English Renaissance

23 Mar

From the early 16th century until well into the 17th, England felt the grips of a revolution that would change the face of the country forever. This revolution had nothing to do with wars or land or expansion; unless you consider the expansion of the minds of the people all over Britain. It was back during the 14th century in the country of Italy in which the renaissance first started and slowly spread across the entire European continent. Known as the pan-European Renaissance, by the 16th century when the ruler of England was Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare was the talked about name anywhere you went, the English Renaissance began.

The Banqueting House, Whitehall, London

This is part of the original oak staircase (1590’s) leading up to the top of the north east tower at Hardwick. The water pump is C20th ;-). Hardwick Hall is in Derbyshire UK and is open to the public – it is a unique example of English Renaissance architecture by the architect Robert Smythson.

Picture of elaborately carved late 16th century English joined chair. Such chairs, made of oak, are descendants of the tudor era Wainscot chairs only now without the boxed storage area beneath the seat.


Actually originating in the tudor period x-frame folding chairs become commonly seen in the Elizabethan age in the houses of the rich, especially among royalty. It uses textile coverings, often velvet, with the seat being a cradle of webbing which takes a squab cushion. X frame chairs usually came with a matching footstool.

Taking its name from the Abbot of Glastonbury, who died in 1539, glastonbury chairs have remained relatively popular chairs in England through history with many reproductions being made in the nineteenth century. This old antique example has obviously elbowed arms and a folding framework.

An Elizabethan era three legged turned chair. Turning was accomplished on a pole lathe driven by pulling on a length of cord attached to a pole. The post was attached to a spindle, which was turned by the cord. It was shaped and patterned by a gouge, or cutting tool, held against the post as it turned.


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