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.


  1. Just wanted to know if you have ever seen anything like this? Maybe where or who. I was thinking maybe native American 1800s? Maybe how much it might be worth? Any help would be greatly appreciatedent from my iPa

  2. Your comment had no image attached. You are welcome to send an image to my email,


  3. I saw your Q & A on regarding becomming a conservator. Sorry, but these days there are programs in this country that provide graduate training in art conservation. Simply working with a "master conservator" doesn'tncut it pal. Students typically take hours of chemistry and other prerequisites coupled with years of museum work to gain entrance to one of these highly-competive programs. Spreading your "ye olde" perspective of conservation training does little to advance a profession that many of us have spent years advancing. Are you even a member or professional associate member of AIC? You're a hack.

  4. Dear Anon,
    You sound a tad bit unhappy with me, sorry to have angered you. I agree with most of what you say about conservation studies. There certainly are fine programs out there. I assure you I don't step out of my ability level when affecting restorations. I have on more than one occasion referred clients to other professionals with objects that are in need of more specialized attention than I am able to perform. The "hack" comment was a bit harsh, especially considering you haven't ever seen my work. I hope you find work soon and I hope your employer is sympathetic to your special needs.