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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Books on Medieval Furniture

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  • Tim Bray
    ... Yes, I have it. It consists of a catalogue of the V&A collection. A lot of it is architectural woodwork from various churches. ( The strength of the
    Message 1 of 26 , Oct 7, 2004
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      >Has anyone read English Medieval Furniture and Woodwork, by Charles
      >Tracy?

      Yes, I have it.

      It consists of a catalogue of the V&A collection. A lot of it is
      architectural woodwork from various churches. ("The strength of the
      collection undoubtedly lies in the fragments of ecclesiastical
      woodwork.") Very little domestic furniture ("Understandably, complete
      specimens of medieval domestic furniture are few."), though there is a good
      selection of chests, including clamped-front, boarded, and panelled
      types. Probably the coolest thing in the book is a 14th c. desk/book
      cupboard. There are also a couple of livery cupboards, one framed chair,
      a side- table or buffet, a trestle table and matching bench, a few benches
      and stools, and some bed-posts; all from the 16th c. The entire domestic
      furniture section consists of 32 pages.

      Most entries are illustrated with one good B&W photograph; a few have
      additional photos of details, and there are also photos of objects not in
      the collection to illustrate the author's interpretations as to dating or
      provenance. Text descriptions are usually brief, except for a few special
      objects. One good thing is that the dimensions are given for each object.,
      though it would have been nice to have more details (lumber sections, for
      example - as in the wonderful Johnston book on 13th c. chests).

      A really great resource if you are interested in Gothic carving; nearly all
      the objects illustrated are carved, many quite magnificent.

      The ten-page Introduction discusses the collection and its context; not
      much in there of interest to the re-creator. There is some helpful
      information in the object descriptions, but not a lot.

      I have difficulty recommending this book. On the one hand, it is
      attractive for the hundreds of clear B&W photos and its devotion to the
      late medieval period. On the other, it is very expensive and 85% of it is
      architectural material.

      If you already have Chinnery and Windish-Graetz, this book is probably
      unnecessary, unless you are specifically interested in carving. If you are
      building a library of resources for medieval woodwork, this book certainly
      belongs there. If you are looking for information to help you build
      authentic reproductions, this book will help some but will also frustrate
      you. It doesn't suck, but it's not as good as one could hope for (given
      its title).

      Hope that helps. If you want more information, feel free to ask.

      Cheers,
      Colin




      Albion Works
      Furniture and Accessories
      For the Medievalist!
      http://www.albionworks.net
      http://www.albionworks.com
    • maf@gleichen.ca
      Not sure about that one but I reciently picked up English Furniture, From the Middle ages to Modern Times, by Margaret Macdonald it s interesting, very
      Message 2 of 26 , Oct 7, 2004
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        Not sure about that one but I reciently picked up 'English Furniture, From
        the Middle ages to Modern Times, by Margaret Macdonald'

        it's interesting, very general with a few very interesting pictures, most of
        which I've seen in other books. She assumes that since only very fancy
        furniture servived that poor people didn't have any furniture they just sat
        and slept on the floor.

        Mark/ Cered

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Bill McNutt" <mcnutt@...>
        To: <medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 9:51 AM
        Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Books on Medieval Furniture


        >
        > Has anyone read English Medieval Furniture and Woodwork, by Charles
        > Tracy?
        >
        > I'm considering picking it up, but I can't find it for less than the
        > cost of six board feet of spalted maple.
        >
        > And if it sucks, I rather get the maple.
        >
        > Will
        >
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        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
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