by Helen Moon
Here at Charlton House there are two impressive pieces of 17th century furniture in the Long Gallery. This room embraces the character of the era not only because of the furniture, but also the wood panelling on the walls. Wood panelling or wainscot as it was often called was the use of oak on the walls of a house to make it more decorative as well as warmer and more comfortable.
This sideboard or ‘court cupboard’ in the Long gallery is typical of furniture from this era. It is made of oak and its main purpose was for display of silver wear and other valuable items. It would have also been used for serving some elements of a meal such as baskets of bread, condiments and wine coolers on special occasions.
Buffets such as this beautiful two-tiered oak example became popular in the second half of the 17th century. Dining and inviting friends to share a meal at a house was growing in popularity and a buffet could be used to display plates and glassware as well as for placing food in between courses. The marquetry section on the bottom tier with the different types of wood inlay in particularly attractive.