Medieval & Renaissance Furniture at the Cloisters

Introduction

The Cloisters is the medieval branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Located in an atmospheric setting in the far north of Manhattan, the Cloisters houses a small but choice collection of medieval art and architecture. The furniture collection at the Cloisters is rather small, and is used mostly as room settings to enhance the other artworks on display. There are no photographs with this report due to both the dim lighting and the Met’s photographic policies. To my knowledge the Cloisters’ furniture collection has never been published or publically cataloged, although a few pieces are described in Daniel Diehl’s two books Constructing Medieval Furniture (1997) and Medieval Furniture: Plans and Instructions for Historical Reproductions (1999). The bracketed numbers are the museum accession/catalog numbers

Langdon Chapel

(25.1.20.291, 292) A pair of heavy oak doors from the Pyrenees, probably 12th century. Both doors exhibit heavy iron strapwork. From a woodworking perspective the most interesting feature are the dovetailed dadoes that hold the crosspieces on the rear of the doors.

Nine Heroes Room

(Unlabled) A large 6 drawer oak cope chest approximately 5′ 6″ tall, 4′ deep, and 7′ wide. The sides are of plain frame and panel work, undecorated. The drawers are deecorated with a horizontal parchemin carving.

(Unlabled) A carved oak settle of frame and panel construction with vertical linenfold panelling and gothic tracery. There is a chest built into the seat.

Unicorn Tapestry Room

(Unlabled) A pair of “Savonarola” type folding chairs.

(Unlabled) A round table, probably of walnut, on iron tripod legs.

(Unlabled) A pair of linenfold doors (may be reproductions).

Boppard Room

(47.101.67) An oak gothic chair, late 15th century German. With a Tree of Jesse design carved in the back. The lower panel of the back is chip carved.

Frame and panel construction.

(53.95) A walnut and intarsia Italian credenza from the early 15c.

(Unlabled) A Savonarola style chair

(Unlabled) A linenfold door

(67.155.9) A French or Flemish oak cupboard from the late 15th or early 16th century.

Campin Room

The Campin Room is furnished in a mainly 15th century Flemish style to complement Robert Campin’s Merode Altarpiece which is the highlight of the room.

(47.101.71) A French or Flemish oak stool from the 15th century. Of trestle construction with carved openwork sides.

(unlabled) A semi-circular Piedmontese chair from the late 15th century. Of mixed pine, walnut, and lime.

(57.144.3) A small French chest, late 15th century.

(47.101.70) A Franco-Flemish oak bench, 15th century.

(unlabled) A boarded cupboard or aumbry with two doors. The top of the piece has a cornice with crenellated decoration while the doors have openwork tracery carving in the middle.

(57.144.2) A North Italian/South Tyrolian chair, late 15th century. Glastonbury type with nice carving on the arms.

(49.56.4) A French oak table, 15th century.

(unlabled) A late 15th century French linenfold door, of oak.

(53.53) A Franco-Flemish oak chest, 15th century. Of frame and panel construction with linenfold carving on the panels.

(47.101.72) A plain Franco-Flemish oak stool, 15th century