The Oxford English Dictionary gives the date for the first use of the word wall panelling and oak panelling 'wainscot' as 1352, and the introduction of such panelling undoubtedly made rooms more comfortable for daily life. William Harrison in his oftquoted The Description of England, written in 1577, noted that rooms which were lined or 'sealed' with oak wainscot were 'made warme and more close than otherwise they would be.
Drop-handle & Escutcheon—Sutton- Courmey
Early wainscoting was firmly established in the early thirteenth century and although none survives from that date, examples have come down to us from the late Middle Ages, and by the early sixteenth century the carver's skill had developed to a high degree. The best-known pattern, as I have noted in Chapter 1, was the linenfold, the earliest form of which comprised a single rib dividing the ornament into two folds. Alternative forms of panelling were those in which a narrow board was grooved into thick upright posts and this was often used in screens to form tall narrow panels. It was necessary to use seasoned oak, mortised and tenoned into a frame and pinned with oak pins. Shakespeare referred to the importance of avoiding unseasoned wood, which would warp, in As You Like It (III, 757): 'This fellow will but join you together as they join wainscot; Then one of you will prove a shrunk panel and like green timber, warp, warp.
The wall panelling and oak panelling panels at Paycockes, Great Coggeshall, Essex, have close-set ribs in which the linenfold ribbing is 'stopped' at top and bottom by a semicircle across all the hollows or in a variant, across each separate hollow. 'Wavy woodwork' (lignum undulatum) was the term used to describe this form of ribbed boards, 'linenfold' being a nineteenth-century word, with 'parchemin' - applied to panelling in which the rib branches to the four corners being of even more recent usage. The 'sealing of drapery panell' was quoted at 21d a yard for the work at Westminster Palace in 1532, along with pleyne sealing' and 'creste panell' at 12d and 19d a yard respectively."
The many Fleming wall panelling and oak panelling craftsmen in England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries hastened on the normally slow processes of decorative change and growing interest in classical ornament. Henry VII also encouraged Florentine artists to come to London to work on the chapel that bears his name in Westminster Abbey. The apartments at Hampton Court, started by Cardinal Wolsey and completed for the king in the 1530s, continued to show this trend. Both Wolsey and his imperious master, Henry VIII, were responsible for bringing Italian artists to England to work for them, but none was of the calibre of Leonardo da Vinci, Cellini or Primaticcio, all of whom were invited to France by Francois 1ef. Craftsmen such as the king's master carpenter, John Nedeham, and his successor from 1532, William Clement, were trained in a late-Gothic style and needed to work hard to update and blend their skills with those of German, French and Italian origin.
Carved wall panelling oak panelling pine panelled room removed from
5 St. George street, Westminster (1750-1760)
The walls of the Wolsey apartments' at Hampton Court were framed and panelled by joiners using oak supplied by Hanseatic merchants in London. This was overlaid with a profusion of mouldings, cornices and carved embellishments. Taken along with the new great hall (1532-4), the remodelling of the chapel interior (1535-6) and the new lodgings for the king and queen (1534-7), they presented large areas for the work of skilled craftsmen." These men were keen, if their masters were, to absorb the new ideas of the Italian Renaissance artists and to build in the 'antique' as well as they could.
A splendid example of this duality of early interest in the Renaissance is found in the panelling of the Abbot's Parlour at Thame Park, Oxfordshire. Built on the site of a Cistercian Abbey, the present house incorporates work of many dates including that done for Abbot Robert King between 1530 and 1539. The parlour is lined with linenfold panelling and has an internal porch. A deep frieze is carved with a lavish filigree pattern of scrolls set in small panels, each one being separated by heads in medallions, or alternately of mermaids and urns framing shields. The frieze was originally coloured and gilded and was obviously done by a competent carver. The name of Richard Rydge, who worked on the great hall of Hampton Court, has been suggested but there is no precise evidence of his involvement.
Medallion wall panelling and oak panelling heads and carved cartouches supported by amorini, grotesques, candelabra and various scrollings appear in many panels of the Tudor period. This was described by contemporaries as 'Romayne work' and is found, for example, in the hall of Magdalen College, Oxford, on the wall panelling and oak panelling screens at King's College Chapel, Cambridge, at Carlisle Cathedral, Langleys, Essex, at Thame, Oxfordshire and in the dining-room alcove at Haddon Hall, Derbyshire.
In the style of James Gibbs (about 1730)
Oak panelling wall panelling, c. 1530, from a house near Waltham Abbey, Hertfordshire, can be found in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The museum houses the Inlaid Room from Sizergh Castle in Cumbria, dated to 1575-85. The wall panelling and oak panelling wainscoting rises up to the plaster frieze below the ceiling, having bays formed by Ionic pilasters in the lower and the upper section. The last bay has two round-headed arches enclosing lesser arches with a circle above them, an almost Venetian evocation of the windows of the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi in Venice, begun by Codussi, c. 1502. There is no knowledge that Alice Boynton, who commissioned the wall panelling and oak panelling, ever went to Venice, but the foreign inspiration is strong, although the use of holly, bog oak and cherry for the inlays is essentially English. So, too, was the occasional deviation from the traditional use of wall panelling and oak panelling : a parlour in Elizabethan Chatsworth, now long gone, was described in the inventory as 'fayre waynscotted with white wood', which may have been a type of deal. The panels in the great chamber of Gilling Castle, Yorkshire, have lozengeshaped centres and angular knot-work. They were purchased and taken to America in 1929 by the late Randolph Hearst, but fortunately returned to Gilling in 1952. They stand again beneath the great painted frieze with its arms of Yorkshire families (described below).
Wall panelling oak panelling fitted wall cupboard or buffet of carved pine (about 1700)
Plaster drop of flowers and fruit early Georgian period
Wall panelling oak panelling early Georgian swag with husk drops