English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)

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Lot 25
English School
circa 1600
Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)

Sold for £ 37,562 (US$ 50,068) inc. premium
English School, circa 1600
Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays
each extensively inscribed around the edge
ten of a set, oil on panel
12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The Collection of Spencer Stanhope family, Cannon Hall, near Barnsley until 1964 and thence by descent to the present owner


    The present ten roundels are an extremely rare example of such subject-matter from England at this date. Subjects otherwise included satirical verses, proverbs, Signs of the Zodiac, moralising stories such as Aesop's Fables, the twelve months of the year, fruits and flowers in their seasons and biblical quotations. Roundels of this type were used at banquets as a form of entertainment. Sets of typically eight or twelve, occasionally twenty-four roundels would be arranged before each diner toward the end of a feast and placed with the decorated side facing down. Guests would then use the plain side as a trencher to eat such delicacies as cheese, sweetmeats, marzipan or sugar plums. After feasting, once Grace had been said, guests would turn over the roundels to reveal painted images and short verses which could then be sung or recited in turn, probably to the accompaniment of a lute. The inscriptions on the present trenchers are as follows:

    A. **renes. Beutye. Ritches. for this Goulden Ball, what shoulde sr Paris here haue donne speake any of you al. H**
    B. Whether would you put on this famose cuckols cap Or cutt your fayre wifes throte to cure your foule mishap. good Mr 20 in ye 100
    C. Her love is woonded by her sonne she wepes but cannot say whether she should reueng or no what would you doe I praye. M**
    D. Did old Tyresias iu* aright that female was and male. Or was there error in his doome or falsehood in his tale. Lordes and Ladies.
    E. She weares a garland for his sake and to this one she gives. I praye resolue me which of these moste in hi* fauour liues. Punie Academick.
    F. Thay wooe him boath thone poore and fayre rich foule and owld theother. Aduise him which to chuse good. S he is a yonger brother as some of us are
    G. Whether of thes first shoulde he save His flock from the wolfe of his wife from a knave
    H. She loves and is dispisde this beutye proudes a scornefull elf; yet de**y *ou* *ne must be *ro**d who shoulde it be him self. My frende or Muttonmonger
    I. He that is with silence stroke or he that hathe so wisely spoke How should she doe the truth to proue which of thes is most in love. Mother of ye Maydes
    J. Lousye pouerty and health together Or riches with rottonnes chuse you whether Casnerd Captaine or *e*er seruingman

    Muttonmonger, for example, is a now obsolete term for a promiscuous man or philanderer, derived from mutton being a term for a prostitute. Hence one can easily imagine the raucous fun had by the diners, by this stage a bit worse for wear after a few drinks, as they read out these verses.

    References to roundels occur in the 16th and early 17th century inventories: in Northward Ho, published by Webster and Dekker in 1607, a character says 'I'll have you make twelve posies for a dozen cheese trenchers.' Whilst the majority of roundels have their lettering central within the borders, a few are painted with central pictures and the text referring to the picture is incorporated in, or used to form the outer border (see E. H. Pinto, Treen and Other Wooden Bygones, London, 1969, pl. 77, p. 80; and J. Levi and R. Young, Treen for the Table, London, 1998, pp. 135 - 137).
Contacts
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
English School, circa 1600 Ten trenchers, or roundels or roundelays 12.6cm (4 15/16in). diameter (10)
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