Featured Elizabethan C16 court cupboard?

Discussion in 'Furniture' started by Wentworth, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. Wentworth

    Wentworth Member

    Hello, this court cupboard was purchased from a private school in the north 20 years ago, as an 16th century court cupboard, for £3500. It has now been handed down to me and I am trying to identify it. I have been looking into court cupboards and wonder if it is really that old or if it is a later (Victorian) copy? Sorry I do not have any better photos but it is in storage at the moment. Thank you!

    3476B4B5-80FF-4EAE-9F91-367EDA5355A6.jpeg D5E9BD53-4039-4B6E-A054-A6985A76D736.jpeg BE9B9F2A-049F-4947-89A8-DA19DE9A2831.jpeg 113EB622-ED96-413C-80DE-9F2779A404BB.jpeg

    Attached Files:

  2. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Later copy.
    KikoBlueEyes likes this.
  3. Fid

    Fid Well-Known Member

    try to find out as much as possible about the school; building part of an abbey ?; when first opened ? catholic ? etc.
    KikoBlueEyes likes this.
  4. Wentworth

    Wentworth Member

    How much later would you say?
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  5. Wentworth

    Wentworth Member

    Will do!
    KikoBlueEyes likes this.
  6. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Guesses late 19th, it's probably antique just not period and the style isn't Elizabethan (16th century), it's Jacobean (17th century).
    patd8643, KikoBlueEyes and Wentworth like this.
  7. Wentworth

    Wentworth Member

    Ah okay interesting, thanks! And what about the piece suggests it is 19th century construction rather than 17th? Is it the type of carving/ colour etc?
    KikoBlueEyes likes this.
  8. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    sounds like both the buyer and seller didn't do their homework....

    3500 pounds..........in 2001....for damaged brown furniture.......seems like I'd want an expert....like James to look it over first !!

    Just sayin.......;)
  9. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    If you notice the sides on either end that is damaged, they are a separate piece/board/assembly that attaches to the edge of the front stiles. In a period piece, it's not like that at all.
  10. Wentworth

    Wentworth Member

    Cheers thanks for your help! If only the Victorians hadn’t copied everything..
  11. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    LOL, Yes, I hear you, they were VERY fond of the earlier styles and, they had the time and resources for that itch to be scratched by manufacturers in that era. A LOT of it is still floating around on both sides of the pond.
  12. blooey

    blooey Well-Known Member

    I'm gonna say it might be an oldie, not a Victorian piece, looks like lots of repairs have been done over the years probably accounting for the variation in construction. Just an opinion.
  13. ritzyvintage

    ritzyvintage Well-Known Member

    It was also fashionable during the Victorian period, to break-up certain items of "old" furniture and marry pieces to make another piece. I'm of the mind that an entire middle section of the dresser is missing. I am certainly no expert, but some of the carving on your dresser looks machine-crafted, as it is very precise, exact and repetitive. Also, there is no age-related patina upon the dresser which one would expect for a piece dating back over 300 years. I may get my tongue bitten off here, but I doubt it has a value of £3,500 or even half of that amount. It is however a stylish piece in its own way. Where are its door & draw handles, too???
  14. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    A couple of period English court cupboards

    Elizabethan, late 16th century


    And another/late 16th century

    Dated 1667, your style of cupboard

    unnamed (1).jpg

    And another/ late 17th century
  15. Wentworth

    Wentworth Member

    One thing I found surprising was the cupboard has a rough quality that I didn’t associate with Victorian copies. This would make sense if parts of the cupboard are older and the Victorians then messed around with it and added bits. However, I would then imagine they would put it together again a bit neater?

    Did the Victorians always use their ‘modern’ tools like circular saws, in constructing their copies. Or did they sometimes go the extra mile and create copies using the traditional techniques of the period they were copying?

    I would be really interested in learning more about how to identify pieces and their period (from things patination, construction, carving patterns etc). Are there any good books that are thorough enough for antique collectors or dealers? (I am not one but would love to learn this properly)

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!! :happy:
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  16. Wentworth

    Wentworth Member

    Thank you for those images. Yes they all have a much deeper/ richer patination. How much of this is due to the types of wax or varnish that are sometimes applied, or simply the oak ageing?

    I had noticed the court cupboard did not have such a deep colour but I thought this was maybe down to a lack of polishing..
    KikoBlueEyes likes this.
  17. ritzyvintage

    ritzyvintage Well-Known Member

    I would always recommend to view a piece in situ and not to assess its age etc., from photos alone. Study the joints of the wood such as dovetails for example and any nail or screw fixture & fixings as these can also help to age a piece. Any draws (if present) should show signs of long-term use. Step back and look at the proportions of a piece, and think about te item as a whole: have the legs been shortened or added perhaps? have tiny drill-holes been added to pretend to be woodworm, or have any previous holes been filled? Many round tables may have once been square and vice versa. Older legs may have been added at a later date, or more recent mouldings & carvings could also look out of place.
    Wentworth likes this.
  18. Wentworth

    Wentworth Member

    Here’s a kitchen dresser I came across whilst looking for other plain oak examples. It’s a Welsh barn find, described as having “original carving” and being a “transitional piece circa 1700 so one of the first dressers as we know them a move on from the style of court cupboards tridarns and fidarns”.

    I wasn’t too convinced, and it could be complete nonsense. It has a similar plain oak finish that doesn’t seem to have had any varnishing applied. Is this indicative of something c19?


    Attached Files:

    ritzyvintage likes this.
  19. Wentworth

    Wentworth Member

    Yes definitely a conclusion I have now come to. Lots of food for thought here thanks! I actually have a Georgian oval table that would have been rectangular but was crudely cut down by a Victorian I think.
    ritzyvintage likes this.
  20. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

    It needs looking at properly by someone over here who knows English furniture. It's had a hard life, the patina has been shot to hell by poor environment.
    ritzyvintage likes this.
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