Sunday 9 January 2022

Livery cupboard

So the s-scroll from the last post belongs to the top rail for a livery cupboard. In Tudor times (16th century), in England, livery cupboards were used for the storage and distribution of food (livery) and probably the equipment for doling it out. The more extravagant pieces were status symbols, and possibly also used to display the best silver.

The livery cupboard I am making is based on a high-end example and will be extensively carved to reflect this. It will have tudor roses, lion posts and cockatrices/basilisks as per the original.

Livery cupboards from the earlier part of this period often have lions or mythological creatures as the corner posts and that is the case with this one. Later examples tended towards simpler turned posts.

The lion posts here have been taken to an almost finished stage. They are still a bit green and I will finish them completely once they have dried. I haven't finished the feet as I may need to adjust them when I assemble the cupboard; they need to line up with the corner of the middle shelf, all will become clear later.

The s-scroll rail which will go above the lion and shield posts, has scrolls over and beyond any I have carved before; they extend and interweave. Here is the whole rail, with the ground on most of it still to remove.

The middle shelf has a drawer below it, and what a drawer! It will have a running cockatrice design. Cockatrices were a mythological creature popular in Tudor times. A mix of cockerel, lion and reptile, you wouldn't want to bump into one on a dark night.


The side rails adjacent to the s-scroll rails and the drawer front are continuations of these designs, but there are lots of other unusual carvings, which make up the rest of this piece, to come.

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