Times & Places

European Furniture and Woodwork (15th and 16th century)

Gothic furniture of the 15th and early 16th century was usually made of oak. Case pieces, morticed and tenoned like the paneled wall, often appeared to be extensions of it. Chief among several popular designs was the linen-fold pattern, used for wall boarding, on the backs of settles, high back armchairs, and the sides of chests and cupboards. Chests served as closets. Stools and benches were the most common forms of seat furniture.

During the 16th century, walnut gradually replaced oak for finer furniture, since it was less apt to splinter and could be carved more easily. It also looked better, taking a rich polish like a patinaed bronze. Architectural in form, Renaissance furniture relied on relief ornamentation contained within a rectangular outline. Many pieces of furniture could be disassembled; chairs folded up for east transport by cart to the owner’s second or third estate. There he would reside for several weeks, collecting rents, before moving to another property.

Excerpt from

Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1985), 154.