Monday, 16 January 2012

Koln for medieval furniture

Is there more medieval furniture in Cologne? Yes, there is! So the pictorial story of the medieval furniture continues from the previous two posts  ... and ends here with two early renaissance pieces of furniture from Italy.

This payment/administrative work table originates from the lower Rhine area and dates around 1500. The table is supposed to come from the Cloister Kamp near Moers, Germany. This type of medieval furniture evolved in the late middle ages as a combination of a chest and a table, and was used for money storage and payment counter. The table-top is made of two layers which are movable. When opened, they reveal a small removable chest with eight drawers. The front of the table has a  panel-door with an iron lock. The table is made of oak and measures 86 x 118 x 64.5 cm.

 The front of the table shows two locks. The upper large one is for the sliding table top, and the lower small one for the carved panel-door.

 The top of the table is reinforced by iron bands.

This small rectangular cupboard is made from oak and originates from the Rhine area around Julich and Aldenhoven. The cupboard has two doors with iron hinges and simple locking systems for a  padlock. On the top of the cupboard is a hole, now covered with an iron plate, suggesting that once a turnable lectern used to be here. The cupboard dates from around 1500 and measures 119 x 81 x 61 cm.

The panels of the top and bottom of the cupboard are differently decorated. the upper show the X-motiv, 
while the lower panels are carved  linenfold.

This large two-doored armoire dates from the first half of the 16th century and is made from oak. The panels are decorated in linenfold. The lock of the armoire is behind the doors, only a small keyhole can be seen. This type of decorated armoire was primarily made in Flanders during the 15th century, but continued to be popular in the 16th century.  Sizes of the armoire are 170 x 185 x 62 cm.

This small armoire dates from 1548 and originated from Dortmund, Germany. The construction of the armoire is old-fashioned for this date, however the 'crone' of the armoire has a more up-to-date style. All parts were made from the same oak tree, and dendrochronological testing also dates the armoire from around 1545. The armoire measures 157 x 74 x 50,5 cm.

The upper door has a carved relief of two angels wearing long dresses, in which also the date 1548 is carved.. 
Left and right of the door are two carved names of the former owners 'Beleke' and 'Berswort'. The crone is carved with a medallion of Maria and child, flanked by two medaillions with heraldic arms.

This Italian chest or cassone dates from 1495 and originates from Florence. The style of the chest is renaissance. The body of the chest is made of poplar and the carved sides are of walnut. The cassone is decorated with geometric intarsia made from maple, ebony and black-painted wood from a fruit tree. Some parts of the chest are veneered with walnut. Also the inside of the chest is decorated with intarsia. The sizes if the chest are 88.5 x 195 x 71 cm.

The side of the cassone with the walnut carving.
This chair has escaped the catalogue of the MAKK - I could not find it in the book and have only my own notes. It is an sgabello from northern Italy, dating from the first half of the 16th century. It is made from walnut. The sizes are unknown to me, but a similar sgabello, which is described in the catalogue measures 105 x 31 x 42 cm with a seating height of 56 cm.

The seat of the sgabello is eight-sided and has some small diamond intarsia. 

This photo shows the construction of the leg boards of the sgabello. Two rails at different levels support the two leg boards. 
Just beneath the seating there are small boards at the sides.


  1. Hello There-

    About the 1st table you have pictured, I am interested in it. Is it for sale? Is there anything I could work out with you to purchase this? We have a custom built wine cellar in our basement. We are devout lovers of fine wine and we need a table in the room. This being from Italy and it's story makes this special piece that much more perfect. Because it is an antique, I understand if it's only used as a display. Please let me know the details. I have never seen something more perfect in my life. I can be contacted at

    Thank You, and have a great day!

  2. it is a museum piece, therefore this item can not be bought. You will need to check furniture auctions at Christies, or check some online antique dealers if they have such items for sale.

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