below, on the same page, exhibits florid turning in the
legs. The stretchers across the two legs are half way up and are the
Yorkshire form of splat stretcher. This type is found as early as
1660 and as late as 1750.

The difference in structure is noticeable in two tables shown on p.
99. The one has six legs and the other eight legs. The first has
finely turned legs and stretchers in what is familiarly known as the
"barley-sugar" pattern. Among its exceptional features are the legs
being only six in number, the gates being hinged to stretcher, two
legs thus being dispensed with, and the additional bar across the two
central stretchers. This is a rare piece and in date is about
1670. The Gate Table on the same page with eight legs is a good
example of ball turning. This is a type which survived well into the
eighteenth century.

  [Illustration: GATE TABLE. _C._ 1660.

  Rare form. Two gates on one stretcher. Length, 3 ft. 10 ins.;
  width, 3 ft.]

  [Illustration: GATE TABLE.

  Exhibiting florid turning and Yorkshire type of splat stretchers.
  Examples are found as early as 1660 and as late as 1750. Length,
  4 ft. 7-1/2 ins.; width, 3 ft. 3-1/2 ins.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: GATE TABLE.

  Fine "barley sugar" turned legs and stretchers.

  Exceptional features: Only six legs (gates hinged to stretcher,
  two legs thus dispensed with). Additional bar across two central
  stretchers.

  Rare example. Date 1670.]

  [Illustration: GATE TABLE.

  Good example of ball turning. A type which survived well into the
  eighteenth century.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: COLLAPSIBLE TABLE WITH RARE X STRETCHER. _C._ 1660.

  The top folds over. Fine example.

  (_In the collection of Lady Mary Holland._)]

  [Illustration: PRIMITIVE GATE-LEG TABLE. SEVENTEENTH OR EARLY
  EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

  Gates at one end. Made by a local carpenter or wheelwright not
  conversant with turning.]

As exhibiting two types as wide asunder as the poles, and yet not far
removed in point of time, the two tables illustrated, p. 101, make a
curious contrast. The upper one, in date about 1660, is a slender,
graceful example, with the unusual =X=-shaped stretcher. It will be
seen from the illustration that the two stretchers when closed fit
flat with the legs and the top flaps over, thus making the table
practically collapsible.

The lower Table, of late seventeenth or early eighteenth century,
is a somewhat primitive form, with the gates at one end. This
has obviously been made by a local carpenter or wheelwright not
conversant with turning, as the shaping of the legs is strongly
suggestive of the rude fashioning of the shafts of a farm wagon.

=Walnut and Mahogany Varieties.=--As the mid-Jacobean period is
left behind, and walnut is the chief wood used in ornamental turned
work, so the character of the gate table begins to incline towards
the technique more suitable to walnut than to oak. The turning, more
easily done in the former wood, becomes more intricate. Hence some
examples appear which are practically types of the walnut age. But,
in general, the old gate-leg table is a survival throughout the
William and Mary and Queen Anne periods, wherein country makers clung
to the oak form and employed oak still in its manufacture.

The William and Mary Gate Table illustrated (p. 105) is constructed
with one gate. It is small in size, practically being an ornamental
or occasional table. It has a fine character, and the "barley
sugar" pattern is deeply turned. Side by side with this is a small
square-topped Gate Table with the pillar-leg, denoting a reversion
to early type. The stretcher is of the old trestle form. Both
these pieces, on account of their small size and well-balanced
construction, show that considerable attention was being paid to
symmetry. Such specimens can readily be transplanted to more modern
surroundings, and yet in some subtle manner harmonise with later
furniture.

They share this peculiarity with objects of Oriental art of the
highest type. Old blue Nankin and old lac cabinets, although
anachronisms amid furniture of a later date, possess the property of
being in sympathy with their new environment, much in the same manner
as an old Persian rug becomes a restful acquisition in a luxurious
Western home.

Some of the forms are so rare as to be almost unique. It is seldom
that so interesting a piece is found as the Table illustrated (p.
105) with the scroll feet in Spanish style. It has only one gate,
and the top of the table lifts up, forming a box. The lock is shown
at the front in the photograph. The adjacent table has a corrupted
form of the Spanish foot, doubled under in cramped fashion like the
flapper of a seal. This also has one gate; in date this piece is
about 1680.

  [Illustration:

    EARLY GATE TABLE.

    With square top and pillar leg.
    Stretcher: Old trestle form.
    Top, 2 ft. 4 ins. × 1 ft. 10 ins.

    WILLIAM AND MARY GATE TABLE.

    Fine character deep-turning "barley sugar"
    pattern with only one gate.
    Top, 2 ft. 6 ins. × 2 ft.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. A. B. Daniell & Sons._)]

  [Illustration: GATE TABLE WITH SQUARE TOP. _C._ 1680

  Having one gate and corrupted form of carved Spanish foot.]

  [Illustration: GATE-LEG TABLE. _C._ 1660.

  With one gate. Top lifts up to form box. The feet are in Spanish
  style.]

The days of mahogany, with Chippendale in his prime and Hepplewhite,
Ince and Mayhew, Robert Manwaring, Matthias Lock, William Shearer,
and a crowd of others, brought intricate carving in mahogany into
intense prominence. This was the golden age of furniture design. An
outburst of enthusiasm, following the architectural triumphs of the
Brothers Adam, wherein they raised interior decoration to a level as
high as that in France, had swept over the country. In spite of the
rich profusion of new design being poured out in illustrated volumes
and in executed furniture, the old gate-leg table still survived.
In form it was the same, but the richness of the new wood was too
enticing for the cabinet-maker not to employ. Accordingly we find
examples in mahogany.

In the Chippendale period =X=-shaped, cluster-leg, gate tables
are found, and turning was used in this cluster-leg form. The
ripe inventiveness of such a design as the gate-leg table was too
evident to escape the adoption by famous makers. When ingenuity of
construction was at its zenith the gate-leg was not likely to be
discarded in fashionable furniture.

On p. 109 two specimens of this period are shown. The upper one is of
somewhat unusual type, having a Cupid's bow underframing. It is seen
that the Spanish foot has still survived into the eighteenth century.
The lower table is again a rare form. It is probably early in date
for mahogany, being about 1740. The Spanish foot is employed, but in
a coarsened form, unusually inelegant, and suggestive of a golf club.

=Its Utility and Beauty.=--It is a natural question that one may ask
as to the reason that the gate table had such a prolonged life. It
passed through several strong periods of fashionable styles that
were overthrown in turn by newer designs. The reason is not far to
seek. It survived because the public could not do without it. There
must have been a continuous demand, unchecked by the excitements of
contemporary substitutes. But apparently there was nothing to take
its place, or which could permanently supplant it. Its utility is
undoubtedly one of its most marked features. This alone affected
its stability as a possession with which the farmer's wife and the
cottager would not part. Customs long established in the country
were not easily discontinued. Mother, daughter, and granddaughter
clung to the old and practical form of table. Nowadays there are
families in the shires whom nothing would induce to sell their old
gate tables. Partly this is for love of the old home, but mainly is
it the common-sense attitude which rebels against the sale of any
piece of furniture which is in constant use. Many objects long gone
into disuse, but really valuable from an artistic point of view, are
readily dispensed with. The cottager imagines that if he disposes of
a mere ornament for a sum of money with which he can buy something
useful he has effected a good "deal."

  [Illustration: MAHOGANY GATE TABLE.

  Unusual type. With "Cupid's bow" underframing. Spanish foot
  surviving into eighteenth century. Height, 2 ft. 5 ins.: diameter
  of top, 3 ft. 6 ins.; width, 4 ft.]

  [Illustration: MAHOGANY GATE TABLE.

  Rare form. Probably made of the new fashionable wood about 1740.
  Use of Spanish foot dying out. Diameter of top, 4 ft. 5-1/2 ins.
  × 4 ft. 4 ins.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

So much for its utility. Its beauty is a quality which has appealed
to persons of higher artistic instincts. It is not the quaintness,
because there are scores of other objects equally quaint, nor is
it altogether the antiquity, though, of course, nowadays that is
a determining factor, but it is the actual symmetry of form and
ingenious form of construction, enhanced by the wide range of
decorative treatment, which irresistibly appeal to the lover of the
beautiful. These manifold reasons, therefore, endowed the gate-leg
table with great vitality. Its hold of the people was not relaxed
till the age of the factory-made furniture. The banalities of the
early-Victorian period, which destroyed taste in persons of finer
susceptibilities than the common folk, supplanted the old historic
form, and it was made no more.

=Its Adoption in Modern Days.=--After William Morris and his school
had preached the revival of taste and the return to the simple and
the beautiful, and Ruskin with flowing rhetoric had instilled a love
for homespun into men's minds, there came newer ideals which, with
gradual dissemination, have grown into a great modern movement which
has become so overwhelmingly popular that the pendulum has almost
swung the other way. It has now become almost a truism that the
person of taste to-day sees nothing good in anything that is not old.
With this in view, artists and persons of advanced notions, if they
could not procure the old, had copies made for them of some of the
most beautiful styles suitable for modern requirements. In this there
was always the great Morrisian principle in view that the highest art
must show a full utilitarian purpose; so it came about that the gate
table was revived and came gloriously into its own again. To-day, as
in the seventeenth century, there is no more popular form of table,
and the modern cabinet-maker is manufacturing hundreds of these
tables.

The life-history of the gate-leg table is, therefore, shown to be an
interesting one. It is one of our oldest forms, and its construction
nowadays, save that it is now produced in a factory, is singularly
similar to that in the days when Oliver Cromwell was establishing our
power as a voice in Europe, when James II. had an eye towards the
supremacy of our navy, and when later our troops fought in Flanders.



CHAPTER IV

THE FARMHOUSE DRESSER



CHAPTER IV

THE FARMHOUSE DRESSER

   The days of the late Stuarts--Its early table form with
   drawers--The decorated type with shelves--William and
   Mary style with double cupboards--The Queen Anne cabriole
   leg--Mid-eighteenth-century types.


The various types of dresser associated with farmhouse use are
interesting as being apart from the sideboard, a later fashion
belonging to furniture of a higher type. It was not until the late
days of Chippendale, and after, that the Side Table began to be
designated a Sideboard, which later became a receptacle for wine,
with a cellaret, and had a drawer for table-linen.

The sideboard is not a modern term, for the word is found in Dryden
and in Milton. In the late eighteenth-century days the sideboard had
a brass rail at the back, and was ornamented by two mahogany urns of
massive proportions. Usually these were used for iced water and for
hot water, the latter for washing the knives and forks.

The Adam sideboard with its severe classical lines, and Sheraton's
elegant bow fronts and satinwood panels decorated with painting,
belong to the later developments of the sideboard as now known.

The dresser is something more homely. It is indissolubly connected
with homeliness and with the farmhouse and the country-side. In its
various forms it has appealed to lovers of simple furniture, and
farmhouse examples have found their way into surroundings more or
less incongruous. The dresser in its more primitive form requires the
necessary environment. It loses its charm when placed in proximity to
pieces of more pretentious character. The cupboard dresser, or the
type with open shelves, is less decorative than some of the forms
without the back. That is to say, it requires the exactly suitable
accompaniment to prevent its simple lines from being eclipsed by
furniture of a higher grade. The dresser is, therefore, especially
desirable to the collector furnishing a country cottage in harmonious
character; but its inclusion in the modern drawing-room is an
incongruity and its presence in the dining-room is more often than
not an unwarrantable intrusion.

=The Days of the Late Stuarts.=--It will be seen that the early
types have fronts finely decorated with geometric designs panelled
in the same fashion as the Jacobean chests of drawers, such as that
illustrated p. 69. The split baluster ornament is a noticeable
feature in this style, and the fine graceful balance of the panels
with the drawers with drop brass handles is an attractive feature
beloved by connoisseurs of the late Stuart period. The decoration in
the fronts of these early dressers is as diverse in character
as the fronts of the contemporary chests of drawers. This variety is
indicative of the personal character imparted to the work of the old
designers. It is rare to find two examples exactly alike. They differ
in details, much in the same manner as the brass candlesticks of the
same period, which possess the same charm of individuality.

  [Illustration: OAK DRESSER. ABOUT 1680.

  With finely decorated front.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. A. B. Daniell & Sons._)]

  [Illustration: OAK DRESSER.

  Fine example of the period of James II.]

  [Illustration: OAK DRESSER OF UNUSUAL TYPE. EARLY EIGHTEENTH
  CENTURY.

  With arched formation below and serpentine outline at sides.
  Height, 6 ft. 8-1/2 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 6 ins.; width, 6 ft. 2
  ins.]

  [Illustration: EARLY OAK DRESSER. ABOUT 1660.

  With urn-shaped legs.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

Of this particular type of oak Dresser the two examples illustrated
(p. 117) have characteristics which are common to the class. The
geometric front panels, the laid-on moulding, and the Jacobean
leg--in most cases the back legs of these side dressers are
square--should be intently noticed. In regard to the number of
the legs, this is governed by the length of the dresser. In the
lower example it will be seen that there are six legs and that the
stretcher is continued round three sides. In this example the legs
begin to show indications of the late-Jacobean style of more delicate
turning. In the upper example the legs are bolder.

These are oak specimens; the walnut varieties of similar design offer
more sumptuous decoration and belong to furniture more suitable for
the manor house than for the farm or cottage.

An earlier type, in date about 1660, illustrated p. 119, exhibits a
less ornate appearance and has the split urn-shaped legs in front and
flat legs at the back. The split legs are found sometimes in gate
tables, but when such is the case it may safely be conjectured that
these tables are not of English origin, as the split leg did not find
great favour with the English cabinet-makers.

Before passing to later examples it should be observed that this
particular form of dresser is most frequently found without a top
with shelves. Examples there are which, as we shall show, have the
original top, but as a rule it is advisable to note this feature
in examining these Jacobean dressers, for there are a great number
in the market to which later tops have been added, as suitable to
more modern requirements, or as likely to prove more attractive to
those collectors not familiar with the dresser in its earlier form.
Originally in early dressers with shelves there is no back, that is
to say, the shelves showed the wall behind them. This deficiency has
been obligingly supplied by later hands.

The dresser, as it found itself after certain transitional stages had
been passed through, is shown in the early eighteenth-century piece
illustrated (p. 119). This is of the early days of the eighteenth
century, that is to say, in the reign of Queen Anne. It is here seen
that the dresser is a set piece of furniture possessing attributes
instantly marking it as having been carefully designed with a due
observance as to the purpose to which it was to be put. The shelf at
the bottom was evidently intended for use; the arched formation below
the drawers has been planned in that manner to admit of utensils
placed there being taken out and replaced with ease. One can only
conjecture what may have stood there, maybe a barrel of cider, or
perhaps only a breadpan.

=The Decorated Type with Shelves.=--The back with shelves was a
useful addition, which, as will be seen in the earlier examples
leading up to this later development, had borne several experiments
in the way of cupboards. In this particular specimen the broken or
serpentine outline at sides of shelves is a noticeable feature, and
always adds a grace and charm to the dresser when employed by the
cabinet-maker. Another example in which this is effectively used is
illustrated on p. 123.

  [Illustration:

    DRESSER. EARLY JACOBEAN.

    Length, 6 ft. 5 ins.; height, 7 ft. 3 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 8-1/2 ins.

    DRESSER. EARLIEST DECORATED TYPE.

    Date about 1670.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

To return to the early-Jacobean types: two interesting pieces
are illustrated together (p. 123). That on the left, with four
legs and stretcher, has three drawers, and the upper portion or
back is ornamented by a primitive scalloped design suggestive
of the country hand. The other, on the right, has six legs and
four drawers, and the upper portion is beginning to receive
detailed treatment in regard to spacing of the shelves, and a
small cupboard on each side fills the growing need of cupboards
and drawers, a rapidly growing taste in English furniture for
domestic use as the home-life began to be more complex. About
this time nests of boxes and drawers in lac work from the East
began to be imported into this country in the better houses,
first as articles of great luxury and beauty, on account of
their colour and fine gold work, and later as being something
new and essentially utilitarian in regard to the accommodation
they afforded for the treasures the housewife wished to put away
from the prying eyes of her curious neighbours. As time went
on, the art of the cabinet-maker became more intricate. It is
not the place here to enter into the minutiæ of the development
of drawers and bureaus and cabinets, but the late eighteenth
century brought such furniture, apart from points in relation to
beauty of design, to great constructive skill. The age was one of
hidden contrivances and intricately cunning mechanism concealing
secret drawers or receptacles. Such pieces were never made for
farmhouse use; but the germ of the idea is ever present in all
furniture with indications of locked drawers and cupboards. This
is the note of intense civilisation as against the simpler modes
of primitive folk who have no bolt to their door and no lock to
guard their possessions.

=William and Mary Style with Double Cupboards.=--The variety
with double cupboards are interesting as giving a date to the
dressers in which they are found. It is usually accurate to
place such pieces in the William and Mary period, that is to say
from the year 1689 to the end of the seventeenth century. The
tendency in this class of furniture is to cling tenaciously to
older forms, especially in certain portions of the cabinet-work
which presented difficulties to the local cabinet-maker. The legs
retained their early-Jacobean character even when associated with
much later styles. This is noticeable in the William and Mary
example illustrated (p. 127). The arcaded doors are inlaid, the
canopy is decorated, the underwork beneath the drawers belongs
essentially to the "Orange" period of design in its feeling.

That the dresser could be made an ornamental piece of furniture
and found its place as an important possession in the farmhouse,
bright with an array of china, or pewter, or even silver, is
amply shown by the two examples illustrated together of which
the foregoing is one. The other oak dresser has at the top,
where the mugs are hanging, the original mug-hooks. It is of
the square-leg type and the arcaded work below the drawers
gives distinction to its lines; it possesses also the broken or
serpentine ends to the shelves. These curves and simple touches
of ornament all contribute to make such dressers pleasing in
character and representative of native work attempting with
strong endeavour to produce artistic results suitable to their
environment.

  [Illustration: WILLIAM AND MARY OAK DRESSER. DATE _C._ 1689.

  Decorated canopy, arcaded doors, inlaid and turned legs. Height,
  6 ft. 8-1/2 ins.; length, 6 ft. 4 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 8 ins.]

  [Illustration: OAK DRESSER.

  Square leg type; with original mug hooks. Height, 6 ft.; length,
  4 ft. 3 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 5 ins.]

=The Queen Anne Cabriole Leg.=--It is not to be expected that the
long-continued triumph of the cabriole leg of the eighteenth century
would leave the dresser without making its mark thereon. The exact
curve of the cabriole leg is dangerous in the hands of a novice,
who rarely if ever gets the correct balance in conjunction with the
rest of the construction. Accordingly, in farmhouse pieces this
tells its own story. It is as though the cabriole leg were a sudden
afterthought. This touch of representative want of repose is shown in
the specimen illustrated (p. 135). In date this is about 1740, and is
a somewhat rare form, having double cupboards.

A unique Dresser and Clock combined is illustrated (p. 131). The
form of the dresser, it will be seen, is quite different from other
specimens. The back is only sufficiently high to carry a row of small
drawers. The legs are circular and tapered, terminating in circular
feet. In the centre of the dresser is a clock of the familiar
grandfather form in miniature. This clock is not an addition to the
dresser, but is a portion of the dresser and was made with it. The
illustration shows the size of the door of the clock-case, with its
hinges not cut down or in any way interfered with, and the lock on
the other side is in the centre of the panel. It is obvious that no
later hand has tampered with this fine example, and it stands as a
remarkable dresser and unique in form in its construction with this
clock.

=Mid-eighteenth-century Types.=--In the Lancashire Dresser
illustrated (p. 135) the top is reminiscent of early types. The
cupboard has removed its position to the middle, a departure from
all earlier forms. This is a very characteristic example, and the
ample drawer accommodation shows the speedy transition from the old
form of dresser through its varied stages to the later modern variety
of the kitchen dresser, devoid of poetry and lacking interest to
the collector, and yet to the student having traces of its ancient
lineage.

The eighteenth-century farmhouse varieties offer no great departure.
They aim at being capacious and massive. They make no pretensions
to approach the niceties of the sideboard in use in the better
houses. They supply an undoubted want in the farmhouse for storage.
There were cordials and home-made wines and much prized linen and
a bright array of silver and Sheffield plate and pewter, and no
doubt tea services or porcelain from the new English factories of
Worcester, Derby, Bow, or maybe Plymouth or Bristol, to be shielded
from breakage. The farmer's wife and the farmer's daughters were less
than human if they did not follow the new fashions in some degree,
more or less, in tea-drinking and in becoming the proud possessors
of tea services and dinner services somewhat more delicate than the
old delft and coarse Staffordshire ware. The cupboards had ample
accommodation for these more valuable accessories of the farmhouse
parlour. The cabinet-maker therefore developed on lines exactly
suitable for the country clients whom he served.

  [Illustration: UNIQUE DRESSER AND CLOCK COMBINED.

  The clock is not an addition, but is a portion of the dresser,
  and was made for it.

  (_In the collection of D. A. Bevan, Esq._)]

The late forms show this marked tendency to provide innumerable
drawers and cupboards, in the farmhouse dressers contemporary with
Chippendale. Many examples are found which are practically elongated
chests of drawers; the old characteristics of the dresser are absent,
the back has disappeared altogether. There is no top with shelves.
Eight large drawers and two capacious cupboards give great storage
room in a piece often 9 feet in length. There is nothing finicking
in this type of furniture. It stands for homely comfort and love of
domestic order. We may be sure that the good dame who used this lower
piece, with its eight solid drawers with sound locks, was a person
of frugal habits and love of the old farmstead. We may safely assume
that she had a well-filled stocking hidden away somewhere in this
old-fashioned repository, put by for the rainy day.

In conclusion it may be said that a good deal has been talked about
Welsh dressers, as though they were a type absolutely apart from
any other. The differences are not great, as the carving, in which
the Welsh craftsman offers characteristics of his own, is absent in
pieces of furniture such as the dresser. Then there is the Normandy
dresser, a much-abused term: a considerable number of these, and
others, too, from Brittany, have been imported and the terms have
become trade descriptions. But in the main the English dresser
has passed through the phases we have described, and the outlines
herein suggested may be filled in by the painstaking collector. In
the chapter dealing with local types there is an illustration of
a Lancashire dresser (p. 273) which adds one more example to the
gallery of dressers we give as types in this chapter.

  [Illustration: OAK DRESSER. DATE ABOUT 1740.

  With early double cupboards. Legs in Queen Anne style. Height, 6
  ft. 7 ins.; width, 9 ft. 5-1/2 ins.; depth, 2 ft. 2-1/2 ins.]

  [Illustration: LANCASHIRE DRESSER. MIDDLE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

  Top reminiscent of early types. Ample drawer accommodation.
  Transition to modern dresser. Deeply cut panels. Cupboard in
  middle as distinct from earlier forms at sides. Height, 7 ft. 2
  ins.; width, 6 ft. 7 ins.; depth, 2 ft.]



CHAPTER V

THE BIBLE-BOX, THE CRADLE, THE SPINNING-WHEEL, AND THE
BACON-CUPBOARD



CHAPTER V

THE BIBLE-BOX, THE CRADLE, THE SPINNING-WHEEL, AND THE BACON-CUPBOARD

   The Puritan days of the seventeenth century--The Protestant
   Bible in every home--The variety of carving found in
   Bible-boxes--The Jacobean cradle and its forms--The
   spinning-wheel--The bacon-cupboard.


The Authorised version of the Holy Bible, "translated out of the
original tongues and with the former translations diligently compared
and revised," by His Majesty's command, found a place in every
household in Stuart days. The letter of the learned translators "To
the most High and Mighty Prince James, by the Grace of God, King of
Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith," &c.,
retains its place in modern editions. It is an historic document
worthy of preservation, and perhaps those who have forgotten its
terms may be glad to have their memory refreshed. It is of surpassing
moment to all who recognise the Protestant derivation of the Bible
as we now know it, and the sectarian feelings which inspired the
translators under King James in their fulsome dedication to the
Modern Solomon. "Great and manifold were the blessings, most dread
Sovereign, which Almighty God the Father of all mercies bestowed upon
us the people of England, when first he sent your Majesty's Royal
Person to rule and reign over us. For whereas it was the expectation
of many, who wished not well unto our _Sion_, that upon the setting
of that bright Occidental Star, Queen Elizabeth, of most happy
memory, some thick and palpable clouds of darkness would so have
overshadowed this land, that men should have been in doubt which way
they were to walk; and that it should hardly be known who was to
direct the unsettled State; the appearance of your Majesty, as the
Sun in its strength, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised
mists, and gave unto all that were well affected exceeding cause of
comfort; especially when we beheld the Government established in Your
Highness and your hopeful seed, by an undoubted title, and this also
accompanied by peace and tranquillity at home and abroad."

It is, as we affirm, an interesting document as showing the Puritan
tendencies at a time when much was in the melting-pot and the first
of the Stuarts, with his broad Scots accent and his ungainly ways,
came down to St. James's from the North. Compare the above literary
dedication to James the First with the word-portrait painted by Green
the historian, and one may draw one's own inferences. "His big head,
his slobbering tongue, his quilted clothes, his rickety legs, stood
out in as grotesque a contrast with all that men recalled of Henry
or of Elizabeth as his gabble and rodomontade, his want of personal
dignity, his buffoonery, his coarseness of speech, his pedantry, his
contemptible cowardice. Under this ridiculous exterior, however, lay
a man of much natural ability, a ripe scholar with a considerable
fund of shrewdness, of mother-wit, and ready repartee."

=The Protestant Bible in every Home.=--Himself a theologian, James
influenced his contemporaries. "Theology rules there," said Grotius
of England only two years after Elizabeth's death. There was an
indifference to pure letters and persons were counted fine scholars
who were diligent in the study of the Bible. The language of the
people became enriched with this study, which extended to all
classes. John Bunyan, the son of a tinker at Elstow, learned his
intense prose from the Bible. The peasant absorbed the Bible till its
words became his own. With the Puritan movement came the production
of men of serious type, and with it too came the disappearance of
the richer and brighter life and humour of Elizabethan days. It was
a literary movement and a religious movement which penetrated to the
lower classes and often left the upper classes and gentry unmoved.
In dealing with this and its reflex upon the domestic habits of the
people, the visible effects in regard to furniture are strikingly
evident in the plethora of Bible-boxes belonging to those in this
period of Biblical study, to whom Shakespeare and Ben Jonson were
unknown and Spenser's _Faerie Queene_ and Milton's _Comus_ were
sealed books.

It would almost seem that in many cases the Bible was the only
book which was read and treasured. It was incorporated in the home
life. It served as a register to record the names and dates of
birth and death or marriage of members of the family. Some of these
family registers have been most valuable in tracing details in
biography where parish registers have failed to supply the necessary
information.

=The Variety of Carving found in Bible-boxes.=--We give a series
of illustrations indicating some of the interesting details of
carving to be found on such boxes, where, as in work intended for a
treasure-chest to preserve a sacred book, considerable zeal has gone
to the elaboration of ornament. These seventeenth-century relics of
a wave of religious enthusiasm are the crude Puritan likenesses,
belonging to a less innately artistic race, of the tabernacles and
ivory carved Madonnas and saints of the Italian renaissance. They
both, though poles asunder in realisation, represent the instinctive
love of man for ornament in connection with his religious emotions.
Savage races with another ritual produce religious and ceremonial
woodcarving representative of their best. Here, then, is the Puritan
craftsmanship, mainly of provincial origin and found scattered over
various parts of the country, following _motifs_ executed by the same
hands as Jacobean chairs and dressers, but bearing rich touches of
ornament, betraying much originality, within the limited scope of
Jacobean design.

The carving has nothing of the humour or strong bold relief of the
miserere seats of the palmy days of the woodcarver in the fifteenth
and early sixteenth century in details that might well have been
applied to the Bible-box. The ambition of the Puritan woodcarver
never reached figure-work, or he might have represented Biblical
scenes if his abhorrence of graven images had not demoralised his
fancy. Some of the early boxes have bold carving. We illustrate
a fine example (p. 143) of the time of James I., about 1600. The
design is floral, which embodies the well-known conventional rose.
Illustrated on the same page is another carved box of unusual pattern
with floriated design. It was a frequent practice to treat the front
of the box as though it were continuous and the pattern leaves off
at the ends much in the same manner as modern wallpaper. In the box
above it will be seen that the front is panelled and the design is
confined to the circumscribed area.

  [Illustration: CARVED OAK BIBLE-BOX. FINE EXAMPLE. TIME OF JAMES
  I. ABOUT 1600.

  Length, 2 ft. 4 ins.; width, 1 ft. 4 ins.; height, 11-1/2 ins.]

  [Illustration: CARVED BIBLE-BOX OF UNUSUAL PATTERN.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: BIBLE-BOX OF VERY RARE PATTERN. ABOUT 1650.

  This type always had the same kind of clasp.]

  [Illustration: BIBLE-BOX OF USUAL PATTERN COMMONLY FOUND.]

Another piece with very rare pattern, in date about 1650, has a bold
type of carving in the two semicircles stretched across the front.
This use of semicircles occurs in types usually found. The example
illustrated (p. 145) has incised carving or "scratch." It will be
seen that there is never an attempt at inlay or any of the delicacies
of the refined craftsman. Among the various types of "scratch" boxes
the use of circles and heart-shaped ornament is constant. The locks
found on this type of box are always of the class as shown in the
illustration, and the clasp is well known.

In the collection of Bible-boxes the novice must carefully learn
the exact limitations of the school of woodworkers in this minor
field. The touch of the foreign craftsman should be easily
recognisable, with its piquancy and real artistic feeling. These
Puritan Bible-boxes have flat lids, and in order to give some touch
of romance to them or whet the appetite of the collector they are
frequently described as "lace-boxes," though it is very doubtful if
such boxes were ever used for storing lace. Sometimes similar boxes
with sloping lids were used as early forms of writing-desks.

=The Jacobean Cradle.=--The specimens of this type of furniture
always exhibit, in the oak variety associated with farmhouse use,
a plainness as a noticeable factor. They are usually panelled, but
the panel has received no carved ornament and is especially simple.
Of course they always have rockers. In the examples illustrated the
slight variation in these rockers will be observed. Sometimes they
are plain and sometimes they have slight ornamental curves. The only
other ornament may be found in the turned knobs at the foot and
sometimes at the head. Sometimes there are fine knobs on the hood.

The hood is sometimes shaped and exhibits a naïve attempt at
symmetrical design. These cradles have long been familiar objects
in cottagers' homes, but are now being displaced by modern wicker
cradles. The picture _A Flood_ (1870), by Sir John E. Millais, shows
one of these cradles floating in a flooded meadow. The baby is
crowing with delight, and a black cat sits at the foot of the cradle.

The holes in the example illustrated (p. 149) are intended to receive
a cord stretched across the cradle to protect the occupant.

  [Illustration: OAK CRADLE.

  With shaped hood and turned knobs at head and foot.]

  [Illustration: OAK CRADLE.

  With shaped hood with turned ball ornaments. Holes on each side
  to fasten rope to protect occupant.]

  [Illustration: YARN-WINDER AND SPINNING-WHEEL.]

  [Illustration: BUCKINGHAMSHIRE BOBBIN'S.

  Turned wood bobbins with coloured beads to identify the bobbins
  from each other.

  (_In the collection of the author._)]

=The Spinning-wheel.=--To this day the spinning-wheel is used in
Scotland, in the Highlands. The wool or yarn winders are usually
in windlass form with six spokes. The turning upon these winders
and spinning wheels resembles the spindles on the spindle-back
chairs. There is in Buckinghamshire bobbins a similar turning,
individual in character and exhibiting considerable artistic beauty.
In spinning-wheels there is considerable scope for the use of fine
touches of ornament, in such practical objects dear to the housewife.
Bone sometimes was used in the turned knobs. The making of these
spinning-wheels was undertaken by persons desirous of winning the
esteem of those who used them. Many of them have come down as
heirlooms in families and have not been held as objects of art, to be
regarded as curiosities, but as articles of everyday use.

The use of the spinning-wheel was not confined exclusively to the
farmer's wife. In early days great ladies were adepts at spinning.
By the time of George III. it was employed by the ladies of titled
families. Mrs. Delany, when staying with the Duchess of Portland at
Bulstrode, writes: "The Queen came about twelve o'clock, and caught
me at my spinning-wheel, and made me spin on and give her a lesson
afterwards; and I must say she did it tolerably for a queen." This
letter, dated 1781, goes to prove two things, that spinning was a
real task still undertaken by great ladies, and not a fashionable
amusement. Had it been the latter Mrs. Delany would not have used the
expression "caught me at my spinning-wheel," wherein she indicates
that the occupation was somewhat of a menial one.

In regard to the Buckinghamshire bobbins, sometimes finely carved
in bone, those illustrated (p 151.) indicate the character of the
cottagers' treasures in the pillow-lace-making districts. The
patterns of these bobbins are not repeated. Individual touches
are given to these bobbins by the village turners which are not
duplicated. In use, the bobbin has to be identified by some mark, and
beads of different colours are employed, which are affixed by means
of a wire to the bobbin, as is shown in the illustration.

=The Bacon-cupboard.=--Another class which it is convenient to place
among miscellaneous objects is the bacon-cupboard. The illustration
(p. 231) shows the type of bacon-cupboard with seat and arms and
drawers beneath. The position held by the bacon-cupboard in the
farmhouse is shown by the growing dignity in the character of these
cupboards. The gradual growth and development are shown in many
specimens of the Queen Anne period, frequently of Lancashire origin.
Such pieces, with classic pilasters, broken cornice, and bevelled
panels and drawers beneath, are typified in wardrobes and dressers
belonging to eighteenth-century farmhouse furniture. The development
of capacious cupboards for various domestic uses is noticeable in
this class of furniture up to early nineteenth-century days.



CHAPTER VI

EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY STYLES



CHAPTER VI

EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY STYLES

   The advent of the cabriole leg--The so-called Queen Anne
   style--The survival of oak in the provinces--The influence of
   walnut on cabinet-making--The early-Georgian types--Chippendale
   and his contemporaries.


The dawn of the eighteenth century practically commenced with the
reign of Queen Anne. The times were troublous. As princess, in the
days of William the Dutchman and her sister Mary, she was forbidden
the Court as John Churchill, then Earl of Marlborough, designed to
overthrow William and place Anne on the throne. "Were I and my Lord
Marlborough private persons," William exclaimed, "the sword would
have to settle between us."

At the death of Mary the Princess Anne, together with the
Marlboroughs, was recalled to St. James's. At the death of William,
in 1702, Anne came to the throne. Only just in her thirty-seventh
year, she was so corpulent and gouty that she could not walk from
Westminster Hall to the Abbey, and was carried in an open chair.
During the Coronation ceremony she was too infirm to support herself
in a standing position without assistance.

The age of Anne is remarkable for its restless intrigues. Court plots
were rife when Queen Anne "Mrs. Morley" in her private letters to the
Duchess of Marlborough, who was "Mrs. Freeman," finally broke with
the overbearing Duchess and made Abigail Hill, one of the Marlborough
creatures, her chief confidant. The Protestant Whig party favoured
the long war in the Low Countries and in Spain, although conducted by
a Tory general, Marlborough, who, by the way, did not take the field
in Flanders till he was fifty-two, a remarkable achievement for so
great a military career, wherein he never fought a battle in which he
was not victorious.

The greatness of Marlborough is indisputable. His fond love for his
wife runs like a gold thread through the dark web of his life. His
wife had, during a large part of Anne's reign, despotic empire over
Anne's feeble mind. "History exhibits to us few spectacles more
remarkable," says Lord Macaulay, "than that of a great and wise man
who, when he had contrived vast and profound schemes of policy, could
carry them into effect only by inducing one foolish woman, who was
often unmanageable, to manage another woman who was more foolish
still."

  [Illustration: LANCASHIRE OAK SETTLE. _C._ 1760.

  Length, 6 ft.; depth, 2 ft. 1 in.]

  [Illustration: LANCASHIRE QUEEN ANNE SETTLE.

  Showing transition into later type of modern settee.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

To us now, with the secret springs of history laid bare, there is
much to marvel at, much to deplore as trivial. In regard to matters
of high state and the suppleness of time-servers, memoirs and private
journals have exposed many a skeleton carefully hidden from public
gaze. But of the life of the people, especially the life in the
country districts, the picture is somewhat blurred. Men of letters
flocked to the town--the town was London. Provincial life lies behind
a curtain. There were Spanish doubloons coming up from Bristol and
prize-money from the wars was scattered inland from the ports.
Scotland was united to England by the Act of Union. "I desire," said
the Queen, "and expect from my subjects of both nations that from
henceforth they act with all possible respect and kindness to one
another, and so that it may appear to all the world they have hearts
disposed to become one people." This wish has been amply fulfilled
and the union has become something more than a name. Never have two
peoples different in thought, in tradition, and in established law
become so completely welded together.

But the war of the Spanish Succession must have drained English
blood as it taxed English pockets. "Six millions of supplies and
almost fifty millions of debt," wrote Swift bitterly. The tide of
Marlborough's success was undoubtedly secured by the outpouring
of English lives. Stalwart levies of men from the shires went to
join the strange medley of the forces of the Allies commanded by
Marlborough. Dutchmen, Danes, Hanoverians, Würtembergers, and
Austrians jostled shoulders with each other in his troops. He
launched them with calm imperturbability against his opponents
at Malplaquet, for example, where with a Pyrrhic triumph he lost
twenty-four thousand men against half that number of the French
behind their entrenchments.

It is little wonder that the war was unpopular in the country, where
the Spanish Succession and the "balance of power" were only symbols
for so much pressure on the needs of the labouring classes. Bonfires
might be lit for Blenheim, but many a village mourned those who would
never return.

In spite of this intermingling of England with European politics,
the general life of the people remained untouched from outside
influence in regard to arts and manufacture. Cut off from intercourse
with France, the grandeur of the art of Louis Quatorze was as far
removed from early eighteenth-century England as though Boulle and
Jean Bérain and Lepaute were in another continent and the château of
Versailles in the fastnesses of the Urals. It is true that Louis XIV.
presented two wonderful cabinets to the Duke of Monmouth, exquisite
examples of metal inlay and coloured marquetry, but such pieces were
beyond the capabilities of any English craftsman to emulate.

The chief innovations of the early eighteenth century followed
the Dutch lines familiarised in the preceding days of William and
Mary. Oak remained in farmhouse and country furniture, but in the
fashionable world walnut was extensively used, and occasionally
mahogany. Corner cupboards were introduced early in the reign of
Anne, and hooped chairs, familiar in engravings of Flemish interiors,
came into general use. Fiddle-splat chairs were also common in
the first half of the eighteenth century. In regard to feet, the
ball-and-claw, and club foot were introduced. Caning of chairs went
out of fashion till the end of the century. Shell and pendant
ornament on knees of chair-legs became marked features, and, above
all, the cabriole leg to chairs and tables is associated with the
early years of the reign, and the term "Queen Anne" is always applied
to such pieces.

  [Illustration: CUPBOARD WITH DRAWERS. _C._ 1700.

  With "swan head" pediment. Pedestal at top for delft or china.
  Round beadings to drawers.]

  [Illustration: QUEEN ANNE BUREAU BOOKCASE.

  Farmhouse oak variety. Emulating a finer walnut or mahogany
  piece.]

  [Illustration: FINE EXAMPLE OAK TABLE. _C._ 1720.

  Well-proportioned legs, club feet, original undercutting.
  Exemplary of professional country cabinet-maker's highest work.]

  [Illustration: OAK TABLE. _C._ 1720.

  With hoof feet and knee, possibly copied from a fine Queen Anne
  piece, exemplifying the best work of country cabinet-maker.
  Height, 2 ft. 7 ins.; top, 1 ft. 7-1/2 ins. × 2 ft. 3 ins.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

=The Cabriole Leg.=--This form of leg, swelling into massive
proportions where it joins the seat, and curving outwards and
tapering to a ball-and-claw foot or a club foot, lasted till end of
Chippendale period, roughly, for nearly half a century. It assumed
various forms until it was supplanted by the straight leg, and the
stretcher, which had disappeared with the use of the cabriole leg,
again came into use.

Examples of the cabriole leg appear as illustrations to various types
of furniture in this chapter. At first its use did not interfere
with the employment of the stretcher, but about 1710 the stretcher
disappeared. The Lancashire Queen Anne settle illustrated (p. 159)
shows the stretcher joining the front leg to the back. In the settle
illustrated above, in date 1760, it will be seen the stretchers have
vanished.

=The So-called Queen Anne Style.=--Fashions slowly adopted in cabinet
design do not readily arrange themselves in exact periods coinciding
with the reigns of individual sovereigns. But it is convenient to
affix a label to certain marked changes and attribute their general
use to a particular reign. The innovation of the square panel with
broken corners and ornamental curves at top is found in Queen Anne
settles. The departure from the square panel and line of the curved
and broken top is exhibited in the second Great Seal of Anne,
commemorating the Union with Scotland. It is reminiscent of the Dutch
influence, and is found in Sussex firebacks of an earlier period. The
straight lines of early-Jacobean cabinet-work were rapidly undergoing
a change; the square wooden back of the chair was shortly to be
replaced by fiddle splats, which in their turn, in late-Georgian
days, became pierced and fretted and carved under the genius of
Chippendale's hand.

The two settles illustrated (p. 159) show several interesting points.
The panels are typical of the love of the curved line, which Hogarth
defined as the line of beauty. In the upper one the arms still retain
the old Jacobean form in this farmhouse example. The ball foot still
clings to the earlier form. The seat is sunk to receive a long
cushion. In the adjacent specimen the seat with its cushion and the
curved =S= arms upholstered show the transition into the later type
of modern settee.

The curved outline finds similar expression in the hood of
grandfather clock-cases and in the shape of metal dials. A cupboard
with drawers illustrated (p. 163) has what is known as a "swan head."
The panels to the doors have similarly novel features in their
structure. It will be observed that there is a square pedestal at
the top of this piece, which was intended as a stand for a delft or
Chinese jar. The drawers of this cupboard have round beadings.

The typical instance of curved design with not a single straight
line, not even the back legs, which are bowed, is the grandfather
chair with the high back, upholstered all over. The cabriole legs
with ball-and claw-feet, the =C=-shaped arms, the scroll upholstered
wings, and the oval back, depart from the rectilinear; even the
underframing of the seat is bow-shaped. Similarly, the walnut
arm-chairs of the period from 1690 to 1715 had bold curves. The arms
always possessed a curious scroll, the backs had broad splats with
curling shoulders, and often a broad bold ribbon pattern making two
loops to fill up the top of the hoop at the back, with a carved
shell at the point of intersection. Big pieces of furniture, such
as bureaus, had the broken arch pediment, and smaller objects, such
as mirrors, had the arched or broken top; and when these dressing
mirrors had small drawers, these disdained the straight front and
became convex.

Under the Dutch influence, in the first period of English veneer
work, from about 1675 to 1715, very fine cabinets and bureaus and
chests of drawers were made. Walnut was the wood employed, with
the panels inlaid with pollard elm, boxwood, ebony, mahogany,
sycamore, and other coloured woods. Figured walnut was beloved by
the cabinet-maker beginning to feel his way in colour schemes of
decoration. Bandings of herring-bone inlay and rounded mouldings to
drawers are very characteristic. Bureaus and important pieces had
birds and flowers and trees or feather marquetry after fine Dutch
models. Picked walnut, especially exhibiting a fine feathered figure,
was used as veneer, and with these and other glorious creations of
the walnut school of cabinet-workers the age of walnut may be said
to have been in full swing.

=The Survival of Oak in the Provinces.=--The foregoing descriptions
apply to fashionable folks' furniture. Such fashions did not come
into usage in the farmhouses and in the cottages. Oak was still
employed without being displaced by the walnut of the town maker.
Oak was in the main more suitable for the particular class of
furniture which was likely to receive less delicate care than
the writing-cabinets and bureaus and the china-cupboards of more
fastidious people. Tea-drinking had become the luxury of the
great world of society, and had hardly come into general use in
the country till late in the reign of Anne, though by 1690 it
had gained considerable favour in London. Coffee was introduced
slightly earlier, and many invectives in broadsides and in poetical
satires appear in the late seventeenth century against coffee
and coffee-houses. In 1674 the "Women's Petition against Coffee"
complained that "it made men as unfruitful as the deserts whence that
unhappy berry is said to be brought; that the offspring of our mighty
ancestors would dwindle into a succession of apes and pigmies, and on
a domestic message a husband would stop by the way to drink a couple
of cups of coffee." The prejudice against coffee, and especially
against coffee-houses, was lasting, and coffee failed to establish
itself as a national beverage. The labouring classes declined to
be weaned from their ale and other stronger drinks. The Spaniards
brought chocolate from Mexico; Roger North, Attorney-General to
James II., uttered a violent polemic against chocolate houses,
perhaps more on account of the political clubs gathered there than
against the beverage itself. "The use of coffee-houses," says he,
"seems much improved by a new invention called chocolate-houses, for
the benefit of rooks and cullies of quality, where gaming is added
to the rest, as if the Devil had erected a new university, and those
were the colleges of its professors."

  [Illustration:

    QUEEN ANNE GLASS- OR CHINA-CUPBOARD.

    Spun glass doors. Heavy bars mark early type prior to tracery.

    GEORGIAN CORNER CUPBOARD. LATE EIGHTEENTH
    CENTURY.

    Broken architraves and cushion top. Having original hinges.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: SMALL OAK TABLE. 1700-1720.

  Height, 2 ft. 4-3/4 ins.; width, 2 ft. 3 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 9-3/4
  ins. Graceful proportion with cabriole leg.]

  [Illustration: OAK TABLE.

  Showing at a later period the last traces of the cabriole leg.]

The varying phases of town life, of which the above quotations give
a passing glimpse, found little reflex in the sturdy unchanging life
of the provinces. Generation after generation, men farmed the same
lands and their dependents lived in cottages adjacent; tillers of the
ground, herdsmen, toilers in the fields, living by the sweat of their
brow. They were content with simpler pleasures, which centred round
the alehouse and the village green, or maybe the village church, if
the hunting rector and the studious vicar were not too heedless of
the fate of their flock. But other influences were soon to be at
work to break the lethargy of those of the clergy who slumbered.
Wesley founded the Methodist movement. Whitefield began his sermons
in the fields and looked down from a green slope on several thousand
colliers grimy from the coalpits near Bristol to see, as he preached,
tears "making white channels down their blackened cheeks." Later
again, Hannah More drew sympathy to the poverty and crime of the
agricultural classes.

=The Influence of Walnut on Cabinet-making.=--If oak was the wood
which the country joiner loved best, he was not without some
sympathetic leaning towards the effects which could be produced in
the softer walnut. Such styles accordingly began slowly to have a
marked influence upon the farmhouse furniture in early-Georgian days.
It was not easy to produce curved lines in the refractory oak, tough
and brittle, but the village craftsman essayed his best to please his
patrons whose taste had been caught by the newer fashions observed in
the squire's parlour when paying rare visits.

In the two examples illustrated of farmhouse cupboard and bureau
bookcase (p. 163) it will be seen that here is the country maker
definitely trying his skill in his native wood to emulate the finer
walnut examples of town cabinet-makers. This is even more noticeable
in regard to some of the tables actually found in farmhouses
belonging to as early as the first quarter of the eighteenth century.
The two specimens illustrated (p. 165) exemplify this tendency to
imitate the designs of trained workers. The country touch always
betrays itself in the cabriole leg, whether in chair or in table. The
upper table has less _naïveté_ than most examples found. There is
a balance in its construction rarely found in provincial work. The
legs, always the stumbling-block to the less experienced artificer,
are here of exceptionally fine proportions, terminating in club feet.
The lower table shows a less capable treatment of the cabriole leg.
The hoof foot and the carved knee have obviously been copied from a
fine Queen Anne model. In the underframing of both tables there is
an experiment in ornament and form rarely attempted except in the
highest flights of the country maker, and as such these two fine
examples must be regarded.

  [Illustration: OAK TABLE.

  Showing clumsy corners and indicating the _naïveté_ of the
  country cabinet-maker.]

  [Illustration: OAK TABLE.

  Showing transition from cabriole leg to straight leg of 1760.]

=The Early Georgian Types.=--Treating of the early-Hanoverian period
from the death of Queen Anne in 1714, and including the reigns
of George I. from 1714 to 1727 and George II. from 1727 to 1760,
furniture of all types begins to assume a complexity of construction.
At the final outburst the fine masterpieces of creation of the
great schools of design during the last half of the eighteenth
century, embodied the life-work of Chippendale, the brothers Adam,
Hepplewhite, Sheraton, and many others. This period from 1750 to 1800
was the golden age of design in England. It has had a far-reaching
effect, and still casts its glory upon the present-day schools of
designers, whose adaptations and lines of progress are based upon the
finest flower of the eighteenth-century styles.

The massive walnut chairs with deep underframing and broad hoop backs
departed from the solid splats of the Anne style and endeavoured
to become less squat by the employment of banded ribbon-work,
coarse, heavy, and ponderous in style. Settees, arm-chairs and
single chairs in this style came as the final efforts of the walnut
school. The graceful ribbon designs interlacing each other in knots,
and the flowing carving in mahogany of Chippendale, put a period
to all dullness and heavy design. With the new style and the new
wood a splendid field was opened to cabinet-makers, and the quick
appreciation of these opportunities signalised their work as of
permanent artistic value.

Among more important pieces, though still falling under the category
of farmhouse styles, may be mentioned the Queen Anne glass or china
cupboard, and the Georgian corner cupboard, illustrated p. 171.

The former has heavy bars, which mark the early type prior to
tracery, and it has spun-glass doors. Porcelain factories at Bow,
Worcester, and Derby brought such cupboards into more general use
after the middle of the century. Staffordshire earthenware tea
and coffee services were found in great numbers in farmhouses and
cottages. After the days of delft and stoneware came the prized china
services of the housewife. Pewter was largely used, but the number
of ale-jugs of Toby form, or cider-mugs with rural subjects to suit
the tastes of the users, indicate that more modern ideas and taste,
once exclusive to the world of fashion, had penetrated the country
districts.

The Georgian corner cupboard shows the broken architraves and cushion
top. The hinges should be noticed as being original.

=Chippendale and his Contemporaries.=--At first using the cabriole
leg with ball-and-claw foot, not quite as he found it, but reduced
to slightly more slender proportions to be in symmetry with his less
massive backs to chairs, Chippendale came to the straight line. He
employed it in the legs of tables and in the seats of chairs, in the
bracket supports, and in the top rail of his chairs. Chippendale
in his day, made the first straight top rail to the chair. It is
interesting to note the phases of changing design in country-made
furniture prior to his time, and the sudden mastery of form
which became the common inheritance of all after his and other
contemporary design-books were promulgated broadcast.

  [Illustration: QUEEN ANNE TEA TABLE. _C._ 1710.

  With scalloped edge for cups. Height, 2 ft. 4 ins.; depth, 1 ft.
  9 ins.; length, 2 ft. 8 ins.]

  [Illustration: OAK REVOLVING BOOK-STAND. _C._ 1720.

  Rare form. Diameter of top, 2 ft.; height, 2 ft. 8 ins.

  (_In the collection of Miss Holland._)]

  [Illustration: COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE TABLE.

  Leg with exaggerated knee, claw, and ball foot. Accuracy in
  straight joinery. Failure in curved work.

  Top, 2 ft. 7 ins. × 1 ft. 3 ins.; height, 2 ft. 4 ins.]

  [Illustration: SQUARE MAHOGANY FLAP TABLE. _C._ 1730.

  Height, 2 ft. 4 ins.; length, 3 ft. 10-1/2 ins.; width, 2 ft. 1
  in. Round cross stretcher. Rare form.]

  [Illustration: TRIPOD TABLE. _C._ 1760.

  Chippendale style, probably unique. Elaborate rococo work.

  (_In the collection of Harold Bendixon, Esq._)]

In the table the cabriole leg showed early signs of passing away.
The two examples illustrated (p. 173) clearly indicate this. The
upper one, of the time of Queen Anne, shows the cabriole leg in fine
proportion under due subjection, and is a delicate example of fine
cabinet-work. The lower one sees the leg losing its cabriole curve,
but still rounded and still possessing the club foot.

Even more interesting are the two tables illustrated (p. 177).
The country maker was slow to adopt the cabriole leg when it was
fashionable, but when it became unfashionable he was equally
loth to depart from his accustomed style. These clearly point to
the transition between the cabriole leg and the straight leg of
Chippendale, and are about 1760 in date.

The forms of design of tables of eighteenth-century date are
extremely varied in character, denoting the rapidly changing habits
of the people. The Queen Anne tea-table, with scalloped edges for
cups, marks the note of preciosity creeping into country life. A
revolving bookstand in table form, of about 1720 in date, is another
rare piece. The adjacent table (p. 181) is country Chippendale. The
exaggerated knee and the feeble ball-and-claw foot mark the failure
of the provincial hand at curved work, accurate though he might be in
straight joinery. The "Cupid's bow" underframing is interesting in
combination with the rest of the design.

The tripod table offered difficulties of construction and is not
often found. The example illustrated is probably unique in form. In
date it is about 1760, and is remarkable for the attempt at elaborate
rococo work. Sometimes, though not often, mahogany was used in
farmhouse examples. The table illustrated (p. 183) is an instance of
the use of this wood instead of oak. It is about 1730 in date, and
exhibits an unusual form in the round cross stretcher, a touch of
originality by the maker. It is, as will be seen, a square-topped
table with flaps.

Elaboration of a high order was happily not often attempted by the
country workman, or the results with his limited experience would
have been disastrous. Instead of a fine series of really good, solid,
and well-constructed furniture made for practical use we should have
had a wilderness of failures at attempting the impossible. A copy
of a fine Chippendale side-table illustrated (p. 187) is a case in
point. There is the usual want of balance in the poise of the leg,
but the carving is of exceptional character. The table beneath, with
its long and tapering legs, has all the characteristics of the Adam
style. The beaded decoration on the legs, the classic fluting and the
carved rosette claim distant relationship with the classic inventions
of Robert Adam. The wood is pinewood, and as an example it is of
singular interest.

The rapid survey of eighteenth-century influences bearing on the
class of furniture of which this volume treats will perhaps induce
the collector to scrutinise more carefully all pieces coming under
his notice, with a view to arriving at their salient features
in connection with the native design of more or less untutored
craftsmen.

  [Illustration: ELABORATE TABLE.

  Country attempt to imitate fine Chippendale side table. Note the
  want of balance in leg.]

  [Illustration: PINEWOOD COUNTRY-MADE ADAM TABLE.

  Note the unusually long leg.]



CHAPTER VII

THE EVOLUTION OF THE CHAIR


  [Illustration: OAK ARM-CHAIR. DATE _C._ 1675.

  With elaborate scroll back.]

  [Illustration: OAK ARM-CHAIR. DATE 1650.

  With scratched lozenge.]

  [Illustration: CHESTNUT ARM-CHAIR. DATE 1690.]

  [Illustration: OAK ARM-CHAIR. DATE 1690.]

(_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)



CHAPTER VII

THE EVOLUTION OF THE CHAIR

   Early days--The typical Jacobean oak chair--The evolution of
   the stretcher--The chair-back and its development--Transition
   between Jacobean and William and Mary forms--Farmhouse
   styles contemporary with the cane-back chair--The Queen Anne
   splat--Country Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton--The
   grandfather chair--Ladder-back types--The spindle-back
   chair--Corner chairs.


In order to deal exhaustively with the evolution of the chair
from its earliest forms to the latest developments in sumptuous
upholstery, it would be necessary to make an extended survey of
furniture, dating back to early classic days. To enumerate the
manifold varieties belonging to various countries and to trace
the gradual progress in form, which kept pace with the advance in
civilisation, would be of sufficient interest to occupy a whole
volume. Man, as a sitting or lounging animal, has grown to require
more elaborate forms of chair, or settee, or sofa, and the modern
tendency has been towards comfort and luxury.

In regard to English furniture the intense contrast between the days
of Elizabeth and those of Victoria is at once noticeable. According
to Lord Macaulay in his comparison between the manners of his day and
those of the past, the furniture of a middle-class dwelling-house of
the nineteenth century was equal to that of a rich merchant in the
time of Elizabeth. In general this may be true, though not as regards
the spacious structure and the massive grandeur of the Tudor house.
In many details the differences are most noteworthy. The wide gulf
dividing the modern world from the days of the Armada may be realised
by reflecting on such an astounding fact that Queen Elizabeth
possessed at one time the only pair of silk stockings in her realm,
which were presented to her by Mistress Montague, "which pleased her
so well that she would never wear any cloth hose afterwards."

The sturdy character of the yeomen of the days of the Tudors is
exhibited in their furniture. The illustrations of this chapter in
regard to the chair and its structural development indicate the
slowly acquired tastes, running some decades behind the fashionable
furniture, strong with foreign influences, which had come into more
or less general use. "England no longer sent her fleeces to be woven
in Flanders and to be dyed in Florence. The spinning of yarn, the
weaving, fulling, and dyeing of cloth, was spreading rapidly from the
towns to the country-side. The worsted trade, of which Norwich was
the centre, extended over the whole of the Eastern Counties. Farmers'
wives everywhere began to spin their wool from their own sheep's
backs into a coarse homespun."

The rough and wattled farmhouses were being replaced by dwellings of
brick and stone. The disuse of salt fish and the greater consumption
of meat marked the improvement which was taking place among the
countryfolk. The wooden trenchers in the farmhouses were supplanted
by pewter, and there were yeomen who could boast of their silver.
Carpets in richer dwelling-houses superseded the wretched flooring of
rushes. Even pillows, now in common usage, were articles of luxury
in the sixteenth century. The farmer and the trader deemed them as
only fit "for women in child-bed." The chimney-corner came into usage
in Elizabethan days with the general use of chimneys. The mediæval
fortress had given place to the grandeur of the Elizabethan hall in
the houses of the wealthy merchants. The rise of the middle classes
brought with it in its wake the corresponding advance of the yeomen
and their dependents. Visions of the New World "threw a haze of
prodigality and profusion over the imagination of the meanest seaman."

=Early Days.=--Of farmhouse types that can authoritatively be
attributed to Tudor days there are few, but the succeeding age of
the Stuarts is rich with examples of undoubted authenticity. Many of
them are dated, and they all bear a strong family resemblance to each
other, owing to the narrow range of _motifs_ in the carved panels.
There is a fixed insularity in these early examples, and the same
traditional patterns in scrollwork or in conventional lozenge design
retained their hold for many generations. The oak arm-chair of a
farmhouse kitchen made in the days of Charles I. was still followed
in close detail in the days of George III., as dated examples
testify, and it would puzzle an expert, without the date to guide
him, to say whether the piece was eighteenth or seventeenth century
work. It may be added that as a general rule there is a marked
leaning towards generosity in imparting age to old furniture. It is
now very generally recognised that, like wine, it gains prestige with
length of years. It therefore grows in antiquity according to the
fancy of the owner or the imagination of the collector.

Among the early forms of chairs falling under the category of
farmhouse furniture may be noticed examples of rough and massive
build, eminently fit to serve the purpose for which they were
designed. Ornament is reduced to a minimum, and they stand as rude
monuments to the cabinet-maker's craft in fashioning them and
following tradition to suit his client's tastes.

In regard to the sixteenth century there cannot be said to be any
type falling under the heading of cottage or farmhouse chairs. We
have already illustrated (p. 35) an early form of Elizabethan days,
but such examples are rare. Practically cottagers had only stools in
common use. It was not until about 1650 that a simplified form of the
well-known variety of the chairs of the Jacobean oak period came into
general use.

  [Illustration: YORKSHIRE CHAIR. DATE 1660.

  Late example, with ball turning in stretcher.]

  [Illustration: CROMWELLIAN CHAIRS. DATE 1660.

  With indication of transition to Charles II. period.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

=The Typical Jacobean Oak Chair.=--The seventeenth century offers a
wide field of selection, and many examples exist which undoubtedly
were in use in farmhouses at that period. The arm-chair illustrated
p. 191, with the initials "W.I A.", is evidently made for the
farmhouse. It is noticeable for its complete absence of ornamental
carving except a thinly scratched lozenge. In date this is from 1650
to 1700, and if made for a wealthier person at that date it would be
richly carved. The adjacent chair shows the next advance in type.
It is a superior farmhouse chair of the period. It has a carved top
with scroll cresting. The holes in the seat, it should be observed,
originally held ropes, upon which a cushion was supported. The wooden
seat is an addition made in the eighteenth century.

The two other chairs illustrated on the same page are later examples,
in date about 1690. One of these is fashioned of chestnut. The
form of these backs is related to the contemporary high-back cane
chairs of the time of Charles II. and James II. But these fashions
influenced the proportions only of farmhouse chairs. In arriving
at the date of such specimens as these the bevelled panel is an
important factor in determining the late period.

Cushions had no place in the effects of the farmhouse in early days,
although ropes were sometimes used to support cushions, as we have
shown. But as a general rule the wooden seats show tangible signs
of rough usage of centuries, and the stretcher has its worn surface
marked by generations of owners who found it protective against the
cold flagged or rush-strewn floor and the draughts in days prior to
carpets and rugs.

=The Evolution of the Stretcher.=--In making a study of the evolution
of the chair the stretcher is an important factor. For obvious
reasons, as explained above, no early chairs were made without the
stretcher across the front, a good sound serviceable piece of British
oak to stand rough wear and tear. Gradually, keeping time with
the march of comfort, the front stretcher begins to leave its old
position near the floor, and in later examples it is half-way up the
front legs. It still had a use, and a very important one: it added
considerable strength and solidity to the chair, and is nearly always
found in chairs intended for use. In the series illustrated herein
there are only few examples without the front stretcher. Later it
took another form, as the illustrated specimens in this chapter show:
it united the two side stretchers, and crossed the chair underneath
in the centre at right angles to the side stretchers. Its purpose in
adding stability to this class of furniture was evidently never lost
sight of.

At first strictly utilitarian, the stretcher was a solid foot-rest;
later, when partly utilitarian in adding to the strength, it became
suitable for ornamentation, Although in the class of furniture here
under review such ornament never took an elaborate form, there are
examples slightly differing in character from chairs intended for the
use of the wealthier classes, and these are evidently a local effort
to keep in touch with prevailing taste.

  [Illustration: OAK SETTLE.

  With back panel under seat made from older Oak Chest. Date 1675.]

  [Illustration: OAK ARM CHAIR. DATE 1675.

  With Bevelled Panels.]

  [Illustration: OAK ARM CHAIR. DATE 1777.

  With initials A.S. C.B.]

Finely turned stretchers, such as are found in gate tables, are a
feature of a certain class of local chairs, such as those illustrated
on p. 197. This kind of chair without arms is rather more
decorated and conforms more to the styles of furniture made for
higher spheres than the farmhouse. The upper chair with its light
open back and ornate decoration is a Yorkshire type, and the ball
turning in the stretcher shows the transition period to Charles II.
The other two are Cromwellian chairs, but showing indications of the
next period. In date they are all three about 1660.

=The Chair-back and its Development.=--Another point in connection
with the ordered progress of the chair-maker is the gradual
development of the back of the chair. At first it was straight
upright, and no attempt was made to impart an angle to rest the back
of the sitter. Types such as the arm-chair with square panel (p.
191) and the upright settle with the five panels illustrated on p.
201 indicate this feature of discomfort. The next stage is a slight
inclination in the back, still possessing a flat panel. This angle,
while not conforming to modern notions of ease, was an attempt to
offer greater comfort than before. This style, in a hundred forms,
with the minimum of inclination in the back, continued for a very
considerable period. It is found in the nearly straight-backed chairs
of Derbyshire and Yorkshire origin, with the turned stretchers, and
it actually in later days became almost upright in the series of
chairs following the later Stuart types with cane back and cane seat,
noticeable for their tall narrow backs with a resemblance to the
_prie-dieu_ chair of continental usage.

The settle illustrated is a plainer variety of the settle made for
use by fashionable folk with delicately panelled back. Very often,
in cottage furniture, chests and other pieces are broken up to make
into smaller furniture or to be incorporated into furniture of a
later design. Often it is found that the underframing of an old
gate table made in the seventeenth or eighteenth century is from an
earlier chest. In the present instance it will be seen that the back
panels of the settle have been made from an older chest, which bears
the inscribed initials, still visible, "I.E." In date this settle
is about 1675, and is contemporary with the square-backed chair
illustrated on the same page. Here the panel in back projects, that
is, it is slightly bevelled forward. The bevelling of the panel is
always a sign that a chair is later in date than the year 1670.

Illustrated on the same page is a remarkable chair having the
initials "A.S.C.B." and the date 1777 carved on it. It is a striking
instance of the adherence to old time-honoured form by the local
cabinet-maker, with touches that, even although the date were not
present, would tell their own story. This dull wood proclaims a
message in accents no less sure than the sturdy yeoman's to Lady
Clara Vere de Vere, and as a chair in date _anno Domini_ 1777 may
afford to "smile at the claims of long descent" of more pretentious
and fashionable furniture. It is like a rich vein of dialect running
in some old country song ripe with phrase of Saxon days. It seems
incredible that this survival of early-Jacobean days should have been
put together by a village craftsman true to convention and exact in
seat and arms and stretcher. But it was not done unthinkingly. Here
is a chair, astounding to note, made when Sheraton was creating
his new styles to supplant Chippendale, and when Hepplewhite stood
between the two masters as a _via media_. And the back of this
village chair has two distinct features translated from Hepplewhite's
school--the wheatear crest and the panel with its broken corner!

  [Illustration: OAK CHAIRS. DATE ABOUT 1680.

  Showing the inclination of the craftsmen to assimilate designs
  then being fashioned in walnut.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

=Transition between Jacobean and William and Mary Forms.=--The rapid
growth of the finer specimens of furniture made in walnut brought
a new note into the farmhouse variety. The elegance and grace of
the newer styles were at once evident. In the same manner as the
grandiose splendour of Elizabethan woodcarving was succeeded by a
less massive style in oak, degenerating into a rude simplicity in
farmhouse examples, so in turn Jacobean lost favour. Walnut lent
itself to more intricate turning, and lightness and greater delicacy
claimed the popular favour of fashionable folk. The cane seat and the
cane back at once indicate this new taste. The use of cushions became
general and the sunk seat for the squab cushion is a feature in the
later years of the seventeenth century.

Oak still remained the favourite wood of the country craftsman, in
spite of its more refractory qualities. But when the walnut styles
became so firmly established that clients demanded furniture in
this fashion, elm and beech and yew were found pliable enough to
conform to the more slender touches and the finer turning considered
desirable.

Walnut was in its turn supplanted by mahogany, and it will be shown
later how farmhouse furniture followed the dictates of fashion
in days when the outburst of splendid design by Chippendale,
Hepplewhite, and Sheraton, together with a crowd of lesser
known men, spread far and wide new principles in the art of
furniture-making and brought country furniture another stage in its
evolution.

Farmhouse furniture slowly assimilated the technique and design
of the walnut age. The love for the native oak was so pronounced
that country makers did not desert this wood and essayed to produce
effects by its employment that were exceedingly difficult and
oftentimes unsuccessful. The three chairs illustrated p. 205 show
this transition style, about the year 1680, struggling with technical
difficulties and affording a fine series of points in the evolution
of design.

=Farmhouse Styles contemporary with the Cane-back Chair.=--Farmhouse
furniture rarely, if ever, had cane-work in the back or in the seat.
But the craftsman, while appreciating the delicacy of the cane back
in adding lightness to the chair, circumvented his inability to work
in cane by substituting thin vertical splats to give the necessary
effect of transparency. The three chairs illustrated show each in
varying degree the quaint compromise made between the technique of
oak and the technique of walnut, and the attempt to reproduce the
walnut designs.

The arm-chair exhibits strong relationship with the older Jacobean
chair in its turned legs and uprights, but these have assumed a more
slender proportion. The front stretcher is in the newer manner.
The sunk seat is intended to receive a cushion. There should be no
difficulty for the amateur correctly to assign a date to such a
piece. The process of reasoning would be somewhat as follows:--The
lower half of the chair is Jacobean, but the front stretcher suggests
the Charles II. period, borne out by the open back, which removes
it from the Cromwellian period, and the details of the top rail
with its curved top indicate that the country maker had seen the
tall straight-back chairs of the William and Mary period with the
cane-work panel.

  [Illustration: OAK CHAIRS.

  With cresting rail, of Charles II. period, retained and
  perforated arch centre peculiar to walnut designs.

  With elaboration in turned legs, and uprights, of William and
  Mary period retained, and having Queen Anne splat of 1710.

  With sunk seat for squab cushion, turned uprights and legs and
  curious back, showing transition from lath back to splat back.]

The middle chair more closely approaches the upright chair of the
Charles II. period. There is a straight top-rail, supplemented by
a lunette, giving the top a character of its own. This specimen is
exceptionally interesting. The right-hand chair in its seat and legs
is pronouncedly Jacobean. But the back with the three splats and the
coarsely carved top-rail betray the hand of the country craftsman
following in oak the more graceful curves of the worker in walnut of
the days of Charles II.

It will be seen that these three chairs, each in varying manner,
evade the difficulties of the light cane-back by the substitution of
thin rails, and, as will be seen from the illustration of three other
chairs (p. 209), the next stage of walnut design with fiddle-shaped
splat offered equal problems to the makers of cottage furniture.
Sometimes they eliminated the splat altogether, while adopting other
points of design found in chairs with the Queen Anne splat of 1710.
In every case the fondness for old established styles is exhibited
in the fact that the country cabinet-maker clings doggedly to these
and appears too conservative or too timid to break wholly away from
tradition. In consequence, his work, with patches of newer design
welded on to the old, is quaintly incongruous. There is thus an
absence of "thinking out" the design as a whole. The minor maker
thought out the parts as he went along. Some of his results are
extraordinary in their characteristics: they resemble that freak of
fashion termed "harlequin" tea services, where the cups are of one
pattern and the saucers of another. Bearing in mind these unfailing
proclivities of the maker of cottage and farmhouse furniture, the
collector should not find it difficult to recognise the country hand
at once. Now and again one is struck with the extraordinary ingenuity
of some of the work, or one is charmed with the faithfulness with
which designs have been translated from the golden bowl to the
silver, or, to be literal, from walnut and mahogany to oak and elm
and beech. But one is never amazed at the delicacy of proportion, the
balanced symmetry, or the fertility of invention--these attributes
belong to cabinet-makers on a higher plane.

Of three chairs illustrated on p. 209, that on the left in the legs
and seat shows the moribund Jacobean style. The stretcher indicates
the oncoming of the newer styles, and the back with its cresting
rail is of the Charles II. period. Its retention is curious, and the
perforated arched centre is peculiar to designs found in walnut; its
use in oak by the maker of this chair was a blunder, as oak is too
hard a wood to employ for such a design.

  [Illustration: QUEEN ANNE CHAIR.

  Entirely oak form except back and splat.]

  [Illustration: QUEEN ANNE CHAIR.

  In oak, with strong inclinations towards walnut styles.]

Illustration: QUEEN ANNE CHAIR.

Walnut design made in oak for farmhouse use.]

  [Illustration: QUEEN ANNE ARM-CHAIR.

  With shaped front, walnut design executed in oak.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE CHAIR, STYLE MERGING INTO
  HEPPLEWHITE.

  Less pronounced Cupid's bow top.]

  [Illustration: TWO CHAIRS COUNTRY HEPPLEWHITE STYLE MADE ENTIRELY
  IN OAK.

  Left-hand chair with Prince of Wales's feathers.]

  [Illustration: TYPES OF COTTAGE CHAIRS IN OAK.

  Having features of the three styles--Queen Anne, Chippendale, and
  Sheraton.

    Two chairs Queen Anne style.      Chair Country Chippendale style.]

The middle chair shows an equal admixture of styles. The elaboration
in the turned legs and uprights belongs to the William and Mary
period and the splat is the Queen Anne fiddle pattern of 1710.
The seat begins to show another form in having the middle sunk for
the use of a squab cushion.

The right-hand chair parts with the underframing below the seat,
which gives a touch of lightness to the construction. The turned
legs and uprights have departed from the coarse early-Jacobean style
and perceptibly depend on walnut prototypes for their character. The
back shows the transition from the lath back (such as in the chairs
simulating the cane-work) to the splat back. It is an interesting and
rare example, marking the slow assimilation of new forms by isolated
makers. This specimen came from Ireland and evidently possesses
native touches of originality which defy the connoisseur to determine
its exact date.

=The Queen Anne Splat.=--The fiddle-shaped splat of 1710 marks a
turning-point in the construction of the chair.

The walnut chairs with caned backs of the time of James II. and the
early days of William III. were carved richly, and sometimes there
was a splat dividing the caning at the back, which later, also in
caned-back examples, is curved and plain. The general tendency in
the reigns of William and Mary, especially towards the close of the
period, was one of economy, and elaborate carving began to disappear.

The Queen Anne smooth splat of fiddle form rapidly became
popular. This Anglo-Dutch style became acclimatised here, and is
characteristic of the homely examples of the Queen Anne period. In
walnut it was comparatively easy to carry out carving. In oak such
elaboration was well-nigh impossible. It was therefore natural that
in the farmhouse examples the plain Dutch splat would readily find
favour as more easily executed. By the time that the fiddle splat had
become popular the stretcher joining the cabriole legs commenced to
disappear.

The splat plays an important part as indicating sharp variations in
design--walnut with open carving, intricate and floriated; walnut
with the plain fiddle splat, with its corresponding minor form in
oak; mahogany, with the advent of Chippendale, with the splat again
open, carved with graceful ribbon-work.

The arm-chair illustrated p. 213 is a remarkable instance of
intermingling of styles. The front legs are in Jacobean style, and
are continued in the same manner as the usual type of oak chair as
supports for the arms, but an original touch and naïve departure is
in the curve given to this upright from the seat upwards. The seat is
shaped like that of the Windsor chair. The arms are somewhat stiff
for the back with its Cupid's-bow design, which has a sprightliness
and grace making it a thing apart. The whole is not unpleasing. It
is a remarkable instance of the attempted assimilation of several
diverse styles by an undeveloped cabinet-maker with strong ideas of
his own. The oak form is rigidly retained in all except the back and
splat of Queen Anne days.

  [Illustration: COUNTRY-MADE OAK SETTEE WITH DOUBLE BACK IN
  CHIPPENDALE STYLE.

  The shaped underframing is a feature only found in farmhouse
  varieties.]

  [Illustration: COUNTRY-MADE OAK SETTEE IN CHINESE CHIPPENDALE
  STYLE.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

The adjacent chair, with its tall back with curved splat and its
cabriole legs, marks the transition between William and Mary and
Queen Anne. The top rail indicates by its clumsy joinery the touch of
the immature country cabinet-maker. It is an attempt to approach a
fine model with insufficiency of skill by the maker. The use of the
cabriole leg either in chairs or in dressers in homely furniture has
always proved a stumbling-block to the minor craftsman. The delicacy
of balance required in order to preserve the harmony of the whole has
proved too subtle a problem for him to handle, and to the practised
eye these farmhouse pieces at once proclaim their origin.

The broad splat and the straight square front and the bold cabriole
leg of the Queen Anne type in walnut were often copied in oak. The
example of the chair with the later tapestry covering, illustrated p.
213, is a case where the local cabinet-maker has faithfully copied
detail for detail from some fine original in walnut. His is in oak
for more strenuous usage. The adjacent arm-chair is of the Queen Anne
style, with a shaped front that is very rarely found in such pieces.
The maker here has not been so successful in catching the bold lines
of his original. There is a sense of something lacking in the curves
of the back. The touches of his own that he has added in the arms,
reverting to an earlier Jacobean type, reveal the unpractised hand.

=Country Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton.=--A word in passing
may be said in regard to the unique character of furniture of these
types. It is obvious that factory-made furniture turned out by the
hundred pieces can offer nothing personal, whatever its merits or
demerits of design or workmanship. It is this personal note, the
love of a craftsman in his creation, that appeals to the collector,
whether it be of Persian rugs or of old brass candlesticks. It is
absent in art produced in a wholesale manner. Blunderingly as the
village craftsmen went to work, they often stumbled into great
things, and they always produced original results.

Prior to the publication of the design-books of the great
eighteenth-century masters of cabinet-making, the furniture of
certain localities began to assume a character of its own, the
result of long tradition, and designs such as the dragon found in
Welsh carving became established. The term "unique" is peculiarly
appropriate to furniture of this calibre, for rarely are two pieces
found to be exactly alike. Not only did different makers add novel
features, but the same craftsman apparently did not repeat himself.

The permutations of form governing furniture are illimitable,
associated as they are with so many details of construction. To
take the chair--the leg, its shape, and the design of its turning;
the style and character of the work on the stretcher; the form of
the seat; the decoration and formation of the front; the back, its
length, and the variety of splats and panels; and the top rail
with its variations--these are only the salient features in which
differences appear. Such modifications of design and piquant touches
of personal character appeal to the collector, who loves the foibles
and fanciful moods of the native craftsman, be he ever so humble.

Chippendale published his "Director" in 1754, and it became a working
guide to all ambitious craftsmen. Ince and Mayhew, cabinet-makers
of Broad Street, Golden Square, had issued "Household Furniture" in
1748, and Hepplewhite & Co. followed later with the "Cabinet Maker
and Upholsterer's Guide" in 1788, where the delicacies of ornament
were related to the chaster classic models, and in 1794 came Sheraton
with his "Drawing Book," rich with subtle suggestiveness. A rough
generalisation shows the Chippendale school holding sway from 1730
to 1780, the Hepplewhite school from 1775 to 1795, and the Sheraton
school from 1790 to 1805: and behind all, the strong influence of
the Brothers Adam in their classic revival. What had previously been
tradition came very speedily into line with current modes. Fashion,
as we have shown, had a slow and impermanent effect upon village
ideals. But the output of these great illustrated volumes, with
working drawings, undoubtedly had a wide-reaching influence. The last
quarter of the eighteenth century saw an intense outburst of interest
in the arts of interior decoration. A great amount of finely designed
and beautifully executed furniture belongs to those days, and the
echo of the splendid achievements in mahogany and in satinwood is
seen in the farmhouse and cottage furniture, which came singularly
close upon the heels of fashion.

Chippendale furniture in oak, elm, or beech is being largely
collected. We illustrate a sufficient number of types to show that
this class of design known as "Cottage Chippendale," has peculiar
charms of its own. The arm-chair illustrated p. 225 is in elm, and
is in the style Chippendale employed in his rich mahogany creations
in 1760. The fine interlaced carving of the back is graceful and
well proportioned. The adjacent chair, in elm, still follows the
Chippendale style. The seat is rush, and the maker has confined
himself to his own limitations and avoided in the splat the too
intricate work of more sumptuous models. He has arrived at a very
finely balanced result. The heart cut out of the splat is frequently
found in cottage examples, suggesting that some of the more ornate
examples may have been made as wedding presents for young couples
just setting up housekeeping, or possibly the village cabinet-maker
himself had thoughts in that direction, and such work was destined to
equip his own home.

The illustration of a chair, in beech, with a plain wooden seat, has
a somewhat intricate ribbon-like pattern terminating in the Prince
of Wales's feathers. The heart is present in the design at the base
of the splat, cut out in fretwork. The arm-chair on the right, with
its dipped seat, is in oak, and is an instance representing the
adaptations of Sheraton styles in the provinces.

Another page of chairs in oak (p. 215) shows the influences at work
in moulding the character of the styles of the late eighteenth and
early nineteenth century farmhouse furniture. Of the three chairs
at top of p. 215, the left-hand one is in Chippendale style merging
into Hepplewhite. The Cupid's bow at the top rail has become less
pronounced. The other two chairs on right are typically Hepplewhite
in character. The Prince of Wales's feathers, so often associated
with Hepplewhite's own work, are embodied in the splat of one.

  [Illustration: ELM CHAIR. COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE STYLE. 1760.]

  [Illustration: ELM CHAIR, COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE STYLE.]

  [Illustration: BEECH CHAIR. COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE STYLE.]

  [Illustration: OAK CHAIR, COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE STYLE. WITH DROPPED
  SEAT.]

In the lower group, the right-hand chair is of the Chippendale
type. The other two chairs have features of three styles--the Queen
Anne, the Chippendale, and the Sheraton. It is this piquancy and
incongruous combination of styles adjacent to each other in point
of time, but having little other relationship, which make the
provincialisms of the cabinet-maker of exceptional interest.

At times more ambitious attempts were made in oak, following the
lines of the Chippendale style in mahogany. These have pronounced
features always recognisable as belonging to the farmhouse variety of
furniture. Two examples are illustrated, p. 219. The upper example
of country-made oak settee, with double back, at once indicates
that it is provincial by the shaped underframing, which is never
found in other classes of furniture. The lower example of farmhouse
oak settee is clearly in Chippendale's Chinese style. A reference
to the "Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Directory," published by
Thomas Chippendale in 1754, shows that this Chinese style adopted
by the local maker is very far removed from the series of delicate
fretwork designs illustrated by Chippendale in his volume. It
is true that the old designer of St. Martin's Lane sent forth
his work with the sub-title stating that it was "calculated to
improve and refine the present Taste, and suited to the Fancy and
Circumstances of Persons in all Degrees of Life." The great master
cabinet-maker, in scattering his designs far and wide, evidently
had in mind the formation of a new style. He builded better than he
knew. The importance of his book of designs cannot be overrated.
It was subscribed for in Yorkshire, in Devon, in Westmorland, and
in Ireland, and straightway minor men looked upon these delightful
inventions and began to follow to the best of their ability the
ideals set forth by Chippendale the dreamer.

That he was an idealist in this book of designs is naïvely explained
in his Preface: "I frankly confess that in the executing many of the
drawings my pencil has but faintly copied out those images that my
fancy suggested, and had they not been published till I could have
pronounced them perfect, perhaps they had never seen the light." But
Chippendale was also a practical cabinet-maker as well as a designer.
He has a lingering doubt that after all, perhaps, the country
cabinet-maker and those who bought the book for use might not be
able to carry out his designs. Evidently this had struck others too.
Perhaps he was accused of fobbing-off in a design-book mere fanciful
work that was too far above the plane of ordinary cabinet-work. He
meets this objection with a declaration, so to speak, upon honour,
with which he winds up his Preface, which is a pretty piece of
eighteenth-century advertising:--

"Upon the whole, I have given no design but what may be executed
with advantage by the hands of a skilful workman, though some of the
profession have been diligent enough to represent them (especially
those after the Gothic and Chinese manner) as so many specious
drawings, impossible to be worked off by any mechanic whatsoever.
I will not scruple to attribute this to malice, ignorance, and
inability, and I am confident I can convince all noblemen, gentlemen,
or others, who will honour me with their commands, that every design
in the book can be improved, both as to beauty and enrichment, in the
execution of it, by--Their Most Obedient Servant, Thomas Chippendale."

Enough has been said to prove that "country Chippendale" is not
a misnomer. It is equally true that the Hepplewhite style was
disseminated in like fashion in the provinces. It must be remembered
that these trade catalogues, as they really were, brought out
somewhat in rivalry with each other by the great London designers
and cabinet-makers, were the only literature the country makers
had to indicate town fashions. These volumes therefore served a
double purpose in procuring clients for the firm and in stimulating
the art of the country designer. That they were in part intended
to be educational is shown by the Preface to the "Cabinet Maker
and Upholsterer's Guide," published by A. Hepplewhite & Co.,
Cabinet-makers. We quote from the Preface of the third edition,
"improved," 1794.

The Preface opens with a lament that owing to "the mutability of
all things, but more especially of fashions," foreigners who seek
a knowledge of English taste and workmanship may be misled by the
"labours of our predecessors in this line of little use."

"The same reason in favour of this work will apply also to many of
our own countrymen and artisans, whose distance from the metropolis
makes even an imperfect knowledge of its improvements acquired with
much trouble and expense."

"In this instance we hope for reward; and though we lay no claim to
extraordinary merit in our designs, we flatter ourselves they will be
found serviceable to young workmen in general, and occasionally to
more experienced ones."

In view, therefore, of the books of design we have enumerated, it
is obvious that the country designer had a new field open to him,
and now and again he made ample use of his opportunities. During the
last quarter of the eighteenth century there was quite an outburst of
literature on furniture, much of it forgotten and much of it waiting
to be disinterred by patient research; and with the dissemination of
these fine designs some of the most perfect examples of country-made
furniture began to exhibit touches of skill of the practised hand.

=The Grandfather Chair.=--From the illustration given on p. 231 it
will be seen that the type known as the "grandfather" has a humble
lineage. It will be found with the same wings and curved arms and
plain wooden seat in the alehouse or in the ingle nook of the
farmhouse. The specimen we illustrate does duty as a bacon-cupboard
as well as a chair. Usually such pieces have the cupboard opening at
the back, but in this instance the cupboard opens in front.

  [Illustration: COUNTRY GRANDFATHER CHAIR.]

  [Illustration: ARM-CHAIR AND BACON-CUPBOARD.

  Opens at foot. This type usually opens at back.]

As early as the opening years of the eighteenth century there were
upholstered chairs of a somewhat similar type to the so-called
"grandfather" with scrolled arms or wings. The example we illustrate
is representative of those which may be met with in the country
farmhouse.

=Ladder-back Types.=--The ladder-back chair belongs to the northern
half of England, and similarly the spindle-back chair is found in
the same locality. The Windsor chair, on the other hand, is mainly
confined to the southern half of the country. These are points which
become noticeable after years of systematised research, and although
nowadays these three varieties of chair may still be found, somewhat
scattered, their real home and place of origin is as indicated.
Another feature of interest is that both ladder-back and spindle-back
varieties, with but slight differences, are found on the Continent.

It will be observed that this class of chair has a rush seat. This
feature it has in common with the spindle-back chair.

The rush-bottom chair covers a wide area. It comes with an air of
_naïveté_ and rustic simplicity. One recalls the long lines of green
rushes by the river-bank and the rush-gatherers in idyllic placidity
slowly trimming the banks, disturbing coot and moorhen with their
punt, and adding another human touch to the lonely angler. They are
pursuing a calling as old as the river itself, and the use of rush
for floor, for lighting, or for seating furniture, found occupation
for generations of men plying curious trades, of which the plaiting
of osiers into baskets and the thatching of cottage roofs may be
numbered among the decaying industries. Indeed, this latter art
and the making of birch and heath brooms may be almost said to be
extinct. A good artisan who can thatch in the old artistic style is
much sought after. Of course ricks have still to be thatched, but the
picturesque skill of masters of this old-world craft is absent, and
corrugated iron sheets have found favour in lieu of the old style.

The ladder-back chair is, as its name denotes, decorated with
horizontal supports, ladder fashion. These are capable of the most
pleasing variation. The perfection of form of this type is seen in
the arm-chair illustrated p. 237. The well-balanced proportion of
the ladder rails is a test as to the excellence of the design. They
are not meaningless ornaments put in place, unthinkingly, to create
a new style. The two examples illustrated on page 235 show other
types of the ladder-back chair. The left-hand one shows the later
stages in the development of the design, and its top rail is of the
Sheraton period. The right-hand one, with arms, is composite in its
character, and is in date about 1820, and exhibits a touch of the
Sheraton slenderness of style in the splats and the round turning of
arms. Both examples show the quaint survival of the Queen Anne foot.
The ladder-back form survived the eighteenth century and lasted down
to within fifty years ago, when it became merged into that of the
Windsor chair.

  [Illustration: LADDER-BACK TYPE OF CHAIR.

  Showing Empire influence in curved back.

  Dated 1820-1830.]

  [Illustration: SPINDLE-BACK NURSING CHAIR WITH ROCKER.

  Three rows of spindles.]

  [Illustration: SPINDLE-BACK CHAIR.

  Two rows of spindles.]

  [Illustration: LADDER-BACK CHAIRS WITH RUSH SEAT.

  Both chairs showing quaint survival of the Queen Anne feet.

    Late Eighteenth Century, with top
    rail in Sheraton style.

    Later form of splat with turned
    ends. Dated 1820.]

  [Illustration: COUNTRY BARBER'S CHAIR.]

  [Illustration: LADDER-BACK CHAIR.

  Perfect specimen in regard to style.]

  [Illustration: OAK CORNER CHAIR.]

  [Illustration: LADDER-BACK FORM OF CORNER CHAIR WITH RUSH SEAT.

  Probably Lancashire.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

=The Spindle-back Chair.=--The spindle-back chair is of long lineage.
As early as the reign of Charles I. this type was known. There
is still treasured in America the chair of Governor Carver, with
simple turning in legs and back, which practically consisted of
upright posts rounded and having slight ornament. The back was set
with "spindles." The older types of these chairs had thick upright
posts, the back and back legs being two posts and the front legs,
continued upward beyond the seat, forming supports for the arms.
These posts are often six or seven inches in circumference, and
belong to early-Jacobean days. The type found its way to America in
Puritan days and has continued to be a favourite. Hickory wood was
used for American specimens, and considerable attention has been paid
to this form of chair and its varieties, the differing heights of the
posts and the number of the spindles and their character, by American
collectors. In England examples are not easily found of early date.
The examples illustrated (p. 235), a Nursing Chair on rockers and an
ordinary Spindle-Back Chair, are of eighteenth-century days, and are
sufficient to indicate the type of chair, but these two represent the
style when it had become of more general use. Practically it was not
until the eighteenth century that such types were commonly used in
cottages and farmhouses.

These turned chairs, turned in every portion but the rush seat, lend
themselves to the above-mentioned two styles of treatment. Their
upright posts forming the open back can be treated with vertical
splats divided by horizontal divisions, or they can, as in the ladder
form, receive horizontal splats. The complete simplicity of this
attitude towards the back absolved the homely cabinet-maker from
dangerous experiments. Avoiding curved backs, he had not to face
the intricacies of the nicety of balance in the splat. Altogether it
was a very satisfactory solution, and in practice resulted in the
production of a wide range of chairs, differing in slight details but
well within the range of the local workman's art.

The unassuming simplicity of this class of chair made its appeal
to Madox-Brown, who held that simplicity and utility were the two
desiderata, united with soundness of construction, for domestic
furniture. Veneer was as abhorrent to him as to all genuine lovers
of the artistic. "Let us be honest, let us be genuine in furniture
as in aught else," were his words. "If we must needs make our chairs
and tables of cheap wood, do not let them masquerade as mahogany or
rosewood; let the thing appear that which it is; it will not lack
dignity if it be good of its kind and well made." Accordingly he put
his theories into practice and designed some furniture. In a chair in
the possession of Mr. Harold Rathbone he has employed the rush seat
and used spindles to decorate the back, and in another chair in the
same collection he has adhered to the horizontal ladder-back style,
coupled with the rush seat, with pleasing effect.

=Corner Chairs.=--Among interesting types of chairs often with
lingering traces of the Jacobean style and additional features
of splats that may be regarded as standing on the threshold of
the Chippendale period, corner chairs stand in a class alone. The
illustrations on p. 237 show some typical examples. The chair with
the double tier is the oak adaptation of Chippendale with the
retention of the old Jacobean form of support for the arm. These
chairs with this added tier are often used as country barber's
chairs. The rush-seated corner chair on the same page, probably made
in Lancashire, is suggestive of the ladder-back form, and there
are indications in its construction that it is subsequent to the
Hepplewhite period.

With these notes relative to the evolution of the chair, and with
carefully selected illustrations of types likely to be of use to the
collector, enough has been said to whet the curiosity of the reader
to study the matter for himself. It requires keen and discriminating
judgment to allocate specimens with passing exactitude as to time and
place. The taste for the subject must be natural and not acquired.
Training alone will give the eye the readiness to detect false
touches and modern additions. The search for bargains goes on apace,
and those who enjoy stalking their quarry in out-of-the-way places
have an exciting quest nowadays for fine pieces. To those with
endless patience, forbearing under disappointment, and having plenty
of leisure, the search will offer abundant delight, if, to quote Mrs.
Battle, they enjoy "the rigour of the game."



CHAPTER VIII

THE WINDSOR CHAIR



CHAPTER VIII

THE WINDSOR CHAIR

   Early types--The stick legs without stretcher--The tavern
   chair--Eighteenth-century pleasure gardens--The rail-back
   variety--Chippendale style Windsor chairs--The survival of the
   Windsor chair.


The Windsor chair in its early form is coincident with the early
years of the eighteenth century. Its history and development
therefore exhibit traces of the various styles in furniture which
ran their courses throughout the century. It is essentially a chair
which belongs to minor furniture, and in its use it is bound up with
the country farmhouse, the country inn, or in the metropolis with the
chocolate-houses and taverns, and later with the innumerable pleasure
gardens which sprang up around the metropolis in the eighteenth
century.

There is more than a strong suggestion that the type originated in
the country. The first forms have a similarity to the easily made
three-legged stools. The seat is one piece of wood into which holes
are bored to admit the legs. The origin of the term "Windsor chair,"
according to a story largely current in America, is that George III.,
the Farmer King, saw a chair of this design in a humble cottage near
Windsor, and was so enamoured of it that he ordered some to be made
for the royal use. The chair had a singular vogue in America, and it
is stated that George Washington had a row of Windsor chairs at his
house at Mount Vernon, and Jefferson sat in a Windsor chair when he
signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

=The Stick Legs without Stretcher.=--Obviously this is the earliest
type, and the illustrations of these primitive forms (p. 247) show
the simplicity of the joinery. The chair on the left with its almost
straight top rail suggests a probable date. It was not till 1768 that
Chippendale made the first straight top rail in English furniture.
The seat is of the saddle-form. The spindles at the back in the
lower row taper at each end. It will be observed in all the types we
illustrate in this chapter that the arms extend in one piece around
the chair. Nor has every example the saddle seat. On the same page is
illustrated one with a plain seat, but still having the stick legs
set at an angle towards the centre of the chair.

Whatever interest attaches to this early type, from a collecting
point of view, they cannot compare in beauty with the finer varieties
of a later period, with cabriole leg and with pierced splat,
displaying a pleasing diversity of patterns in pierced work, no two
of which are always quite alike.

  [Illustration: WINDSOR CHAIRS.

  Earliest form; stick legs with no stretcher.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]
=The Tavern Chair.=--It was Dr. Johnson who declared that a tavern
chair was the throne of human felicity. Undoubtedly the eighteenth
century found the need of a comfortable chair for club meetings at
taverns and alehouses. The country inn to-day has its Windsor chairs,
many of them of great age. Nor were chairs of this type always with
arms. There are many plainer chairs without arms and having what is
termed "fiddle-string" backs; more often than not across this back
there is a rail put transversely to strengthen it. Many of these
chairs were made by local carpenters and wheelwrights. They employed
any wood that happened to be in their workshop at the time; in
consequence the variety of woods in which these chairs are found is
great. Sometimes the seat is made from beech or elm and the arms are
fashioned from the wood of the pear-tree. The curved horseshoe rails
and back are more often than not constructed from the ash.

=Eighteenth Century Pleasure Gardens.=--There is no doubt that we
owe the considerable output of Windsor chairs in the middle of the
eighteenth century to the growth of coffee-houses, and especially
the numerous tea and pleasure gardens on the outskirts of London and
other great towns. These semi-rural resorts began to be in great
demand as a recreation for jaded eighteenth-century town-dwellers.
The nobility and persons of fashion had Bath and Tunbridge Wells
to fly to for country air and open-air recreation. The citizen and
mechanic, the society beau, and the politician, crowded to Ranelagh
Gardens, to Vauxhall, to Sadler's Wells, and to Hampstead, to
enjoy sunny afternoons and summer evenings in the open air, or to
spend Sundays. It was the eighteenth-century diversion similar to
the nineteenth-century Crystal Palace and the twentieth-century
Earl's Court. To quote Mr. Percy Macquoid in his lordly work on
English furniture, "So great were the numbers of visitors to these
places that attention was called to their increase in one of the
contemporary weekly journals, where a calculation was made that on
Sundays alone two hundred thousand people visited the tea-gardens
situated on the northern side of London; and as half-a-crown per
head was probably the least sum expended by them, it can be no
exaggeration to state that £20,000 on a fine Sunday was taken at
these places of amusement. Many cheap chairs must have been required
at such places of entertainment."

Between the year 1760 and the end of the century the Windsor chair
was being made for general country use. "The backs and arms of
these," continues Mr. Macquoid, "are made of hoops of yew, held
together by a number of slender uprights and a perforated splat of
the same tough and pliant wood; the seats were generally invariably
of elm, as yew cut into a superficies of any size is liable to split;
the legs and stretchers were generally of yew."

  [Illustration: OLIVER GOLDSMITH'S CHAIR.

  Wood, painted green, with circular seat, curved arms, and high
  back. Bequeathed by Oliver Goldsmith in 1774 to his friend, Dr.
  Hawes.

  (_Bethnal Green Museum._)]

=The Rail-back Variety.=--We have alluded to the use of the rail
placed across the back from the top rail to the seat, crossing the
uprights. It is not an elegant device, but it was used as a means
of strengthening the back. It seems almost unnecessary, although
possibly these chairs received a good deal of rough usage.
Later, when the fiddle splat began to be employed, this transverse
rail--sometimes there were two used--was discontinued. An historic
example of the chair with transverse rails is that which was once
in the possession of Oliver Goldsmith. There is no doubt about
the authenticity of this, as it was bequeathed by the poet to his
medical attendant, Dr. Hawes, who, by the way, was the founder of
the Royal Humane Society. Goldsmith told his farmer friends at his
cottage at Edgware that he should never in future spend more than two
months a year in London, and at the time of his death in 1774 he was
negotiating the sale of the lease of his Temple chambers. This chair
(illustrated p. 251) has a rather small shaped seat, curved arms, a
top rail that is of exceptional interest considering the date, which
is, say, from 1770 to 1774, perhaps a little earlier. This was at the
commencement of the Hepplewhite period, which lasted till 1790. The
year 1768 was, as we have already said, the date at which chairs with
straight top rails, designed by Adam and executed by Chippendale,
were first made. The turned legs are interesting, showing the hoofed
foot, and the turned stretcher retains an earlier form. The chair is
of soft wood, probably beech, and is painted green. It is preserved
at the Bethnal Green Museum, with the distinctive label on the stand:
"Oliver Goldsmith's Chair."

=The Splat Back and the Cabriole Leg.=--It is here that the Windsor
chair assumes a character essentially charming and attracts the
admiration of connoisseurs of styles that are peculiarly English.
The splat back is a feature only found in English varieties of the
Windsor chair. In America a great deal of attention has been paid to
old types, and there the pliant hickory wood is used in the making
of chairs of this form; but the splat back is never used in America,
and when found by collectors there the piece is attributed to English
manufacture.

The splat, with its varying forms, denotes the date of the chair.
From 1740 to 1770 the form with cabriole legs and with finely
ornamented fiddle splat was at its best. We illustrate a sufficient
number of specimens to show how graceful and perfectly well balanced
these chairs had become. In contemplating pieces remarkable for the
highest style, it must be admitted that their artistry and their
simple unaffected sense of comfort do make a direct appeal to those
who are willing to recognise fine qualities in minor furniture.

The two chairs illustrated (p. 255) differ slightly in details of
construction. That on the left has the plain urn splat, a survival
of the Queen Anne type. The seat is finely shaped and the legs are
cabriole form. The top rail is almost straight, and is ornamented
at the two ends with turned discs. The three stretchers are turned,
and in the adjacent chair the stretchers are similar, save in a
slight variation in the pattern of the turning. But here the splat
is perforated with an intricate design suggestive of the lines
of Chippendale; the top rail is a departure in form, imparting a
distinctiveness which lifts the chair from the ordinary type.

  [Illustration: WINDSOR CHAIR.

  With plain fiddle splat of Queen Anne type, Chippendale top rail
  and cabriole legs, and three turned stretchers.]

  [Illustration: WINDSOR CHAIR.

  With pierced fiddle splat, shaped arms, cabriole legs, and three
  turned stretchers.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: CHIPPENDALE WINDSOR CHAIRS.

  Chippendale splats. The type of splat indicates the date of
  Windsor chairs.]

  [Illustration: HEPPLEWHITE WINDSOR CHAIR.

  Exceptionally fine legs back and front. Urn back. Probably Welsh
  carving.]

  [Illustration: HEPPLEWHITE PERIOD WINDSOR CHAIR.

  With wheel back, in yew.

  (_By courtesy of Messrs. A. B. Daniell & Sons._)]

=Chippendale Style Windsor Chairs.=--The page of chairs (p.
257) tells its own story. The beautiful sweep of the curved back is
always a sign of the old and true form. Later imitations or replicas
seem somehow to lose this effect. It has been suggested that the back
of this style was produced by the village wheelwright in horseshoe
form, but possibly that is a conjecture which is more fanciful than
real. It has also--collectors are often fond of inventing theories to
fit little-known facts--been asserted that the wheel-back variety,
which is of somewhat more modern growth, is due to the same origin.
This wheel is fretted with six triangular openings. One chair on
this page has the wheel unperforated. In the examination of the
details of the four examples there is nothing of great importance to
differentiate them from each other in construction. The two at the
top are suggestive of Chippendale in the ornament employed in the
splat. The lower two incline more to the slightly later Hepplewhite
period. Of these the one on the left has only fourteen upright rails
at the lower portion and six in the upper portion of the back, in
comparison with sixteen and eight in the other chairs. The legs of
this chair are exceptionally fine both back and front. The work in
the splat is slightly suggestive of Welsh carving, especially that
style associated with Welsh love-spoons.

Following the influence of Chippendale and Hepplewhite came the
style of Sheraton, which after 1790 began to affect the character of
some forms of minor furniture. That this was a very real factor is
often shown most unexpectedly in cottage and farmhouse pieces. The
satinwood and the painted panel, and the intricacies and subtleties
of his employment of colour, were of course too far removed from
the simple cabinet-work of the country maker to have the least
effect upon him, even if he ever saw them. But the slenderness and
elegance of the Sheraton styles did in a small degree have weight
with cabinet-makers as a whole in the provinces. So that it is quite
within reasonable surmise to attribute certain forms to the Sheraton
school, or rather to the oncoming of the early nineteenth-century
mannerisms. On p. 261 two examples are illustrated showing this
influence. The one with the horseshoe back is devoid of the splat,
which had now disappeared. The turned legs begin to show signs of
modernity. The other has the top-rail familiar in later forms of
cottage chair. The turned rails for the arms and the type of turning
in the legs show signs of decadence. The fine days of the old Windsor
chair were coming to an end.

  [Illustration: WINDSOR CHAIR.

  Horseshoe back, saddle seat, turned legs, with stretcher.
  Sheraton style.]

  [Illustration: WINDSOR CHAIR.

  Curved top rail, turned arms, legs, and stretcher. Sheraton
  style, pierced fiddle splat.]

=The Survival of the Windsor Chair Type.=--Apart from the love of
the simple form and especially well-conceived design of the Windsor
chair, which have made it at once the especial favourite of artists
and lovers of simplicity and utility, it has won the practical
approval of generations of innkeepers, who to this day store hundreds
of chairs for use at village festivals. What we have said in regard
to the popularity of the gate-leg table applies in greater degree to
the Windsor chair. The industry of turning the legs and rails of this
type of chair is still carried on in Buckinghamshire. Until recent
years much of this turning was done by hand by villagers in the
district surrounding High Wycombe, where the parts are sent to be
finished and made up. To this day some of the old chair-makers use
the antiquated pole lathe. But the chairs have departed from their
old stateliness. It is true that they have survived, almost in spite
of themselves. They are not now the objects of beauty they once were.
But they have, by reason of modern requirements, found a fresh field
of usefulness. Will it be supposed that the modern office chair is
in reality a Windsor? An examination will at once show this, even
in the latest American types. The saddle-shaped seat is there, the
straight turned legs, and the back is the same except that the upper
extension has disappeared and the old centre rail has become broader
as a properly-formed rest for the tired clerk's back. A perusal
of a few catalogues of up-to-date office furniture will establish
this. Here, then, is the last stage of the country Windsor chair.
The twentieth-century Windsor has come to town and graces the head
cashier's private office in a bank or the senior partner's room of a
firm of stockbrokers.



CHAPTER IX

LOCAL TYPES



CHAPTER IX

LOCAL TYPES

   Welsh carving--Scottish types--Lancashire dressers, wardrobes,
   and chairs--Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridge, and Essex
   tables--Isle of Man tables.


The charm of collecting cottage and farmhouse furniture lies
in the wide area over which it is found. Those who have given
especial attention to collecting it have learned instinctively
to differentiate between the work of various localities. Some
well-defined types of cottage furniture are only to be found in
certain counties, and nowhere else. Take for example the ladder-back
and the spindle chairs. The latter are usually found in the northern
half and the former in the southern half of England. It is obvious
that craftsmen developing on original lines, or on lines more or
less apart from outside influence, must establish designs peculiarly
identified with their field of labours.

The sturdy insularity of the British peasant, and his uneasy
reception of foreign suggestion, have had a very pronounced influence
upon his methods of work. He has the defects of his qualities, the
stern, almost uncompromising conservatism in habit of mind and in
his daily pursuits. A close study of the thoughts, and as far as
is recorded the written ideals, of the rural labouring population
exhibit an extraordinary fixity of purpose in clinging tenaciously
to old customs. The country songs more often than not express
disapproval of innovations and call up the memories of slowly
vanishing customs. The farm hands recall wistfully the old style of
Shearers' feasts and Harvest homes, when great festivities with song
and dance and old country sports enlivened the company. In Yorkshire
this was termed the Mel Supper, in Kent the Kern Supper, and in parts
of the North of England it was called the Churn Supper. Annual feasts
were given to labourers such as the Wayzgoose or Bean feast, which
later name remains to this day. The good old days is a refrain not
confined to the cottager in his relation with the farmer. The farmer,
imbued with the same wistful regard for the vanished past, bewails
the May Day tenants' feast of the eighteenth-century English squire.

We get touches of disdain for the oncoming fashion of seclusion which
invaded the farmhouse in "A Farmer's Boy," by Robert Bloomfield. He
laments that the annual feast of the harvest home had lost its former
joviality. This was written in 1798.

"The aspect only with the substance gone." Evidently the mug that
passed around was becoming a thing of the past.

    "The self-same Horn is still at our command,
    But serves none now but the plebeian hand."

The picture he draws of the farmer who, in face of prevailing
fashion, "yields up the custom that he dearly loves" is pathetic. The
long table and dining in common together had seemingly vanished. "The
_separate_ table and the costly bowl" touch the rustic poet's pride.
He italicises the word "separate."

  [Illustration: CHEST. DATED 1636.

  With Welsh inscription on lid. (Standing on table of later date.)]

  [Illustration: WELSH CUPBOARD.

  With typical coarse style of carving. Should be 1650 at latest.
  Inscribed I.S. 1710.]

This loving regard for the past is natural at a time when the rural
population jealously feared the oncoming of the age of machinery,
which threatened to supersede many of their local industries and
finally succeeded in so doing. The obstinate adherence to old forms
was possibly part of a nervous fear of the unknown future. The
love for existing forms of furniture was therefore part of this
apprehensive retention of tradition. Not only was the resistance
of town fashions a strong feature, but local prejudices prevailed
against the adoption of designs belonging to rival counties. To
this day the Staffordshire clothes-horse, carried on pulleys to
the ceiling when not in use, differs from the clothes-horse of the
cottager in the South with no such mechanical device. In Edinburgh,
in the narrow closes, there is a kind of gallows projecting from the
windows.

These apparently minor details which find their embodiment in
articles of everyday use, fascinate and hold the attention of the
acute collector of cottage furniture.

The same local types apply to the art of the potter and are well
known to collectors. There are Sussex "tygs" and Nottingham "bears"
and Sunderland and Newcastle jugs and mugs. Bristol had its
characteristic earthenware, and the Lowestoft china factory was
strongly Suffolk in its homely inscriptions with a touch of dialect.

=Welsh Carving.=--Wales is famous for the abundance of the oak
farmhouse furniture proudly kept to this day in families who have
held the same homestead sometimes for centuries. One of the most
noticeable features is the elaboration of the carving and its
native representation, coarsely carved, without foreign influence,
of birds and beasts and heraldic monsters which largely figure
in the decorative panels of chests, and especially dressers. So
popular was oak that it might almost be advanced that there never
was any mahogany in Wales. But it is indisputable that the great
outburst in carved mahogany chairbacks coincident with the advent of
Chippendale and the publication of his _Director_, never penetrated
Wales, although it led to the foundation of a remarkable school of
woodcarving on the new lines in Ireland, known as Irish Chippendale,
a study of which can be made in Mr. Owen Wheeler's volume on old
furniture.

The intense love of the Welsh woodcarver for intricacy is hardly
less than that of the sturdy Swiss craftsmen environed by mountains.
Perhaps the long winters and the solitary life influence the
development of individual character in the applied arts. The Welsh
love-spoons of wood, linked together and exhibiting delicate pierced
work and minute carving of no mean order, are among other attractive
specimens of native art. Ironwork of fine quality is also to be found
in Wales.

  [Illustration: LANCASHIRE DRESSER. ABOUT 1730-1750.

  Oak inlaid with mahogany.]

  [Illustration: ELM WARDROBE (WELSH). ABOUT 1670.]

(_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)

  [Illustration: FLAP-TOP TABLE.

  Rare Hertfordshire Example. Diameter of top, 2 ft. 6 ins.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. A. B. Daniell & Sons._)]

  [Illustration: LANCASHIRE SPINDLE-BACK CHAIRS.]
A carved oak chest of Welsh origin, dated 1636, with Welsh
inscription on lid, is illustrated (p. 269). The table on which it
stands is of a later date. The carving in this piece is delicate
and the middle panel is typical of the representation of birds and
foliage. The Welsh cupboard on the same page typifies the coarse
woodcarving associated with Welsh farmhouse art. In style this really
belongs to a date not later than 1650. But it is dated 1710 and
bears the initials "I.S." This is an interesting example, showing
how middle-Jacobean styles lingered in country districts remote from
outside influence until the early eighteenth century.

An elm wardrobe, probably about 1670 in date, shows another type,
but still retaining the coarse character of its carving and its
well-filled panels and uprights (illustrated p. 273).

=Scottish Types.=--Scotland has antiquities of her own which are
closely allied to those of all the Gaelic races. As with Welsh
carved farmhouse furniture, there is a marked leaning towards coarse
style. As a rule it is too utilitarian in appearance to display
much carving. The spinning-wheel is still found in farmhouses, and
is still used in Harris and the outlying islands. Sometimes these
old Highland spinning-wheels come into the market with the smooth
surface worn by generations of workers, a surface impossible to
reproduce. The Scottish ironwork is especially interesting. Perhaps
the most curious of the Scottish antiquities is the crusie. This is
undoubtedly a survival of the classic oil lamp. It consists of a
shallow trough with a spout in which the wick stands, the oil being
contained in the trough (see illustration, p. 289).

=Lancashire Furniture.=--The especial characteristics of
Lancashire-made furniture are a strong leaning to solid structure and
a very noticeable reticence in carving. Well-balanced as a rule, and
possessing good joinery, they have been favourites with collectors
of furniture designed for modern use. A Queen Anne oak dresser
illustrated (p. 135) shows this Lancashire sturdiness at its best.
This style of large dresser with cabriole legs is associated with
Lancashire cabinet work.

A Lancashire dresser, the date of which is from about 1730 to 1750,
shows the oak dresser inlaid with mahogany. The carved pediment and
the carved underwork beneath the drawers mark this as an unusual
specimen (p. 273).

A typical Lancashire oak settle is illustrated (p. 279), showing the
Jacobean style in the carved work and in the arms. In date this is
about 1660. It will be noticed that the front of the seat has a row
of holes, which, prior to the upholstered cushion, a later addition,
were intended for ropes to support a cushion, much in the same manner
as the iron laths of a modern bedstead.

On the same page is illustrated an oak chest of drawers of Yorkshire
origin, in date about 1770. Its plain lines suggest the Hepplewhite
types of subdued character.

In regard to spindle-back chairs, Lancashire offers distinctive
varieties. Two examples are illustrated (p. 275) as indicating this
local type.

  [Illustration: OAK CHEST OF DRAWERS. _C._ 1770.

  Yorkshire type.

  Height, 3 ft. 3 ins.; width, 3 ft. 1 in.; depth, 1 ft. 5-1/2 ins.]

  [Illustration: LANCASHIRE OAK SETTLE. _C._ 1660.]
  [Illustration: ISLE OF MAN TABLE.

  Showing three legs with knee breeches and buckle shoes.]

  [Illustration: "CRICKET" TABLE. _C._ 1700.]

  [Illustration: "CRICKET." _C._ 1750.

  (These types are found in Hertfordshire, South Bedfordshire,
  South Cambridge, and Essex.)]
=Three Legged Tables.=--Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridge, and
Essex have produced a type of tables termed colloquially "cricket
tables," possibly because the three legs are suggestive of three
stumps. The term is a foolish one and not very appropriate. A very
interesting flap-top table with the three flaps to turn down,
illustrated (p. 275), is a very rare Hertfordshire example. This is
small in size, having only a diameter of two and a half feet.

Two other tables, one in date about 1700 and the other, of slender
form, in date about 1750, are typical of this class of table. A very
interesting table is a specimen from the Isle of Man having three
carved legs with knee-breeches and buckle shoes.

Sussex is also well-known for her ironwork (see Chapter X.).

Norfolk and Suffolk used to have a class of oak furniture of quaint
type, less cumbersome than the Welsh. A type of Sheraton Windsor
chair, often inlaid with brass, used also to be found there.

On the whole, those localities which are removed from important towns
are the richest in cottage furniture, for example, Wales, Devonshire,
Cumberland, Northumberland, and parts of Yorkshire. In places, where
the prosperity of the peasants is of long standing, the cottage
furniture has been maintained whole almost until the present day.

Altogether the study of local types affords considerable scope for
critical study. It is essential that such pieces should be identified
and classified before it is too late. Rapidly all cottage and
farmhouse furniture is being scattered over all parts of England.
Collectors transfer furniture from the North to the South, and
the rural treasures of the peasant have been brought to towns and
dispersed to alien districts. The Education Act of 1870 and the
halfpenny newspaper have brought town fashions to the door of the
cottager, and the motor has laid a heavy tribute on rustic seclusion.



CHAPTER X

MISCELLANEOUS IRONWORK, Etc.



CHAPTER X

MISCELLANEOUS IRONWORK, ETC.

   The rushlight-holder--The dipper--The chimney crane--The
   Scottish crusie--Firedogs--The Warming-pan--Sussex
   firebacks--Grandfather clocks.


The everyday iron utensils and implements of the cottages were
simple. It is one of the curious features of the English peasantry
that just as they clung to their oak of generations back when
mahogany was in vogue, so they adhered tenaciously to ironwork of
almost mediæval character when other metals were in fashionable
everyday use. Thus the cottager did not feel the oncoming desire for
the brass, or later silver and plated candlesticks, but remained
firm in his affection for the rushlight-holders in iron, the same
types which his ancestors had used, and the firedogs and firebacks
of earlier type remained to decorate his hearth. Thus ironwork and
rarely brasswork form the sum total of the metal portion of cottage
furniture. We will deal with these various utilitarian objects one by
one.

It must be remembered that the country farmer was not familiar with
ready-made candles, and it probably no more entered his head to
purchase candles in a town than it occurred to him to do other than
bake his own bread. The cottager therefore made his candles for
himself. If he were well-to-do and could afford to entertain his
friends in modest fashion, he would doubtless like to illuminate his
table with candles of symmetrical form. In which case he would use
a candle-mould, and the wax bought in towns would serve for this
purpose. But he was not always so rich, and perhaps he was happiest
of all with the faintly glimmering rush dips which his forbears used.
These afforded a rough-and-ready form of lighting. They burned and
spluttered like a torch or flickered faintly as the tallow grew thin.
Their form closely resembled an amateur's first attempt at making a
cigarette. They were made in the following manner: the thin wirelike
rushes which grew by the water's edge were gathered and stripped of
their green surface till only the soft white pith remained. This
served as a wick. The wax was then melted over a fire in a trough or
candle-dipper, of which an illustration appears (p. 289).

Across this long receptacle the pith wicks were laid till the wax
soaked into them. They were then taken out for the wax to cool and
were dipped once or twice afterwards in order to form their outer
coating. By such a primitive process a kind of thin taper was
formed. It was not parallel along its sides, but bulged and narrowed
throughout its length in primitive manner.

  [Illustration: RUSHLIGHT HOLDERS.

  Showing rush fixed ready for lighting.

    SCOTCH CRUSIE.

    With holder.

    RUSHLIGHT HOLDERS.

    Showing forceps for holding
    rushlight.]

  [Illustration: SUFFOLK PIPE CLEANER.

  The long clay "churchwarden" pipes were placed in this iron
  rack and put into the fire, after which they came out perfectly
  cleaned.

  CANDLE-DIPPER.

  (_In the collection of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: QUEEN ANNE POT-HANGER.

  With original grate. Same date.

  (_By the courtesy of Messrs. Phillips, Hitchin._)]

  [Illustration: KETTLE TRIVET.

  Brass and Iron. Dated about 1770.]

Such a taper, from its uneven thickness, would naturally not
fit the socket of a candlestick, and the only receptacle would be a
scissor-like mechanism with jaws capable of clasping it at any point.
Thus we find the rushlight-holder of common use, as illustrated (p.
289).

The illustrations show two rush-holders with the rushlights affixed
in position ready for lighting, and one showing how the jaws or
forceps clip the rushlight. In practice about an inch or an inch and
a half was above the clip and the rest below. A rushlight some twelve
to fifteen inches long would burn half an hour, and it had to receive
constant attention, being pushed upwards every five minutes. But it
must be remembered that the persons who used this primitive form of
light did not use it for reading nor for a long period at a time.
They usually went to bed early after sunset.

In regard to rushlight-holders the earliest form was without the
accompanying candle-socket, but when the use of tallow dip candles
became prevalent, later forms are found, as illustrated, with the
candle-socket in addition to the holder for the rushlight.

The Scottish crusie is an iron trough of dimensions like a small
sauceboat, which was used for lighting purposes, and was often
suspended, as in the one illustrated (p. 289), from a crane or
hanger. This crusie was filled with oil and the illumination given
by a floating wick, much in the same manner as classic examples, to
which the shape bears a distant resemblance.

The firedogs were always simple, doubtless the product of the local
blacksmith. Where they had hooks along the backs they held crossbars
to prevent the logs falling into the room. The dates of these, as
of all cottage ironwork, are almost impossible to fix, owing to the
survival of the earlier types even so late as the middle of the
nineteenth century.

=The Chimney Crane.=--A most important part of the cottager's
fireplace was his chimney crane. These were of two kinds, the
pot-hook and the swing-arm variety. The pot-hook hung in the chimney
from a chain, and from its teeth was fixed a catch which might be
lowered or raised to keep the cauldron at a level with the flames.

The swing-arm type is more elaborate, and was made to fit very large
fireplaces, where the fire might not invariably be in the same spot
on the hearth. This type was used in the kitchens of the better
farmhouses. Its end was fixed to the wall of the hearth, and the pot
could be swung backwards and forwards and sideways, besides being
raised or lowered to the fire.

The pot-hook is of great antiquity, and belongs to days when man
first learned to cook his food. Frequently in this country early
examples are dug up. There are fine specimens to be seen of the late
Celtic period at the Owens College Museum, at the Northampton Museum,
at the Liverpool Museum, at the Pitt Rivers Museum at Farnham, at the
Victoria and Albert Museum, and elsewhere.

"Pot-hooks and hangers" is an English phrase denoting the beginning
of things academic, and the French phrase _pendre la crémaillère_
(literally to hang the pot-hook) is used to-day in reference to what
we term a "house-warming" party on settling in a new abode.

Another interesting cottage treasure is the cake-baker. This was a
kind of thick frying-pan having a lid, which protected the dough from
the heat when it was held over the smouldering ashes. The tops of
these are often incised with quaint patterns, the impress of which
appears on the cake.

Kettle-trivets are sometimes found in cottages, possibly relics from
better houses or having belonged to the more prosperous farmer.
They are not wholly of iron, being partly of brass. The specimen
illustrated (p. 291) is of late eighteenth-century days.

=The Warming-pan.=--There is an especial charm in the old brass
warming-pan of the farmhouse and the treasured highly-polished
ornament of many a proud cottager to-day. Many modern-made
warming-pans from Holland and elsewhere have found their way into
the possession of unsuspecting collectors. But fine old English
warming-pans are interesting, and summon up memories of careful
housewives and well-aired lavender-smelling sheets in ancient
old-world inns. On fine examples inscriptions may be found, and the
incised work of the pattern on the brass covers is often individual
in character.

Of the examples illustrated (p. 307) one has an incised inscription
around the edge, "The Lord only is my portion." The other has a
dotted geometrical pattern with a star-like design of conventional
floral incised work.

It is unfortunate that the diligence of the housewife has often
obliterated much of the fine work of some of these designs. The
warming-pan offers in itself a complete field for the collector. He
can compare the work of seventeenth-century Dutch examples, with
their quaint religious inscriptions and their finely embossed and
engraved ornamentation, with English specimens of the same date.
That the warming-pan was in use in Elizabethan days is proved by
references in Shakespeare. It has a long history, from Sir John
Falstaff, when Bardolph was bidden to put his face between the
sheets and do the office of a warming-pan, to Mr. Pickwick--to quote
Sergeant Buzfuz, "Don't trouble yourself about the warming-pan--the
warming-pan! Why, gentlemen, who does trouble himself about a
warming-pan?"

=Sussex Firebacks.=--The fireback was usually part of the cottager's
belongings, though perhaps only one would figure in his house, where
possibly his only hearth was in his living-room.

These were cast and forged in various parts of the country, and large
numbers appear to have been made in Sussex, which is, or rather
was, the greatest hunting-ground for good specimens of cottagers'
ironwork. Some highly interesting specimens of these are to be herein
illustrated.

The records of the Sussex iron industry go back to a very early date,
and the town of Lewes, in the thirteenth century, raised taxes by
charging a toll on every cartload of iron admitted. Under Edward
III. the Sussex ironworks provided three thousand horseshoes and
twenty-nine thousand nails for the English army in its campaign in
Scotland. The local rhyme--

    "Master Hogge and his man John
    They did cast the first cannon"--

is not without reason, as in Bodiam Castle and elsewhere are mortars
of Sussex work of fifteenth-century style. In the sixteenth century a
considerable number of firebacks was made, some with the royal arms
and with the royal cipher, "E.R.," and bearing dates and sometimes
makers' names.

  [Illustration: COUNTRY FIREDOGS. EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.]

  [Illustration: FIRE GRATE. EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.]

The earliest form was stamped with the _fleur-de-lys_ or with
portions of twisted cable to form some sort of symmetrical design.
We are enabled, by the kindness of Mr. C. Dawson, F.S.A., of Lewes,
to reproduce some Sussex firebacks from his collection. An example
of the first half of the sixteenth century, illustrated (p. 301),
shows the rope-like border impressed on the sand mould, and the field
impressed with repetitions of a _fleur-de-lys_ from a single stamp.
Another interesting fireback is the "Royal Oak" design, with the
initials "C.R." This is commemorative of the escape of Charles II.
from pursuit by Cromwell's Ironsides and his refuge in the oak-tree.
It will be observed that this specimen has a moulded edge, which
is from a single wood pattern carved in one piece. Amidst the oak
foliage will be seen three crowns, and this exuberance of loyalty
bears a resemblance to certain chairs of the period (copied by the
score nowadays), in which the crown finds a place in the stretcher.

One fireback illustrated (p. 303) shows an ironmaster with his hammer
at his forge. The adjacent piece has the Tudor rose surmounted by
the royal crown, and bears the date 1650, slightly earlier than the
"Royal Oak" example.

All the foregoing specimens are native in their conception of design.
They approximate closely to the Jacobean carved panel with its narrow
range of subjects, and have a relationship to Stuart needlework with
its royal symbolism. Later came the Dutch influence, most marked in
its effect upon the shape, height, and character of these firebacks.
This became especially noticeable in the eighteenth century, and
in the illustrations (p. 303) of two wooden patterns from which
the firebacks were made at Ashburnham, Sussex, this is clearly
shown. The designs are ornate and represent either some scriptural
or mythological subject. The woodcarving is of a style strongly
under Dutch influence, and the tall proportions suggest gravestones
(indeed, in Sussex there are headstones made of iron, with pictures
and inscriptions).

The mode of casting these iron firebacks in sand and the employment
of wooden patterns to form the mould into which the molten metal was
to run is familiar to any foundry in casting iron. In regard to the
early examples with the twisted cable rim, it is conjectured that
pieces of twisted rope were actually laid on the wet sand to produce
this pattern--that is, before the use of carved wooden patterns
such as are illustrated. In regard to the bolder "cable twist"
pattern, it is believed this was produced by impression of pieces of
rope stiffened with glue, and twisted around iron rods.

  [Illustration: SUSSEX IRON FIREBACK. FIRST HALF OF SIXTEENTH
  CENTURY.

  Rope-like border impressed on sand mould. The field impressed
  with repetitions from a single _fleur-de-lys_ stamp.]

  [Illustration: SUSSEX IRON FIREBACK.

  The Royal Oak Design, commemorative of the Restoration. Late
  Seventeenth Century. Moulded edge and carved in one piece from a
  single pattern.

  (_In the collection of Charles Dawson, Esq., F.S.A., Lewes._)]

  [Illustration: SUSSEX FIREBACKS.

    Tudor Rose surmounted by Royal
    Crown. Dated 1650.

    Depicting Ironmaster at his Forge.
    (Very rusty and worn.)]

  [Illustration: ORIGINAL WOODEN PATTERNS.

  Dutch influence. Eighteenth Century. From which firebacks were
  made at Ashburnham, Sussex.

  (_By the courtesy of Charles Dawson, Esq., F.S.A., Lewes._)]

The size of the wooden pattern is slightly larger than the resultant
fireback, owing to the shrinkage of the metal on cooling. This
diminution in design is a factor in the potter's art, when figures
in some cases lose nearly a third of their original proportions when
moulded in the clay prior to firing.

Firebacks have attracted a considerable amount of interest. There are
many collectors, and a great deal of close study has been applied to
the subject. Country museums in the vicinity of the Weald of Sussex
and Kent contain many notable examples, especially those of Lewes,
Hastings, Brighton, Rochester, Maidstone, and Guildford. In the first
mentioned there are some very rare and beautiful examples of Sussex
firebacks.

Especially interesting in connection with the Sussex ironworks is the
illustration (p. 309) of a clock face made by a local maker, Beeching
of Ashburnham, in the late seventeenth century. This brass dial of a
thirty-hour clock, with single hand and alarum, is ornamented with
designs showing various phases of the iron industry as carried on in
Sussex. There is a cannon with diminutive figures holding the match.
There are cannon-balls, and a liliputian fireback with a crown on
it. Men with pickaxes, men felling trees, and others tending the
furnaces, symbolise the business of a foundry.

It was not until 1690 that the minute numerals were placed outside
the minute divisions in clock faces, so that this face, having the
minute numerals absent and the minute divisions in the inner circle,
presumably belongs to the late seventeenth century.

=Grandfather Clocks.=--A volume on cottage and farmhouse furniture
would be incomplete without some reference to grandfather clocks.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century this type of clock had
become popular. The early brass-bracket clock known as "Cromwellian,"
varying from six to ten inches in height, had a spring. With the use
of the long pendulum and revolving drums, around which catgut is
wound to support the heavy weights, these unprotected parts required
a wooden case.

The "lantern" or "bird-cage" clocks (wallclocks from which the
pendulum and weights hung unprotected) lasted till about 1680, when
the first grandfather type with wood case came into use.

The early examples with cases exhibiting fine marquetry are outside
the scope of the class of furniture now under consideration. In such
specimens there is frequently a round or oval opening covered with
glass in the centre of the panel.

In earlier types the metal dial is square, and later it became
lunetted at top, and the wood case had a corresponding curve. In
clocks made for great houses there were chimes, and their works
were by well-known town makers. But in cottage examples, instead
of the eight-day movement, more often than not the clock only ran
for twenty-four hours. There is little attempt at ornament in
these plain oak varieties. The case is soundly constructed, and
sometimes, in exceptional examples, the head is surmounted by
brass ball finials, as in the finer examples. As a rule the country
cabinet-maker confined himself to an ornamental scrolled head. In
later examples the metal dial--and these come at the beginning of the
nineteenth century--is painted with some rustic scene with figures,
and frequently there is a revolving dial showing the days of the
month.

  [Illustration: WARMING-PANS.

  Finely decorated with incised work. One with inscription, "The
  Lord only is my portion."

  (_By the courtesy of Mr. S. G. Fenton._)]

  [Illustration: GRANDFATHER CLOCK.

  With Oak Case.

  Made by J. Paxton, St. Neots. Height, 6 ft. 10 ins.]

  [Illustration: BRASS DIAL OF THIRTY-HOUR CLOCK.

  Single Hand and Alarum. Late Seventeenth Century.

  Ornamented with designs showing various phases of the iron
  industry, as carried on at Ashburnham, Sussex.

  (_In the collection of Charles Dawson, Esq., F.S.A., Lewes._)]

The entire head covering the dial is often removable in old clocks to
which there is no hinged door, as in later made examples.

These country grandfather clocks are much treasured by their owners,
and have been handed down in families for generations. Owing to the
indefatigability of collectors and their persistent and tempting
offers, many have left their old homes. The demand has been great,
and thousands of "grandfather" clocks have been made during the last
twenty years and sold as "antique," or old cases with plain panels
have received the unwelcome attention of the modern restorer and have
been carved to please a popular whim for carved oak panels.

In regard to dates of grandfather clocks the records of the
Clockmakers' Company give a list of makers of the eighteenth century,
enabling the period to be fairly accurately fixed. The walnut
cases inlaid with floral marquetry, often attributed to the period
1690-1725, that is William and Mary and Queen Anne, frequently belong
to a quarter of a century later. The case-makers clung more closely
to old designs than did the clockmakers. Hence the case very often
is of apparently older style than the works, though both were made
contemporaneously. In addition to this, new clocks were put in older
cases, or _vice versa_, which, like putting new pictures in old
frames, adds to the gaiety of collecting.

In general the London clock-cases are only roughly indicative, in
comparison with the Company records, of contemporary styles of
furniture. In country-made pieces the wood cases are anything from
twenty to forty years behind London fashions. For example, the arched
top occurs after 1720 in London, and after 1735 in the provinces. In
the _Director_ of Chippendale and in Sheraton's and Hepplewhite's
books of designs there are illustrations of clock cases. The
progression of styles of eighteenth-century grandfather clock cases
is from plain oak to figured walnut, black and red lacquer, floral,
"seaweed," or mosaic marquetry, and in the latter decades of the
eighteenth century inlaid mahogany cases, and many of these have
finely veneered panels. In many country clocks oak cases are veneered
in mahogany, but as a rule country made grandfather cases are plain
oak. The example illustrated (p. 307) indicates the plain type of
solidly made provincial piece. The clock was made by J. Paxton at St.
Neots.

The mahogany-cased grandfather clock is never found in cottages.
There are no Chippendale styles in this field for the collector to
search for. The plainness of the country style has happily in many
instances preserved them from alien hands. An interesting revival,
chiefly on account of expense, is found in the Dutch clock, with
china face painted with flowers, which the cottager bought in early
and middle nineteenth-century days. This form of clock reverted to
the unprotected pendulum and weights, and is an object-lesson in what
the style of English clock was before the use of a long wooden case.
But these Dutch clocks are interesting rather than valuable, and have
not yet claimed the attention of collectors.



CHAPTER XI

OLD ENGLISH CHINTZES



CHAPTER XI

OLD ENGLISH CHINTZES

BY HUGH PHILLIPS

   The charm of old English chintz--Huguenot cloth-printers settle
   in England--Jacob Stampe at the sign of the Calico Printer--The
   Queen Anne period--The Chippendale period--The age of machinery.


The present chapter has been added with perhaps some justification,
since it seemed to the writer that such a subject as old English
chintzes might appropriately take its place beside the equally homely
craft of the rural cabinet-maker.

For the chintz is the _tapisserie d'aubusson_ of the peasant--it
covers his chairs and drapes his windows, giving warmth and wealth of
colour to the otherwise barren appearance of his cottage. Further,
it reflects his simple horticultural tastes, for the brilliantly
coloured roses, pansies, and convolvuluses which shine prominently on
the glazed surface of the cloth are those flowers which are always to
be found in his garden.

Chintz or printed cotton is the only decorative fabric known to the
village upholsterer. When persons of wealth hung their windows with
silk brocades and covered their chairs with costly needlework and
damasks, the rural cabinet-maker was supplying his modest _clientèle_
with these homely patterns printed upon common cloth.

These unassuming fabrics were as much cherished by the cottagers as
anything which they possessed. The classical ornament of expensive
silks they did not understand, and the freely treated birds and
flowers which figured on chintz represented the Alpha and Omega of
beauty in textile design.

So great, indeed, is the fascination of these for the cottagers that
to-day, in districts less penetrated by modern advance, the rural
populace will not extend their affections to the up-to-date designs
of upholsterers, but insist upon the old spot and sprig patterns of
their ancestors.

There is much wisdom in the conservative taste of the peasant, for
the old chintz of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was
of the highest artistic merit. In the heyday of its fame the fabric
was exceedingly fashionable amongst the richest persons, and there
are abundant records of the popularity of old English chintzes upon
the Continent. For, at its best periods, the chintz was not a base
imitation of more expensive fabrics; it did not, for instance,
occupy the relationship of pewter to silver or moulded composition
to genuine woodcarving. On the contrary, the designing of chintzes
is an art of distinction, governed by canons which bear little
relationship to other decorative textile crafts. For where the
silk-weaver is confined to solid patterns which will appear in his
transverse threads, the printer of cloths can wander unrestrained
into designs of wonderful intricacy and beauty: every colour in
nature he can imitate, and no object is too delicate or too rich to
stamp upon his cotton. Indeed, his art stops little short of that of
the painter of pictures.

  [Illustration: OLD TRADE CARD SHOWING CALICO PRINTERS AT WORK.

  "Jacob Stampe living at ye Sighn of the Callico Printer in
  Hounsditch Prints all sorts of Callicoes Lineings Silkes Stuffs
  New or Ould at Reasonable Rates."

  (_From old print at British Museum._)]

  [Illustration: ENGLISH PRINTED CALICO. ABOUT 1690.

  With contemporary portraits.

  (_By courtesy of Mr. T. D. Phillips._)]

A glance at the illustrations will more closely confirm this, for
such designs could not be imitated by any other textile process, the
multitudinous twists and curves and the delicate shades and patches
of colour being only possible to the printer.

Interesting as is the study of old chintzes, the history of the art
in England is even more fascinating. From the obscurity of a small
local craft it became one of our great national industries.

Of its earliest history in England we know nothing, and a search
among old documents fails to reveal any traces of chintz-printing
before the Renaissance. There are several vague references to the
subject in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but none of them
disclose any solid information. Thus the question of who was the
first chintz-printer remains an unsolved riddle. It appears, however,
that in the seventeenth century there was a gradual immigration of
foreign workmen of Dutch and French nationalities who were well
versed in the art of cotton-printing--then well established upon the
Continent. These people came over in gradually increasing numbers,
their arrival culminating in the huge influx of foreigners about 1650
to 1700.

The majority of them were by trade silk-weavers and printers. Their
departure was a serious blow to France, for they transferred to
England what had been great national industries in France. Settling
in and about London, the refugees peaceably recommenced their work,
and soon the weaving of silks in Spitalfields and the printing of
chintzes in Richmond, Bow, and Old Ford became a source of great
prosperity to this country.

On p. 319 is an illustration of a seventeenth-century trade card
of one of the chintz-printers, or, as they were then called,
calico-printers. Here we see in a most lucid manner the process by
which chintzes were produced in the time of James II. The inscription
runs: "Jacob Stampe living at Ye Sighn of the Callico Printer in
Hounsditch Prints all sorts of Callicoes Lineings Silkes Stuffs, New
or Ould, at Reasonable Rates."

A printer is standing at a table upon which is stretched a length
of cloth, which falls in folds on the floor. He holds in his hand a
wooden block, which he is applying at intervals to the cloth. The
other hand contains a mallet, which is about to strike the wooden
block and stamp the colour firmly into the threads of the material.
Behind him is an apprentice boy, standing over a tub of colour,
preparing the blocks for his master to use.

  [Illustration: HAND-PRINTED CHINTZ.

  Queen Anne Period.]

  [Illustration: HAND-PRINTED CHINTZ.

  Chinese style. Middle Eighteenth Century.]

By so clumsy a process very delicate work could not be produced,
and, indeed, the few examples of this period which remain are very
heavy in character. One of these, which has been lent by Mr. J. D.
Phillips, the owner, is illustrated on p. 319. It belongs to the
end of the seventeenth century and corresponds to the William and
Mary period of English furniture, being contemporary with the pieces
illustrated on pp. 77, 117 in the earlier chapters. It will be seen
that this example contains two portraits in costume of the late
Stuart period, possibly intended for portraits of William and Mary.
Their portraits are of frequent occurrence on Lambeth delft of this
period.

The printer has only produced the outline, the colour being added by
hand with a brush, for at this date the printing of colour by the
successive application of blocks had not been mastered. The black
ink to-day lies thick upon the cloth, as coarsely as though it had
been dabbed on with a stencil. The material is a rough hand-woven
canvas. Printed cloths of the period of Charles II. and James II. and
William and Mary are exceedingly rare and seldom met with, as, owing
to their roughness, they have been destroyed by subsequent owners. A
few, however, are to be found on walnut chairs under the coverings
of later date. Often, indeed, one meets a chair covered in Victorian
horsehair which will reveal underneath the successive coverings of
many generations of owners, including perhaps the material in which
it was first upholstered.

As the seventeenth century wore on and we enter upon the early
years of the eighteenth century--the days of Queen Anne--the
chintz-printers became more prosperous. Their work, owing to its
increasing delicacy, met with great public approval, and it began
to supplant woven silks for the purposes of curtains, coverings, and
dresses. Thus the silk-weavers of Spitalfields found a declining
market for their goods and soon came into friction with the printers.
Much bad feeling ensued, and eventually their quarrels resulted
in the distribution of defamatory literature which is to-day most
amusing. The weavers circulated the curious "Spittlefields Ballad"
against "Calico Madams," or the ladies who wore chintz dresses.

THE SPITTLEFIELDS BALLADS

OR THE

WEAVER'S COMPLAINT AGAINST THE CALLICO MADAMS

    Our trade is so bad
    That the weavers run mad
    Through the want of both work and provisions,
    That some hungry poor rogues
    Feed on grains like our hogs,
    They're reduced to such wretched conditions,
    Then well may they tayre
    What our ladies now wear
    And as foes to our country upbraid 'em,
    Till none shall be thought
    A more scandalous slut
    Than a tawdry Callico Madam.

    When our trade was in wealth
    Our women had health,
    We silks, rich embroideries and satins,
    Fine stuffs and good crapes
    For each ord'nary trapes
    That is destin'd to hobble in pattins;
    But now we've a Chince
    For the wife of a prince,
    And a butterfly gown for a gay dame,
    Thin painted old sheets
    For each trull in the streets
    To appear like a Callico Madam.

  [Illustration: HAND-PRINTED CHINTZ.

  Exotic-Bird style. Middle Eighteenth Century.]

  [Illustration: HAND-PRINTED CHINTZ.

  Gothic style. Late Eighteenth Century.]

The poet in several long stanzas warms in his indignation, and
finally directs his verse against the male friends of all fair
wearers of chintzes, suggesting that--

      "It's no matter at all
    If the Prince of Iniquity had 'em,
      Or that each for a bride
      Should be cursedly tied
    To some damn'd Callico Madam."

It is not surprising that the weavers should find it difficult to
set their productions against those of the cloth-printers, for the
chintzes of this period are surpassingly beautiful. One of them
is illustrated on p. 323. Here the material is no longer a rough
canvas, but is now a light dress cambric, similar to the thin smooth
chintz cloth which has survived till to-day. A delicate pattern of
intertwining stems winds upwards, the stalks having blossoms of
finely cut outline and brilliant colours. Old chintzes of this period
may be recognised by their lightness and by the long thin designs of
intermingling flowers of Indian type. These were all more or less
borrowed from the Marsupalitan printed cloths brought over by the
India trading companies, and the flowers and colourings of this date
are nearly always very closely copied from Eastern originals, the
cornflower and carnation being among those most frequently met with.

The ill-feeling between the printers and weavers was of long
duration, and eventually took the form of open riots and street
demonstrations similar to those of to-day. On one occasion, in
1719, they went from Spitalfields to Westminster and protested
against the popularity of chintzes and suggested that their use be
forbidden. On the return journey they manifested their feelings by
tearing off the chintz gowns of various ladies whom they met upon
the route. Evidently Parliament pandered to these labour riots, for
in 1736 printed cloths were forbidden by Act of Parliament, but this
legislation was of short duration; the Act was soon repealed and the
fascinating material became the rage once more.

The next stage at which we look upon chintz-printing is about
1760, in the middle of the period of Chippendale furniture. This
is the golden period of its printing. Technically and artistically
the hand-printed chintz now reached its climax. Colour-work by
superimposed blocks was in full swing, and the designer had, in
the works of contemporary artists, a wider field for the selection
of subjects suitable for his fabric. Among the many varieties of
chintzes which we find at this date the most prominent are the Gothic
and Chinese designs to suit the current taste in furniture, and the
exotic bird patterns, which are perhaps the finest of all.

  [Illustration: HAND-PRINTED CHINTZ. ABOUT 1760.

  By R. Jones, of Old Ford, London.]

The formation of the designs has changed considerably by this time
and we no longer find the intertwining or serpentine form as in the
Queen Anne chintzes. The flowers and objects to be printed are now
massed together and represented as little disjointed islands
floating in mid-air. By this distinctive feature they may easily be
recognised. One of these charming exotic bird chintzes is illustrated
on p. 327. Here a pheasant is resting under a palm-tree upon a small
island of densely packed foliage. The whole idea of the design
is taken from the Chinese porcelain of the period. The bird, the
flowers, and every object portrayed come from the East and are drawn
in the manner constantly seen upon the _Famille Rose_ dishes and
vases of the period. These exotic bird patterns are not exclusively
found upon chintzes, for the collector of English porcelain will be
familiar with them in the early productions of the Bow and Worcester
factories.

Another feature which one notices in printed fabrics at this date is
the buff ground. The cloth is white, and the pattern is printed upon
it in this state so that the pinks, blues, and greens of the flowers
may have every advantage of transparency. The buff background is then
printed in afterwards, leaving a thin margin around the design. In
this manner great richness and depth is given to the colours without
undue harshness, which would be the result if they were exhibited
upon a white background. The illustration on p. 323 shows a chintz in
the Chinese manner, designed to conform with the oriental furniture
of Chippendale. Here again we see the detached islets of vegetation,
but instead of exotic birds we have Chinese vases containing flowers,
and in the foreground a rococo shell, one of the then little-known
species from the East greatly treasured in England. The carnations
and foliage will be readily recognised as copies from Chinese
paintings. One might illustrate a very large number of these Chinese
chintzes, but space will only permit one example. This particular
specimen is probably unique; it is taken from an old roll of chintz
printed about 1760 and left over after the owner had curtained
his house. The roll (about twenty yards long) has been carefully
preserved and handed down from generation to generation, so that its
original colours and soft glaze remain intact.

A chintz in the Gothic manner is illustrated on p. 327. It differs
slightly from the others in that the island formation is combined
with serpentine foliage. In the centre is a patch of ground upon
which are the ruins of a Gothic church. The artist, however, has not
forgotten to please those patrons who might prefer the Chinese style,
and therefore he has quietly added the incongruous elements of prunus
flowers in the foreground and palm-trees in the background. At first
this quaint admixture may appear a bad art, but it must be remembered
that at this quaint period the whole principle of decorative design
was upset by the rococo school, and quaintness and delicacy of detail
outweighed the greater considerations of line and proportion. We
find a similar treatment of design later on in many Spode plates,
especially in blue transfer-printed subjects.

  [Illustration: PRINTED CHINTZ.

  Hepplewhite Period.]

  [Illustration: PRINTED CHINTZ.

  Victorian Period.]

In the third quarter of the eighteenth century we enter upon a new
era in the history of chintzes. We may appropriately call it the
age of machinery, for from this date the mechanical processes came
in whereby chintz-printing was raised from the position of a
comparatively small craft to that of a huge national industry. The
great manufacturing towns in the North, such as Manchester, were
rising in importance, and Lancashire was forming the basis of its
gigantic cotton trade. Following these trade movements, the old
industry of cloth-printing gradually left its centre in London and
was developed on a larger scale in the North of England.

In spite of this great commercial spirit which seized the printing of
textiles, hand-block printing did not pass away, for it has survived
till to-day as the best method for fine artistic work; cretonnes and
chintzes produced in this manner, even during the nineteenth century,
are always good. Mechanical roller work, however, was responsible for
a large output of work which is little worthy of preservation, and
in the nineteenth century we find much machine-printed chintz which,
to say the least, is not reminiscent of the fine handwork which
preceded it in the mid-eighteenth century. The earliest machine-work
was carried out by means of engraved copper plates applied to the
cloth in a printer's press. One of these is illustrated on p. 331.
It is exceedingly fine in its details, and very few old specimens of
this pattern are in existence. In several places are inserted the
printer's name and date, "R. Jones, Old Ford, 1761." The design is
doubtless borrowed from the _Toiles de Jouy_, printed by a Bavarian
at Jouay, near Versailles, about this time. The drawing, however, is
finer than any specimens of his work which have come to the author's
notice. A shepherdess is tending to her flock amid a classical ruin
while she is listening to the music of a flute. In another portion of
the design, a cock and hen are mourning for the loss of one of their
brood which has been carried off by an eagle. This design is worthy
of interest for its superior quality, as it must have been produced
for some very fine house. There is another specimen printed in red in
the Victoria and Albert Museum. The one which is illustrated here was
found upon an exceedingly fine Chippendale bedstead.

During the Hepplewhite and Sheraton periods of furniture the chintz
ceases to have its pattern detached and grouped. Architectural
details with figures disappear, and once more the designer returns to
flowers as his subject for illustration. The foliage, however, now
takes the form of vertical stripes, being contained within lace-like
ribands placed at even distances. On p. 335 is an illustration of a
chintz about 1790 in which these features will be noticed.

In the nineteenth century we find the chintz covered with disjointed
sprigs, as though the flowers had been plucked and cast upon the
cloth. Their outline is softened by a margin of dots. An illustration
of this style is shown on p. 335.

  [Illustration: PRINTED CHINTZ.

  From the Calico Printing Factory at Sobden, in Lancashire.
  Printed in 1831 under the direction of Richard Cobden.

  (_In the collection of Mrs. Cobden Unwin._)]

One need not pursue the history of chintzes further, for to do so
would entail a discussion of modern methods. Suffice it to say that
in the nineteenth century we come across the hideous black grounds,
the base imitation of woven designs, leopard skins, and other
inartistic perversions. We must rather bid adieu to this beautiful
art ere it has begun to decline. It will afford the reader much
pleasure if he should form a collection of old specimens and frame
them around his walls, for then he will fully appreciate their charm.
In examining his own collection the author has spent many a pleasant
hour, for these gaily coloured chintzes are among the most articulate
relics which have come down to us. They breathe the spirit, the
feelings, and the ideals of the periods wherein they were made. They
show lucidly the various changes in fashion and the rise and wane
in the popularity of certain forms of decoration. So delectable are
their soft, faded colours, so fascinating are the designs, and above
all, so enchanting is the old-world musty scent which always clings
to them, that it would be hard indeed to withhold one's affection
from them.



INDEX


    Adam style table, 186

    America, the Windsor chair acclimatised in, 246

    America, spindle-back chairs, 239

    America, carved chests of Puritan colonists, 60

    America, types coincident with Jacobean, 60

    Anachronism in country makers' work, 204

    Anne, Queen, chintz printing in time of, 325

    Anne, Queen, style--cabriole leg, advent of, 167

    Anne, Queen, chests of drawers, 67

    Anne, Queen, scandal at Court of, 158

    Anne, Queen, so-called style, 167


    Back--the chair, and its development, 203

    Bacon cupboards, 154

    Ball and claw foot, introduction of, 162

    "Barley sugar" turning, illustrated, 105

    Bedfordshire tables, 283

    Bedstead, Jacobean, illustrated, 77

    Bevel of panel indicating date, 204

    Bible-boxes, 34, 139-154

    Bloomfield, Robert, quoted, 268

    Bobbins, Buckinghamshire, 153

    Brittany dressers, 134

    Broken corners, Queen Anne style, 167, 169

    Buckinghamshire bobbins, 153

    Bureau bookcase and cupboard, 176

    Bureaus, marquetry in coloured woods, 169

    Byzantine types of furniture existent in Elizabethan days, 37


    Cabriole leg, advent of the, 167

    Cabriole leg (Queen Anne period), 129

    Cambridge tables, 283

    Candle dipper, the, 288

    Cane-back chairs, 203, 207

    Cane-back chairs, late Stuart, 199

    Cane-back chair, its influence on farmhouse styles, 208

    Caning in chairs out of fashion, 162

    Chairs--
      America, Windsor chair, types of, 246
      Back, the, its development, 203
      Caned-back chair, its influence on farmhouse styles, 208
      Caned chairs, late Stuart, 199, 203, 207
      Caning out of fashion, 162
      Charles II. period styles, 211
      Chippendale styles, 179
      Chippendale, Windsor styles, 254
      Corner chairs, 240
      Country Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton, 221
      Cupid's bow top rail, 218
      Cushions, their use with, 199, 207
      Derbyshire chairs, 203
      Elizabethan turned chairs, 37
      Evolution of the chair, 189-241
      Fiddle splat chairs, introduction of, 162
      Fiddle splat, Queen Anne style, 217
      Fiddle splat, Windsor, at its best, 254
      "Fiddle-string" backs, 249
      Goldsmith, Oliver, his chair, 253
      Grandfather variety, 168, 230
      Hepplewhite country styles, 221
      Hepplewhite Windsor chairs, 254
      Horseshoe back, Windsor, 259, 260
      Jacobean, typical form, 196
      Ladder-back chairs, 233
      Lancashire rush-bottom chairs, 241
      Lancashire spindle back chairs, 278
      Modern office-chair, derivation of, 260
      Prince of Wales's feathers in back, 227
      Ribbon-back, introduction of, 179
      Rush-bottomed chairs, 233
      Shell ornament employed, 167
      Sheraton country styles, 221
      Sheraton Windsor chairs, 259, 260
      Spindle-back chairs, 234
      Splat, Queen Anne, the, 217
      Straight-backed chairs, 203
      Stretcher, evolution of the, 200
      Tavern chairs, 249
      Wheel-back Windsor chairs, 259
      Woods used, Windsor chairs, 249, 250

    Charles II. chests of drawers, 62

    Charles II. period, impetus given to furniture design, 95

    Charles II. period, styles of chairs, 211

    Chests, Gothic, 34

    Chests, sixteenth century, 34

    Chests, Welsh carving, 277

    Chests of drawers, 60

    Chests of drawers, Charles II. period, 62

    Chests of drawers, Queen Anne style, 67

    Children's stools, Jacobean, illustrated, 77

    Chimney crane, the, 294

    China and glass cupboards, 180

    Chinese designs in chintzes, 333

    Chinese style of Chippendale, 227

    Chintz printing becomes a national industry, 321

    Chintzes, old English, 317-341

    Chippendale and his contemporaries, 180

    Chippendale clock cases, 312

    Chippendale quoted, 227, 228

    Chippendale, ribbon designs of, 179

    Chippendale style, provincial, 221

    Chippendale style Windsor chairs, 254

    Chocolate houses, polemic against, 170

    Chronology, seventeenth-century, 45-48

    Claw-and-ball foot, introduction of, 162

    Clock and dresser combined, 129

    Clocks, grandfather, 306

    Club foot, introduction of, 162

    Cobbett, William, quoted, 67

    Coffee-drinking and coffee-houses, 170

    Coffee, women's petition against, 170

    Corner chairs, 240

    Cottage furniture and earthenware compared, 31

    Country cabinet-maker, his mixture of styles, 211

    Country Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton, 221

    Country furniture, its sturdy independence, 24

    Country makers little influenced by contemporary fashion, 50

    Cradles, 148

    Cromwellian chests with drawers, 52

    Crusie, the Scottish, 277, 293

    Cupboard, the bacon, 154

    Cupboard, Welsh carving, 277

    Cupboards, corner, introduction of, 162

    Cupboards and drawers, taste for, 125

    "Cupid's bow" underframing, 107, 185

    "Cupid's bow" top rail of chair, 218

    Cushions, their use with chairs, 199, 207


    Delany, Mrs., quoted, 153

    Denmark, the conservation of old farmhouse furniture in, 38

    Derbyshire chairs, 203

    Design books, eighteenth-century, publication of, 222

    _Director_, by Chippendale, a working guide, 223

    Drawer accommodation a feature in late dressers, 130

    Drawers, chests of, 60

    Drawers, chests of, Charles II. period, 62

    Drawers, chests of, Queen Anne style, 67

    Dresser and clock combined, 129

    Dressers, farmhouse, 115-135

    Dressers--
      Brittany, 134
      Lancashire, 134
      Normandy, 134
      Welsh, 133

    Dutch artisans print early English chintzes, 321

    Dutch influence early eighteenth century, 168, 170


    Earthenware and cottage furniture compared, 31

    Eighteenth-century dressers, 130

    Eighteenth-century pleasure gardens, 249

    Eighteenth-century styles, 157-187

    Elizabethan turned chairs, 37

    English chintzes, old, 317-341

    English farmhouse furniture, desirability of its preservation, 42

    English joiners' work, its solidity, 51

    Essex tables, 283

    Exotic bird patterns in chintzes, 333


    "Farmer's Boy" (Robert Bloomfield) quoted, 268

    Farmhouse furniture (English), desirability of its preservation, 42

    Farmhouse furniture influenced by walnut styles, 208

    Farmhouse styles contemporary with the cane-back chair, 208

    Feet--
      Arcaded foot, Charles II. period, 62
      Ball, 62;
        illustrated, 65
      Claw-and-ball foot, introduction of the, 162
      Club foot, its introduction, 162
      Hoof foot, the, 176
      Scroll or Spanish foot, 104, 203
      Spanish foot, the, 104, 203
      Spanish foot, in corrupted form, illustrated, 105, 109
      Trestle, in Gothic style, 90

    Fiddle splat chairs, introduction of, 162

    Fiddle splat, Queen Anne style, 217

    Fiddle splat Windsor chair at its best, 254

    "Fiddle-string" backs, 249

    Firebacks, Sussex, 296

    Firebacks, Sussex, fine examples exhibited, 305

    Firedogs, cottage and farmhouse, 294

    Food of country population, seventeenth century, 81

    Foreign styles, slow assimilation of, 67

    French artisans print early English chintzes, 321


    Gate-leg tables, 85-112

    Gate-leg table, double gates, 96;
      illustrated, 93

    Gate-leg table, established as a popular type, 90

    Gate-leg table, square top, illustrated, 105

    Geometric panels, chests of drawers, 61;
      dressers, 121

    Georgian styles, early types, 179

    Gibbons, Grinling, the style of, 56

    Goldsmith, Oliver, his chair, 253

    Gothic brackets to chests, 34

    Gothic chests, 34

    Gothic trestle, gate-leg table, 89

    Grandfather chair, the, 230

    Grandfather chair, curved lines of, 168

    Grandfather clocks, 306

    Grandfather clock combined with dresser, 129

    Great Seal of Queen Anne, showing style of ornament, 168


    Hardwick Hall, suite at, 55

    Hepplewhite clock cases, 312

    Hepplewhite influence on village work, 207

    Hepplewhite quoted, 229, 230

    Hepplewhite style, provincial, 221

    Hertfordshire tables, 283

    Hogarth, the line of beauty the curve, 168

    Hoof foot, the, 176

    Horseshoe-back Windsor chairs, 130, 257, 260


    Incongruity of provincial cabinet-maker, 211

    Inlaid work rarely employed, 55

    Inlaid work with walnut, 169

    Inlaid work, woods used, 169

    Irish Chippendale, 272

    Ironwork, miscellaneous, 287-313

    Ironwork, Scottish, 277

    Isle of Man tables, 283


    Jacobean cradles, 148

    Jacobean dressers with geometric panels, 121

    Jacobean furniture, typical styles, 49

    Jacobean oak chair, typical form, 196

    Jacobean period, its characteristics, 95

    Jacobean period, late styles of, 115

    Jacobean style, its transition to William and Mary, 207

    Jacobean Sussex firebacks, 299, 300

    Joinery, the solidity of English, 51

    Jones, R., of Old Ford, chintz printer, 337


    Kettle trivet, the cottager's, 295


    Lacquer employed in clock-cases, 312

    Ladder-back chair, the, 233

    Lancashire chintzes, 337

    Lancashire dressers, 134

    Lancashire furniture, 278

    Lancashire Queen Anne settle, 167

    Lancashire rush-bottom chair, 241

    Legs--
      "Barley sugar" turning illustrated, 105
      Cabriole leg, introduction of the, 167
      Egg and reel turning, 43;
        illustrated, 93
      Eight legs (gate table), 99
      Elizabethan bulbous leg, 60
      Jacobean straight-turned leg, 60
      Jacobean, various forms of turning, 89
      Queen Anne cabriole leg, 129
      Six legs, gate table, illustrated, 99
      Split urn leg, illustrated, 91, 119
      Straight leg again in vogue, 180
      Urn-shaped leg, 60
      Urn-shaped splat, 121;
        illustrated, 91, 119

    Linen-fold pattern on chests, 32

    Local types, 33

    Local types of furniture, 267-284

    London and the vicinity, chintz printed in, 322

    Longleat, oak furniture at, 55

    Lyngby (near Copenhagen), collection of old farmhouse furniture at, 41


    Macaulay quoted, 158

    Macaulay, "State of England in 1685" quoted, 76

    Mahogany gate-leg tables, 103

    Mahogany styles, their gracefulness, 179

    Mahogany, the chief designers of, of the golden age, 104

    Marlborough, Duchess of, and her intrigues, 158

    Marquetry bureaus in coloured woods, 169

    Marquetry, woods used in, 169

    Minor cabinet-makers' work lacking harmony, 212

    Modern office-chair, derivation from Windsor type, 263

    More, Hannah, and the agricultural classes, 175

    Morris, William, his influence on furniture, 111

    "Mule" chests, 52


    Norfolk, oak furniture, 283

    Normandy dressers, 134

    Normans, furniture, styles of, introduced by, 37

    North, Roger, quoted, 170


    Oak, erroneously used to carry out walnut designs, 212

    Oak, general in its use, 55

    Oak supplanted by walnut in fashionable furniture, 207

    Oak the chief wood employed, 33

    Office-chair, derivation from Windsor type, 263

    Oriental patterns in chintzes, 333


    Panelling, bevel of, indicating date of, 204

    Panels, sunk, Jacobean style, 62

    Patterns, wood, used for firebacks, 300

    People, changing habits of the, in seventeenth century, 72

    Pepys's _Diary_, quoted, 79

    Pleasure gardens, eighteenth-century, 249

    Pot-hook, the, 294

    Pot-hooks, fine examples, where exhibited, 294

    Prince of Wales's feathers, 227

    Provincial furniture many decades behind fashion, 50


    Queen Anne, cabriole leg, 129

    Queen Anne dressers, 122

    Queen Anne flap tables, 89

    Queen Anne period, the splat of the, 217


    Restoration period, chests of drawers, 62

    Ribbon designs, introduction of, 179

    Roads in provinces, bad state of, 79

    Rush-bottom chair, the, 233

    Rushlight holder, the, 288


    Scandinavian origin of Elizabethan chair, 37

    Scotland, Union with, proclamation by Queen Anne, 161

    Scottish types of ironwork, 277

    "Seaweed" marquetry in clock-cases, 312

    Settle, Lancashire form, 278

    Settle, Queen Anne style, 167

    Seventeenth-century, chronology of, 45-48

    Seventeenth-century settle (Lancashire), 278

    Seventeenth-century sideboard, typical style, 56

    Seventeenth-century styles, 49-82

    Seventeenth-century styles, types of, 72

    Shell ornament, early eighteenth-century, 167

    Sheraton clock-cases, 312

    Sheraton influence on country makers, 234

    Sheraton influence in Windsor chairs, 259

    Sheraton style, provincial, 221

    Sideboard, typical seventeenth-century style, 56

    Sixteenth-century chests, 34

    Sizergh Castle, oak room at, 55

    Spanish foot, its use, 104, 107

    Spanish Succession, War of the, 161

    Spindle-back chair, the, 234

    Spindle-back chairs (Lancashire), 278

    Spinning-wheels, 153

    Spitalfields weavers, complaint as to chintz fashions, 326, 330

    Splat, the Queen Anne, 217

    Staffordshire pottery and cottage furniture compared, 31

    Stands for chests of drawers, 67

    Stockholm, collection of farmhouse furniture at, 38

    Stools, children's Jacobean, illustrated, 77

    Straight-backed chairs, 203

    Stretcher, evolution of the, 200

    Stretcher, Yorkshire splat form, 96

    Suffolk oak furniture, 283

    Sussex firebacks, 296

    Sussex ironworks, the, 295, 296

    "Swan head" to cupboard, 168

    Sweden, the conservation of old farmhouse furniture in, 38

    Swift quoted, 161


    Tables--
      Adam style, 186
      Arcaded spandrils, illustrated, 179
      Bedfordshire types, 283
      Cambridge types, 283
      Collapsible form (Charles II.), 103
      Cross stretcher, =X= form, 103
      Cupid's bow underframing, 107;
        illustrated, 109
      Elizabethan bulbous-leg form, 60
      Essex types, 283
      Flap tables (Queen Anne), 89;
        (Georgian), illustrated, 183
      Gate-leg, 85-112
      Gothic trestle, gate-leg table, 89
      Hertfordshire types, 283
      Isle of Man table, 283
      Scalloped-edge tea-table, illustrated, 181
      Scalloped underframing, illustrated, 73
      Sixteenth-century style, 52
      Spandrils, arcaded, illustrated, 179
      Stretchers, splat form, 89;
        illustrated, 97
      Tea-table, Queen Anne style, 185
      Three-legged, 283
      Underframing, Cupid's bow, illustrated, 109
      Various local types, 283
      Yorkshire type, 89

    Tapers, how made by cottagers, 288

    Tavern chair, the, 249

    Tea-drinking becomes national, 170

    Tea-gardens, eighteenth-century, 249

    Tea-table, Queen Anne style, 185

    Three-legged tables, 283

    Transition from Jacobean to William and Mary styles, 207

    Trestle in gate-leg table, 89

    Triangular gate form, 86;
      illustrated, 87

    Tripod tables, 185

    Turning, various patterns in Jacobean leg, 89


    Union with Scotland, 161


    Varangian Guard introduce Byzantine furniture into Scandinavia, 37

    Veneer, in walnut, early eighteenth-century, 169

    Village cabinet-maker, originality of, 32


    Wales, Prince of, feathers in chair back, 227

    Walnut gate-leg tables, 103

    Walnut in general use, 207

    Walnut styles, early eighteenth-century, 169

    Walnut supplanted by mahogany, 207

    Warming-pan, the, 295

    Wardrobe, Lancashire type, 278

    Welsh carving, 272

    Welsh dressers, 133

    Wesley and the Methodist movement, 175

    Whitefield and the colliers, 175

    Wheel-back Windsor chairs, 257

    William and Mary dressers, 126

    William and Mary gate-leg tables, 104

    William and Mary period, finely turned work, 75

    William and Mary style, its development from Jacobean, 207

    Windsor chair, the, 243-263

    Windsor chair, the, Sheraton influence, 259

    Windsor chair, its survival, 260

    Windsor chairs, Chippendale style, 254

    Wood patterns used for firebacks, 300

    Woods employed in farmhouse furniture, 33

    Woods used in Windsor chairs, 249, 250

    Woods used in walnut marquetry, 169

    Women's petition against coffee, 170


    Yorkshire chairs, 203

    Yorkshire splat stretcher to tables, 96


UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, THE GRESHAM PRESS, WOKING AND LONDON.



VOLUMES FOR COLLECTORS

BY THE SAME AUTHOR


CHATS ON OLD FURNITURE

Companion volume to "Chats on Cottage and Farmhouse Furniture"

_Press Notices, First Edition_

"Mr. Hayden knows his subject intimately."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

"The hints to collectors are the best and clearest we have seen; so
that altogether this is a model book of its kind."--_Athenæum._

"A useful and instructive volume."--_Spectator._

"An abundance of illustrations completes a well-written and
well-constructed history."--_Daily News._

"Mr. Hayden's taste is sound and his knowledge thorough."--_Scotsman._

"A book of more than usual comprehensiveness and more than usual
merit."--_Vanity Fair._

"Mr. Hayden has worked at his subject on systematic lines, and has
made his book what it purports to be--a practical guide for the
collector."--_Saturday Review._


CHATS ON ENGLISH CHINA

_Press Notices, First Edition_

"A handsome handbook that the amateur in doubt will find useful,
and the china-lover will enjoy for its illustrations, and for the
author's obvious love and understanding of his subject."--_St.
James's Gazette._

"All lovers of china will find much entertainment in this
volume."--_Daily News._

"It gives in a few pithy chapters just what the beginner wants to
know about the principal varieties of English ware. We can warmly
commend the book to the china collector."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

"One of the best points about the book is the clear way in which the
characteristics of each factory are noted down separately, so that
the veriest tyro ought to be able to judge for himself if he has a
piece or pieces which would come under this heading, and the marks
are very accurately given."--_Queen._


CHATS ON ENGLISH EARTHENWARE

(Companion volume to "Chats on English China")

"Complementary to the useful companion volume, in this 'Chats'
Series, on English China which Mr. Hayden issued five years
ago."--_Times._

"Is a compendious account of our native English faïence, abundantly
illustrated and accurately written."--_Guardian._

"A thoroughly trustworthy working handbook."--_Truth._

"It is a mine of knowledge, gathered from all quarters, and the
outcome of personal experience and research, and it is written with
no little charm of style."--_Lady's Pictorial._

"Mr. Hayden knows and writes exactly what is needed to help the
amateur to become an intelligent collector, while his painstaking
care in verifying facts renders his work a stable book of
reference."--_Connoisseur._

"The volume has been written as a companion to Mr. Hayden's 'Chats
on English China' in the same series, and those who recall the
admirable character of that book will find this to be in no way
inferior."--_Nation._

"The illustrations are profuse and excellent, and the author and the
publishers must be commended for offering us so many reproductions of
typical specimens that have not appeared in any previous handbook.
The illustrations alone are worth the cost of the book."--_Manchester
Guardian._

"Mr. Hayden's book is filled to overflowing with beautiful and most
instructive and helpful illustrations, and altogether it is one that
will give immense pleasure to collectors, and much information to the
admiring but ignorant."--_Liverpool Courier._


CHATS ON OLD PRINTS

A Practical Guide to Collecting and Identifying Old Engravings.

"Mr. Hayden writes at once with enthusiasm and discrimination on his
theme."--_Daily Telegraph._

"Any one who, having an initial interest in matters of art, wants to
form sound and intelligent opinions about engravings, will find this
book the very thing for him."--_Literary World._

"These 'Chats' comprise a full and admirably lucid description of
every branch of the engraver's art, with copious and suggestive
illustrations."--_Morning Leader._





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