[Illustration: Two German Chairs (Late 15th Century). (From Drawings made in Old German Castles by Prof. Heideloff.)]
There are in our South Kensington Museum some full-sized plaster casts of important specimens of woodwork of the fifteenth and two previous centuries, and being of authenticated dates, we can compare them with the work of the same countries after the Renaissance had been adopted and had completely altered design. Thus in Italy there was, until the latter part of the fifteenth century, a mixture of Byzantine and Gothic of which we can see a capital example in the casts of the celebrated Pulpit in the Baptistry of Pisa, the date of which is 1260. The pillars are supported by lions, which, instead of being introduced heraldically into the design, as would be the case some two hundred years later, are bearing the whole weight of the pillars and an enormous superstructure on the hollow of their backs in a most impossible manner. The spandril of each arch is filled with a saint in a grotesque position amongst Gothic foliage, and there is in many respects a marked contrast to the casts of examples of the Renaissance period which are in the Museum.
[Illustration: Carved Oak Buffet in Gothic Style (Viollet le Duc). Period: XV. Century. French.]
This transition from Mediaeval and Gothic, to Renaissance, is clearly noticeable in the woodwork of many cathedrals and churches in England and in continental cities. It is evident that the chairs, stalls, and pulpits in many of these buildings have been executed at different times, and the change from one style to another is more or less marked. The Flemish buffet here illustrated is an example of this transition, and may be contrasted with the French Gothic buffet referred to in the following paragraph. There is also in the central hall of the South Kensington Museum a plaster cast of a carved wood altar stall in the Abbey of Saint Denis, France: the pilasters at the sides have the familiar Gothic pinnacles, while the panels are ornamented with arabesques, scrolls, and an interior in the Renaissance style; the date of this is late in the fifteenth century.
The buffet on page 43 is an excellent specimen of the best fifteenth century French Gothic oak work, and the woodcut shows the arrangement of gold and silver plate on the white linen cloth with embroidered ends, in use at this time.
[Illustration: Carved Oak Table. Period: Late XV. or Early XVI. Century. French.]
[Illustration: Flemish Buffet. Of Carved Oak; open below with panelled cupboards above. The back evidently of later work, after the Renaissance had set in. (From a Photo, by Messrs. R. Sutton & Co. from the Original in the S. Kensington Museum.) Period: Gothic To Renaissance, XV. Century.]
[Illustration: A Tapestried Room in a French Chateau, With Oak Chests as Seats.]
[Illustration: Carved Oak Seat, With moveabls Backrest, in front of Fireplace. Period: Late XV. Century. French.]