Furniture and furniture-making in Gloucestershire, 1600-1730
: an analysis of a regional and vernacular tradition

  • David Wilson

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This thesis examines the domestic and ecclesiastic furniture of Gloucestershire and opens with a critical review of the previous literature on furniture history and its development during the twentieth century, noting how it changed from a collector-oriented approach, involving the aesthetic and 'quaint' aspects of the furniture, to a more serious academic approach where the furniture was seen as a reflection of the material culture of the period. This is followed by an outline of the methodology employed in the thesis, noting particularly the new approaches to the study of vernacular furniture employed therein, together with a discussion of the primary literary sources of the period. After a brief outline of the geographical and social background to Gloucestershire and the three study areas which have been selected within the county, there follows an analysis of the value and problems of the study of inventories in general and the furniture types recorded in those from Gloucestershire, frequently comparing and contrasting the furniture with that from other areas of the country. Following this, and using the same data, the furniture is studied in its relation to its placement and usage in the major upstairs and downstairs rooms indicating and interpreting where relevant, changes that took place in these aspects and giving possible reasons for them. The decorative motifs and constructional features of extant Gloucestershire furniture, both domestic and church, and both fixed and moveable are examined, suggesting which features can be seen as diagnostic of pieces made in the county. the opportunity is also taken to compare critically these findings with the observations presented in previous literature. Finally a range of primary written sources in analysed, using the information from them to construct a series of maps showing the distribution of the various woodworkers recorded in Gloucestershire at different times in the 17th and early 18th century. This approach enabled suggestions to be made concerning the likely centres of furniture production and even, on occasions, to postulate the makers of particular items of furniture.
Date of Award2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Nottingham Trent University

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