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  • Place of origin:

    France (possibly Burgundy, made)

  • Date:

    1475-1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    walnut, dovetailed and carved

  • Credit Line:

    Given by J.H. Fitzhenry

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On display at the Elizabethan House Museum, Great Yarmouth

On loan to National Trust Elizabethan House Museum.

Physical description

Chest of through-dovetailed construction (x6) front and back (to hold ends on), with a single iron corner bracket at each corner over possibly petrified textile. A solid walnut front with four parchmain 'panels', the design cut to accommodate the original iron lock; with a wrought iron handle at each end, fastened over a quatrefoil washer with split rings.
There is no moulding carved along the bottom edge of the 'panel' motif. Setting out marks visible on carved front. The lower (sapwood) edge of the chest with considerable worm damage that has not spread to the bottom.
Fitted at left end with an oak lidded till, the lid with iron hasp (lacking its exterior lock), and a shelf with moulded front edge running between the till front and the right end of the chest.
The lid on 3 original strap hinges fastened with nails; with a front plank (replaced?) of oak, and oak battens nailed up at each end. The walnut plank very worm-eaten but apparently original, while the absence of nails through hinge holes where the hinge extends over the front oak plank suggests that this is a replacement.
The bottom consisting of 2 planks of walnut (butt-jointed and doweled, showing shrinkage) nailed up all round and also pegged, with uneven wear (at most 1.5mm) showing where the chest stood originally on a plinth stand. 3 dowel holes (2 with broken dowels) in the leading edge of the bottom showing where the chest was doweled into its stand. The bottom now supported beneath with added short oak batten (earlier) and long softwood batten (later) nailed over the joint between the bottom planks
The back formed by a solid walnut plank, with infill patch on the backs surface.

Place of Origin

France (possibly Burgundy, made)


1475-1500 (made)


Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

walnut, dovetailed and carved

Marks and inscriptions

The remains of an adhestive label at the left hand end, front corner


Height: 57 cm, Width: 136.2 cm, Depth: 57 cm

Object history note

The woodwork department declined the offer from J.H. Fitzhenry of 25 Queen Anne's Gate, London, of this chest Circ.62-1909 (and another chest Circ.61-1909), which 'though genuine examples are of types adequately represented in the collections and... have no special feature of interest...' It was therefore proposed and accepted that they form part of the Circulation department.

On loan to Elizabethan House, Great Yarmouth from 1952

Circ.61-1909 was deaccessioned (Board of Survey 35/6652) and given to Edinburgh Museum. It was described as Coffer of oak, the front has panels of Gothic tracery and the ends of linen ornament. French 15th century. LDH: 4' 3" x 2' 1" x 2' 41/2"

Historical context note

Comparable chests

V&A 740-1908
Christies London (9/11/2006) lot 14, devotailed walnut and elm chest with parchmin 'panels' (without handles), attrib. Burgundy 1450-1500; the lock probably associated and the lid probably re-used and turned, 61 x 189.5 x 68 [estim. £10,000 to 15,000]

I. Dartois, et al.., The Hôtel-Dieu at Beaune (Paris, 2005)
B. Francois, 'Le Mobilier de l'Hôtel Dieu (Beaune)', Dossier de l'art, July 1998, n.49

Descriptive line

Walnut, dovetailed; France 1450-1500


Walnut; Wrought iron




Renaissance (French); Furniture


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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