Le siècle des Tudors

Le Mobilier

Le mobilier est robuste, lourd et peu confortable: il est de style gothique. Seuls les nobles et riches bourgeois peuvent s'offrir des tapis et tapisseries. La chaise est, elle aussi, coûteuse; on lui préfère le banc. Dans les riches demeures les chaises (appelées "settle chairs") comportent un haut dossier et le siège, un endroit que l'on appelle "petit endroit".

Les bancs en bois servaient le plus souvent de table. Pour les banquets, on dressait la table, soit une planche de bois montée provisoirement sur des tréteaux que l'on démontait, le repas terminé, pour permettre aux convives de danser. Des buffets ( appelés "stepped buffets") composés d'étagères, les dressoirs, étaient placés contre les murs et couverts d'un linge de lin, le châtelain y exposait sa vaisselle d'or, d'argent ou de vermeil et exposait ainsi son opulence.

Des coffres montés sur des pieds afin de les tenir à l'abri de l'humidité, voire de la vermine qui recouvrait des sols mal entretenus, abritaient le linge de maison; d'autres coffres, moins massifs et dépourvus de pieds contenaient vêtements, bijoux, etc que les seigneurs déplaçaient avec eux, lors de la transhumance de la Cour royale en ses différentes résidences.

Les indigents dormaient sur des planches de bois, recouvertes de paille, ou sur des paillassons recouverts d'un drap et de couvertures. Bien souvent une bûche servait de traversin.

La classe aisée dormait dans des lits à baldaquin, dont les quatre colonnes de bois sculpté étaient dissimulées, le soir venu, derrière de lourdes tentures qui assuraient l'intimité des occupants en ce lieu. Le dossier était composé de panneaux sculptés. La cantonnière était faite d'un tissu brodé, tout comme les parures de lit. Les matelas étaient bourrés de duvet ou de plumes.

Le sol était couvert par endroits de tapis de jonc ou de paille tressés.




The Tudor period style was a mixture of Gothic with Italian, Flemish, and French influences, especially for tapestries in the period (1509-1558). Tudor furniture was made of oak or wood, highly ornate, carved and heavy. The linen-fold motif, appeared together with Tudor details on chests, choir stalls, and footboards of beds.

The main Tudor style decoration was the fine carving, sometimes with sycamore inlay. The panels of pieces like chests, cabinets, or beds, were decorated using a variety of biblical or mythological subjects. The square panels could have superimposed diamond shapes. Round-headed arches and the semi-circular or fan pattern were used. Animal forms like the dolphin or the lion head were chosen, together with floral forms like the Tudor rose, carnation, or vine. A Court cupboard was a style of buffet made from the time of Elizabeth to that of Charles II. Some models had the two sides angled off, to leave display space for pieces of silver. Handles and hinges were generally made of iron.

Bible box – the bible box appeared, these were small side chests designed to hold the family bible. They were later made with a sloping top to facilitate writing and reading. It was the forerunner to the writing desk. They were oak, left natural or finished with oils or beeswax.

It was more common to see long benches used for seating. Individual chairs could be found in the houses of the nobility, though they were still wooden and made with a straight, high back. Occasionally the arms and seat of the chair would be cushioned, with reeds used as the filling. The Tudor period chairs, still rare, were heavy, with straight backs and flat seats, with cushions of embroidered velvet. Later in the period, high-backed carved chairs, and turned chairs were common, together with stools with ornamented backs. Furniture legs were mainly bulbous. Wooden benches were also used as tables. In the houses of the gentry, trestle tables were used for banqueting as this meant that after feasting the tables could quickly be folded away and removed and a space made for entertainments.

The large Tudor style bed was the richest piece of furniture. The feather bed replaced the straw mattress. There was elaborated carving of the headboard, canopy, tester, columns, and panels. The most used subjects were religious. Under Elizabeth reign the subjects turned to italian plants or geometric themes. A canopy and long velvet hangings often with bulbous decoration were added.