Tuesday, May 19, 2009

French and English gothic.

Gothic architecture involved radical innovations such as flying buttresses, pointed arches, and elaborate tracery in a general shift from a rounded horizontal orientation to that of a more vertical one. Gothic cathedrals were expressions of a transitory opulence. In stark contrast the the furniture of that time period was rather simple. For the most part the interiors of the churches and the homes of the patrons utilized simple functional oak furniture that was decorated with tapestries and metalwork. The furniture of the 1400's constituted a shift in tastes that favored designs incorporating the pointed arch as well as the use of tracery and arches carved into the panels of chairs tables and chests. The new cathedrals were expressions of affluence, but for their interiors the rich patrons of the church appear to have enjoyed simple, functional oak furniture enriched with tapestries and metalwork. The decorative elements of the Gothic, particularly the pointed arch, were not seen in furniture ornament until about 1400. Then, for more than a century, tracery and arches were carved on the panels of chairs, on chests, and on tables of every size.

In the 15th century the oversized armoire was introduced. These armoires were decorated with the same carved arches columns and foliate patterns as before but the designs were based on the hanging textiles that decorated the homes and gothic cathedrals of that time period. These "linenfold" motifs originated in the Flemish regions and later migrated to England France and Germany where they remained prevalent until around the sixteenth century and often resurfaced in subsequent Gothic revival movements.

here is a link to an interesting account of "Master" William McNaughton's recreation of a 16th century linenfold panel: http://tech.cls.utk.edu/wood/projects/linenfold/Chest.html

1 comment:

Squerl said...

Robert- that chair is an aristocrats toilet.The seat lifts up and the chamber pot is stored inside. Squerl