Sunday 7 August 2011

The surprise at Chateau de Martainville

This year we went for our holidays to Normandy, where we visited some historical and cultural sites among other things. One day we came along Chateau de Martainville, a late 15th century castle which houses the Musee des Tradition et Arts Normands. This renaissance style castle proved to be full of pleasant surprises. First, it contains a large amount of late medieval and early renaissance furniture. Second, the audioguide for the museum was also available in flawless Dutch. Third, you were allowed to take photographs in the museum (without flash). And last, the greatest surprise of all, one of the rooms contained an original strycsitten from the early 15th century! I did bring measuring tape with me, so I could take some approximate measurements of the strycsitten.

Chateau de Martainville in Martainville-Epreville

The early 15th century strycsitten in front of its appropriate place, the hearth. The pieces of paper on the strycsitten mention that you are not allowed to sit on them.

The strycsitten is of the French type (see the first blogpost on strycsittens for an explanation of the strycsitten types) and made of oak. Its approximate sizes are: 188 cm long, 47 cm deep (at armrest) / 40 cm deep (at seating) and 90 cm high. Seating height is 52 cm. The sides of the strycsitten are closed, and consist of a panel and frame set with two panels. The panels are linenfold  carved. The leg styles are 10 x 3.5 cm, the bottom rail is 10 cm as well and starts at 5 cm above ground.

Both sides of the strycsitten.

The front and the back of the strycsitten are differently constructed. The front is open, whereas the back has an additional horizontal rail at 8 cm above ground. Furthermore, only the front horizontal rail, which supports the seating boards, is supported by two 'triangles'. These triangles do not have dowels to fix them (like my own strycsitten). The bottom of the strycsitten shows some interesting details: there are three rails supporting the seating board, and the outermost rails are not positioned at the ends. In other words, all three small rails are fixed to the large horizontal rails. At the end, the support for the turning point for the backrest is attached to the middle style with two dowels. 
Thickness of the small horizontal rails is approximate 2 cm, as are the seating boards and the support triangles. Size of the triangle is 8 x 20 cm. The two seating boards are loose and do not have a groove and tongue joint.

The backside of the strycsitten.

 The triangle is not fixed with dowels; the horizontal rail with two dowels.
 The bottom of the strycsitten. At the end the support for the turning point is attached to the middle style. 
The support rail for the seating is attached to the horizontal rails.

The backrest is approximately 10 by 3.5 cm. The turning point of the backrest is an oak dowel. The support goes through the seating boards. See photo of the bottom of the strycsitten for the rest of the support. The armrests are rounded off at the ends.

The pieces of the backrest are attached to each other with two dowels.

A wooden dowel is used for the turning point. 
The support for the turning dowel goes through the seating boards.

 The backrest needs an angled support to rest against. Note the rounded off armrest.

 The seating boards are not equally wide.

Some more strycsitten photo's with measurements are given below. In a next post I will show you the other types of furniture in Chateau de Martainville.

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