Picture This XLVI

I have a real soft spot for the oft comical and quirky mediaeval and post-mediaeval ecclesiastical carved roof bosses, corbels, misericords and pew ends that adorn England’s cathedrals and churches.

The subject of the carving on the end of one sixteenth-century pew in the Church of St. Margaret in Spaxton, Somerset, depicts a fuller at work, surrounded by some of the tools employed in finishing baize.

pew_end_St_Margarets_church_Spaxton_c1561_01aOak pew end, circa 1561.

At top left is a carding frame, with a brush opposite. To the left of the fuller is a teasel and to the right, a (virtually to scale) pair of croppers.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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9 Responses to Picture This XLVI

  1. Amanda says:

    That’s lovely. I wasn’t aware of it, although I grew up in Spaxton and spent many bored hours in the church. What a shame that as a child I had no interest in misericords.


  2. diceloader says:

    A photo of those impressive croppers here: http://trowbridgemuseum.co.uk/raising-shearing-and-pressing/
    Though, surely they are on his left.


  3. D.B. Laney says:

    Would this be considered a “woolenfold” panel, as opposed to a linenfold?


  4. Paul Murphy says:

    Interesting that the background is in diaper. Is there a warp and weft in baize that relates to this? Joseph Aronson states in, “The Encyclopedia of Furniture” that diaper was probably first woven in Ypres, and that the term arises from the phrase, “d’Ypres.” Your thoughts?


    • Jack Plane says:

      Baize does indeed have warp and weft threads, which can’t be compared to diaper work by any stretch of the imagination. ‘Hatching’, on the other hand, was a popular method of decorating otherwise bland backgrounds in carvings and other media.

      My books are mostly still packed away; does Aronson give a date for his theory? I haven’t heard of it thus attributed, but I suspect the word has its roots in classicism.



      • Paul Murphy says:

        The only thing in Aronson’s book are a couple of numeric references for the reader. I know you have the book, you’ve cited it before. For those who do not, the numeric references are simply numbered examples of photographs in the book where the subject being discussed can be viewed. It frustrates me that I can’t find the information I related above, I had thought it was Aronson. Anyway, the way I heard the explanation of how diagonal patterns came to be known as diaper was thus; from memory: Before the English language had what we think of as conventional spelling, someone made reference to those diagonal patterns being, “like the course woven textile from Ypres”, or d’Ypres. Somehow this was taken by someone phonetically; dye yipper. From there the term just got a life of its own. I’d swear I read this. Now I know I didn’t read it in Aronson. No doubt the diaper pattern is antique, but remember, nobody working in the Gothic style had the name Gothic to describe their “modern” style.


        • Jack Plane says:

          I know only too well the frustrations of a fading whatchamacallit when searching for references.

          From the Oxford Dictionary:
          Diaper. Middle English: from Old French diapre, from medieval Latin diasprum, from medieval Greek diaspros (adjective), from dia ‘across’ + aspros ‘white’.



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