Bram and I have been asked to make a late medieval hanging cupboard for Castle Muiderslot (Muiden, the Netherlands). This year (2016), one of the castle rooms - the red chamber or 'kemenade' - is being refurbished and redecorated in the style of living quarters for nobility around 1450. The room has already been painted by the Kennemer Kunstgilde. One of the projected items for the new room is a hanging cupboard, known in medieval Dutch as a scapprolken or scapredekijn.
The design for the red room, made by Marius Bruijn of the Kennemer Kunstgilde.
The red room as redecorated by the Kennemer Kunstgilde with the newly painted mantlepiece and wall strips.
The hanging cupboards are typically found in the West-Rhine area and the counties that were influenced by them, such as the Netherlands. These cupboards (Hängeschränkchen in German) were used to show and store valuable items, and therefore found in the private rooms (such as the kemenade) or .... the kitchen. The cupboards in the private rooms were heavily decorated with openwork tracery, which allowed the expensive items (glass, silverware) to be seen. The kitchen cupboard, on the other hand, was not as decorated and e.g. used to store sugar cones and spices. Most of the surviving examples of the hanging cupboard are beautifully decorated; as far as I know only one relatively simple - with only linenfold panels - hanging cupboard exists in Museum Gruuthuuse in Bruges (Belgium). Below some images of the hanging cupboards are shown.
A simple hanging cupboard in the kitchen. On the second shelve you can see a sugar cone. Detail of 'The miracle of the broken sieve' by Jan van Conincksloo (1552). Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium.
Left: Another simple hanging cupboard in the kitchen. Illumination from the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves (dated 1440; Ms. M. 917 folio 151, Morgan Library, New York, USA). Right: Detail from a page on bell-founders guild with a simple hanging cupboard (the Balthasar Behem Codex, a guild book from Krakow, Poland in 1505).
Left: A scapprolken from the Gruuthuuse Museum, Bruges, Belgium. It is made from oak and has a height of 80 cm, a width of 70 cm and a depth of 27 cm. Image scanned from 'Thuis in de late middeleeuwen - het Nederlands burgerinterieur 1400-1535'. Right: A luxury hanging cupboard with silver and goldware and a paternoster. Image from the Institut für Realienkunde des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit.
Two Hängeschränkchen that used to be in the Schlossmuseum in Berlin, Germany but were lost during the second world war. Second part of the 15th century. Left: Height 80 cm, width 59 cm and depth 17 cm. Right: Height 68 cm, width 57 cm and depth 18 cm. Images scanned from O. von Falke, Deutsche Möbel des Mittelalters und der Renaissance.
Two Hängeschränkchen made of oak of the late 15th century from the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Cologne, Germany. Left: Height 68 cm, width 47 cm and depth 14 cm. Right: Height 73 cm, width 54 cm and depth 16.5 cm. Images scanned from Möbel - Gotik bis Jugendstil (museum catalogue, volume 14) by Edla Colsman and Huusraet - het stedelijk woonhuis in de Bourgondische tijd by B. Dubbe.
A late 15th century oak hanging cupboard of which a (19th century?) replica appeared in an auction (Aguttes auction house, France) and the original in an antique shop (Marham Church Antiques, UK, images shown here). Height 80 cm, width 67 cm and depth 21 cm. Both doors have two sections of pierced floral decoration and heraldic devices divided by a single carved buttress with a lion and shield. The sides consist of carved linenfold panels. The difference between the replica and the original are the missing carvings on the heraldic shield.