A fine and rare mid-17th century oak and elm boarded glass case, English, circa 1640-60
Lot 278
A fine and rare mid-17th century oak and elm boarded glass case, English, circa 1640-60
Sold for £20,000 (US$ 33,679) inc. premium
Lot Details
A fine and rare mid-17th century oak and elm boarded glass case, English, circa 1640-60
The simple cornice with incised curves forming geometric decoration highlighted with a cross-headed punch, above a pair of chain-carved arches centred by a delicate stylized tulip, the spandrels each carved with pairs of pointed-leaves, the pillars carved with alternating single daisies and linked pairs of tulips, headed by Ionic capitals, the single middle-shelf with a bicuspid shaped apron decorated with linear gauge-carving above simple incised-carved pairs of tulip flowers amongst conforming incised curves and punched crosses, moulded base rail, 67cm wide x 21cm deep x 64cm high, (26in wide x 8in deep x 25in high)


  • Victor Chinnery, Oak Furniture: The British Tradition, (1993) illustrates several examples of boarded glass cases, pp. 339-341. The author notes that 'Cheap and coarsely-made drinking glasses were fairly plentiful even in middle class homes in the sixteenth century and seventeenth centuries, but owing to their fragile nature some special system of storing them was a necessity. The answer was a lightly-built case of shelves, known as a glass case, glass perch of glass cupboard which first made an appearance toward the end of the sixteenth century. These were sometimes provided with doors in the same manner as a food cupboard, but the usual seventeenth century version has open shelves'.

    An example in St. Fagans National History Museum, Wales, ibid., p. 340, figure 3:328, is of highly comparable form to this lot. The open-shelf apron in particularly is of similar shape, but also decorated with pairs of upturned tulips. It could be suggested that both cupboards derive from the same workshop, and almost certainly from the same region. The majority of glass cupboards appear to follow the same basic design with a twin arched frieze, with or without a central support, over a single-shelf, flanked by pillars. They are considered the forerunner to the delft and dresser rack.

    Illustrated and discussed in article by Victor Chinnery, Antique Collecting The Journal of the Antique Collectors' Club, volume 33, number 4, September 1998, p.18. Described as 'An oak glass cupboard hung on the wall to keep valuable drinking glasses out of harms way'.
  1. David Houlston
    Specialist - Oak Furniture
    Banbury Road
    Oxford, OX5 1JH
    United Kingdom
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