EARLY tudor interiors c. 1485-1558

  • History of Wall Panelling in Interior Design Periods


    Early Tudor Interiors c.1485-1558

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    in hall and parlour, were as fixed as the freehold; nothing was moveable save joynt-stools, the black jacks, silver tankards and bowls; and though many things fell out between the cup and the lip, when happy (:nappy) ale, March beer, metheglin, malmesey, and old sherry got the ascendant among the blew-coats and badges they sung Old Symon and Cheviot Chase, and danc'd Brave Arthur, and were able to draw a bow that made the proud Monsieur tremble at the whizze of the grey-goose-feather. It was then ancient hospitality was kept up in town and country, by which the tenants were enabled to pay their landlords at punctual day; the poor were relieved bountifully, and charity was as warm as the kitchen, where the fire was perpetual.

    The sixteenth century witnessed perhaps the greatest change in our social history before the Industrial Revolution, and in the interval England produced a succession of craftsmen who, sometimes inspired by foreign example, pro­gressed from style to style in the improvement of Tudor interiors with a competent and beautiful technique leaving to the succeeding generations a high standard of skilled workmanship.

    The new generation was athirst for information-the young apprentice eager to learn all he could so that he might become a master in a world that promised so much scope to the individual. Even the wealthiest families did not desire sons to idle at home; everyone was expected to make his way in this newly fund World of freedom. Frequently the younger sons of squires and merchants were apprenticed to some trade or craft so that in a very few years they were able to start on a career of their own. The Englishman's love of the countryside has always been distinctive and, whatever his profession, he has ultimately desired to settle in the country. It was this desire that led to the establishment of so many beautiful country houses with magnificent Tudor Interiors (so much admired in the 21st Century) scattered all over England. Each man as able and made his way in trade or profession sought to end his days and spend his accumulated wealth in his home of his own where his eldest son might live after him and establish his family in suitable surroundings.

    There is no period in architecture when this country followed its local indi­vidual themes with such entirely satisfactory results as that of the early Tudors in their design of Tudor Interiors. The charming grace of the timbered house with the internal Oak Panelling on the walls still makes its very definite appeal, whilst the brick and stone houses with their mullioned windows and leaded panes and wall paneling have withstood the hand of time more effectively than the more ornate Italianate styles of a later date. Rarely was the small house devoid of character, for every man was something of a craftsman, though he could probably neither read nor write. Travelling craftsmen toured the countryside adorning the insides as well as the outsides of newly built homes, or those, which were being brought `up to date.' Hence we find mural decorations, pargetting and plaster­work wall panelling and wainscot obviously by the same hand in districts some considerable distance from each other, as well as the more obvious district covered in a comfortable radius from a town or city.

    As the printed book became more popular wood-cuts and engravings which showed both architectural and classic detail of Tudor Interiors helped those craftsmen in the more remote parts of the country to follow the prevalent styles, in as much they were adaptable to the local stone and wood. We therefore find similar general Tudor Interiors designs used throughout the countryside at approximately the same date.

    The merchant and the yeoman farmer with money to spare had their rooms Panelled and made as comfortable as possible, and vast sums were sometimes expended on the fine Oak Panelling and furnishings and wainscot and of beds. These were hung with curtains to keep out any stray draughts and canopied above to protect the sleeper from the dust that might fall from the exposed rafters. Furnishings were still, in comparison with our present ideas, very sparse, and the acquisition of a fine four-poster bed was an event of some importance.

    The chest, table, settle, joynt-stools and bench were the main furnishings with the Oak wall Panelling in the living room, and any or all of these might be decorated to be a match with linen fold wall panelling and romayne and wainscot panelling work.

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