- Place of origin:
England, Great Britain (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Credit Line:
Bought from Mr Thomas G. Nevill, Esq.
- Museum number:
2011 to K-1899
- Gallery location:
British Galleries, room 57b, case WS
This is part of a set of carved oak panelling that originally covered the walls of a room in the Abbey House, Waltham Abbey, Essex.
Abbey House was acquired by Sir Anthony Denny (1501-1549), after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, and finally demolished in 1770. The carvings were placed in a town house in Waltham Abbey, before being acquired by the V&A in 1899.
This frame is a very early example of 'Antique' or 'Romayne' (Roman) decoration, which derived from Italy and became widespread in England from about 1520.
Other panels from this room contain the portcullis and Tudor rose of Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) and the pomegranate, the emblem of Katherine of Aragon, whom he divorced in 1529. These emblems were potent symbols of Pre-Reformation England. They suggest that the panelling was installed before Sir Anthony Denny bought the house, since he was a loyal supporter of the King during the last years of his reign.
One panel on display in the British Galleries, 4 panels on loan to Epping Forest District Museum.
Panelling of oak, composed of 110 panels within slightly moulded framework. The panels are carved with profile busts within circular medallions, Gothic arches, heraldic devices, and other ornament; the Tudor rose and portcullis, and the pomegranate of Katharine of Aragon are repeated several times as well as the arms of Blackett (ar. a chevron sa. Between three mullets az.) and other charges not identified. This panelling probably formed part of the decoration of the abbey-house at Waltham Abbey, which was granted at the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII., on lease to Sir Anthony Denny. In the early part of the 17th century Edward Denny, grandson of Sir Anthony, Baron of Waltham and Earl of Norwich, is supposed to have used this panelling in his new house erected in the abbey grounds. This mansion was pulled down in 1770, and the carvings now in the Museum were placed in a house in the town. The panelling is in four portions representing the walls of a room, three portions having each an opening, one for a fireplace, another for a window and the third for a door.
Place of Origin
England, Great Britain (made)
Materials and Techniques
Height: 63.4 cm, Width: 19.5 cm, Depth: 1 cm
Object history note
Bought for £375 from Thomas G. Nevill, 15 Canonbury Park, London; purchased 'in situ' froma house in the Green Yard, Waltham Abbey. RFs 33293/1899.
Condition on acquisition: "The panelling has been restored. The carved wood mouldings round the fireplace are of the 18th century. Two of the original panels have been withdrawn, their place being taken by modern copies of two of the other panels."
Probably made for Robert Fuller (d. 1540), abbot of the Augustinian Abbey at Waltham, between 1526 and 1540, the year he surrendered the property to the King's Commissioners, following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1535. It is unlikely to have been made for Denny, who was not ennobled, (the family only gained their title in 17th century).
Carved panel in the Renaissance style. Probably made for Robert Fuller (died in 1540), prior at Waltham Abbey, Essex, 1500-1530
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
James Lees-Milne, Tudor Renaissance (1951)
Notes that all 110 panels (carved in solid) are different, while on the panelling at Abbot King's parlour (Thame Park) c1530 the designs are fretted out and applied to the panels, giving a more delicate effect. P38
Fred Roe, A History of Oak Furniture (London, 1920) , plate XXXVI
Herbert Cescinsky & Ernest Gribble: Early English Furniture & Woodwork. Vol. I. (London, 1922), pp.248-263
LONDON, Victoria & Albert Museum: The Panelled Rooms. 6. The Waltham Abbey Room (London, 1924). See pp. 23-4 for bibliography
Labels and date
The decoration in these panels includes popular Renaissance motifs. The helmeted heads are based on those on Roman coins. The symmetrical, scrolling, leafy forms are typical of Renaissance ornament. On the flat panel (18), gouged-out sections were filled with a mixture of chalk and green colouring. This was a new technique at the time. [27/03/2003]
Probably made for Robert Fuller (died in 1540), prior at Waltham Abbey, Essex
Woodwork; Wall coverings; Architectural fittings