A very unique find because of its great size and age, this huge oak chest or trunk was hand-carved in Spain in the late 1500s or early 1600s, making it a period High (or Late) Renaissance storage piece. The roughly rectilinear trunk has been softened by a quarter-round molding to the 1 ½ thick lid. Also helping to break the clean lines is the slightly protruding apron, which has also been carved with multiple undulations. Both sides are unadorned, except for the continuation of the sinuous apron, and the visible large box joints that connect the front façade to the ends.
Carved symmetrically, the frontage consists of three panels and a horizontal cartouche on the apron. The outer two illustrations depict a cross set within a stylized sunburst with many lithe rays. A ring of foliage encircles the sunburst, with additional rays extending towards the corners of the square border adorned with additional leaves. In between these two scenes is an elaborate display of two birds pecking the fruit of a sprawling plant with a bulbous body. A similar carving can be seen on the cartouche of the apron, with much larger fruit and the birds flanking the vegetation.
Trunks of this size were used often in Spanish homes in the 15th to 17th centuries, although they are becoming rare in today’s market.
“The chest as a receptable for the storage of clothing and household goods maintained its popularity undiminished throughout the entire period under consideration, and even to-day it is said that in many country houses throughout Spain chests are commonly used for putting away clothing in preference to chests of drawers” ……… “Some of them were so high and so long that they could readily be used in lieu of sideboards or credenze and, as a matter of fact, many of them were so used” – The Practical Book of Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese Furniture. Harold Donaldson Eberlein. Roger Wearne Ramsdell. Philadelphia & London. J.B. Lippincott Company. 1927
At three feet tall and over six feet wide, our Spanish oak trunk can be used in a bedroom as ample storage for linens, blankets, and pillows. Given the height, it would also make a unique furnishing, such as a sofa or console table.
CONDITION: Strong antique condition with minor nicks and losses. Traces of old fills and repairs. Some discoloration, minor stains, and age separations, commensurate with age of over 400 years.