Wednesday 11 October 2017

Medieval furniture at Chateau Langeais: dressoirs and armoires

There is more to see at Chateau Langeais than tables, benches and chairs. For instance, cupboards, buffets, dressoirs and armoires (see medieval furniture dictionary). Below is the photographic tour of the castle concerning these furniture types.

This beautiful 6-sided early 16th century livery cupboard was luckily a bit damaged. That is, for me, because it allowed some views of the construction that would otherwise not be possible. The dressoir only stands on four legs.

The sides of the dressoir. The wooden nails in the frame are clearly visible. The top of the dressoir consists of three wooden boards.

The dressoir has only one door, with openwork hinges and lock. Above and under the lock are two faces of men with hats and ruffs, typically worn in the early 16th century.

 Left: The front of the drawer. The two front 'legs' end here in an ornamented knob. Right: The underside of the drawer. At the end a wooden block is placed as a stopper.

Left: Another view of the underside of the drawer. It rests upon two rails. Right: One of the lower side panel was broken, allowing a view inside. You can see the rail on which the drawer rests and the stopper block at the end. Also the groove of the side panel can be seen and the bottom of the cupboard above.
The top has a simple ornamented rim attached to it.

 A small but high six-sided  stepped buffet with a canopy and shelves that can be used to display silverware. 
The buffet is made in the late 15th century.

The canopy has a barrel-shaped roof  and the vertical stiles end in woman's faces

The stepped buffet consists of two loose parts: the display shelf with the canopy and the cupboard with the under shelf.  The backside has two heraldic shields which also appear on the cupboard below.

 The door of the cupboard with two heraldic shields.
 Also at the end of the drawer the vertical rails end in woman's heads.

The bottom shelf has six feet.

A four-sided livery cupboard with two doors and no drawers.

The side panels of the dressoir are carved in linenfold pattern.

 A small armoire with double doors. All panels are carved in linenfold pattern.
The top of the armoire consists of two boards.

A large armoire with two large doors and two smaller ones on top. The armoire only has linenfold panels at the front.

The armoire in a bedroom in the castle.

 A low livery cupboard / table with two small doors.

Likely not medieval, existing in medieval times: a baby walker and a cradle.


  1. I really enjoy seeing examples of linenfold carving. I wish I could have seen the variations more clearly in the large armoire

  2. Hi, love your blog. Sorry this question isn't related to the post, but hoping you might know the answer. I know cabinets with drawers were a much later medieval development. In all your travels, however, have any of you seen furniture, say, 13-1500's with drawers? What type of furniture? I'm assuming the cabinets would be built similar to other cabinet and chest joinery (panels pegged and pinned together), but if they exist, what does the drawer joinery look like? What is the earliest piece you've seen with drawers, and what was the joinery on them? Thanks!!

  3. I see part of a chest beside the armoire but you did not include a picture of that. Is that a modern reproduction as the bed is?


    1. No it is an authenthic chest. The problem in Langeais was that most rooms were very dark, making photography a challenge. It was not possible for me and my camera to make a good photo of it.

  4. Hello Marijn, I have noticed that you are a specialist in medieval furniture. I would like to show you a piece of furniture wich I have found. You can send me an e-mail if you like. I Will send you some pictures of the object Thank you. Joeri

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