Sunday, December 2, 2012

Westphalian Jewelry Coffer

Title: Westphalian Jewelry Coffer
Materials: Quarter Sawn White Oak, Copper, Iron Hasp Lock, Iron Nails, Marbled Paper
Size:  Length 16". Height 7.5". Depth 4.5"
Date of Creation: November 2012

  The original Westphalian coffers made in the Northern region of Germany during the 16th century were massive oaken trunks, more than six feet long and reinforced with hundreds of pounds of decorative ironwork strap hinges. Some early examples displayed more ironwork than wood. I've read that these coffers were a widely exported item in the 1500's. I can't imagine a castle would have been complete without one.

 I have a taste for early 20th c. Arts & Crafts design. Many of the best, early, A&C creations were inspired by primitive as well as Gothic art forms from earlier centuries. I applied my concepts of the Arts and Crafts Movement to the creation of this jewelry box by selecting quarter sawn oak and hammered copper.

  The interior is lined with the marbled end-papers from an original 18th c. volume of Diderot's "Encyclop├ędie". I'm sure the idea of using original paper will cause some to hyperventilate but trust me, the loose pages were the result of some barbarian decades ago that cannibalized the book to sell the images piecemeal....the marbled end papers were actually ripped from the old tome. (I understand the punishment for destroying an old book is to smoke a turd in hell.) For years I've kept these marbled papers waiting for just the right project.

 What I really wanted was a full scale Westphalian coffer...but I would need block and tackle just to move it about.