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Piperchatfield Antiques

01451 833 892

A set of five stunning 'Romayne' panels, circa 1550

A set of five stunning 'Romayne' panels, circa 1550

Each panel features a different portrait head carved on thin quarter-sawn panels of Baltic oak, i.e. finely-grained, slow-grown timber, shipped from primeval forests encircling the Baltic Sea. These are amongst the best examples of their kind seen in the British Isles.

They probably formed part of the frieze or the middle register of a wainscot-panelled interior within an important Sixteenth Century building, and follow the accepted form of Romayne-work, combining elaborate scrolling foliage, mythical birds or Classical grotesques with a portrait head within a roundel. The only motifs common to all the panels are the laurel wreaths forming the roundels and the acanthus foliage to the lower spandrels. The heads are all different as are the grotesques and the foliage.

The portrait heads are of three females and two males, all carved with a vigorous and humorous caricatured style. The three female panels could be said to represent the three ages of women, the young, fashionably-dressed beauty, and the middle-aged woman with her close fitting cap followed by the old woman, caricatured as a crone or scold. The two bearded males are elderly but vigorous, their heads defiantly thrown back, one the helmeted warrior and the other the philosopher, his long-flowing beard and mass of tightly-curled hair restrained only by a simple head-band.

The carving is exquisitely executed throughout, vigorous, but beautifully modelled with great humour and with a thorough understanding of the language of Renaissance Italy’s interpretation of Classical ornament.

The condition of the panels is very good, with only very minor losses. The panel with the helmeted warrior has a small fill approximately 4 x 4mm but is completely unobtrusive as viewed from the front. This panel may once have been framed as the reverse has been painted and later stripped. There are traces of paint remaining in the grain.

As with all good quarter-sawn wainscot the panels remain perfectly flat and are ready for framing or simply hanging on the wall (subject to the appropriate fitting of the means to do so).

The panel dimensions vary slightly but are approximately 35.5 x 23.5 -26cms (14” x 9¼” -10”)

Stock Number: 67 Price: SOLD