Court Cupboards

Court cupboards can date from as early as the 16th century, they were a notable feature in many an Elizabethan, and Tudor aristocratic household. The name ‘Court’ is thought to refer to the French word “courts” which when translated, means short; an apt description of being squat in stature.
There were two main styles of court cupboard; one in which the shelves were open, and the other where the upper shelf is usually enclosed with cupboard doors.
An Elizabethan court cupboard generally had three shelves supported by elaborate pilasters with carved motifs. Some had a drawer in the middle shelf, and many displayed a decorative frieze at the top. Budding collectors should be interested in the design of the shelf supports; one of the most desired forms has a carved bulb between ringed stems on the pilasters, which is may resemble a ‘cup-with-cover’.

IMG_2637ED1900s Oak Court Cupboard
These pieces of furniture have a unique quality and character;  we believe this particular piece to be Circa 1900s, made in quality solid oak with intricate carved doors, turned and carved shelf supports, acorn finials and ball feet.
It has a second shallow cupboard, behind the front facing cupboard, which is believed to have been additional storage for excess table extension planks when they weren’t in use. All the cupboard doors lock with original key supplied.
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The traditional court cupboard in its natural wood finish and heritage style is making a comeback, but its brooding look is not to every taste, and similar pieces have lost their appeal during the more recent commercial and mass produced period. But as vintage, antique and shabby chic styles have become more fashionable and sought after, the traditional court cupboard’s impressive designs are now in great demand; either in their original finish or painted in an array of creative finishes to fit with your personal style and décor.

Here are a couple of examples of how a few of coats of paint and some imagination can transform a piece to look completely different and more suited to it’s surroundings.

Probably the best-known contemporary reference to court cupboards is in William Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in which the order is given for the hall of Capulet’s house to be cleared for dancing “Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look to the plate!”

About resourcevintage2014

Fabulous Upcycled Midcentury and Vintage Furniture, handfinished by Volunteers and Trainees
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