The trencher, ancestor of the breadboard

TAKEN FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE ANTIQUE BREADBOARD MUSEUM, PUTNEY:

A well-worn trencher or wooden plate, used on a daily basis by rich and poor alike from the 15th century until the arrival of chinaware. Trenchers began as flat pieces of wood, improved designs appearing later with indents, the larger to retain the juices and the smaller for salt. The latter would suggest it may have been used in a wealthy household as salt was a precious commodity. The town of Abingdon has a rare collection of over 100 trenchers, and the inventories to prove their date of purchase, 1556, for official dinners to entertain local dignitaries. The Mary Rose has dredged up 6 examples, one carved with a rough zig-zag pattern, possibly by one of the crew.

https://ehive.com/account/4128/object/117805
http://www.maryrose.org/fotofriday/

Interestingly they have made a come-back in gastro-pubs and restaurants serving traditional English food, the wood being sourced from South East Asia as England no longer has sycamores old enough to make a standard 12″ plate.

Great Scott!

A photograph from Scott’s ‘British Antarctic Expedition’ of 1910-13 showing Dr Wilson, Lt Bowers and Apsley Cherry-Garrard having a meal on their return from a winter trip to Cape Crozier, August 1st 1911.
Extraordinary though it may seem, a breadboard is visible among their tableware. Further inquiries have established that the board is no longer among the Scott Polar Research Institute collection, nor is it in the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust, Christchurch, New Zealand where many of the remaining items from the hut have been stored.

Diana Pope kindly tracked down Lizzie Meek of the AHT who has painstakingly catalogued every object and suggested that ‘it is highly likely it got burnt on the stove for fuel by the Ross Sea Party, as it is a very conveniently stove-sized piece of wood, and they ran out of coal and had to switch to using other materials including seal blubber.’ Photograph courtesy of the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.

http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/
http://www.nzaht.org/

Photographer: Ponting, Herbert (1870-1935) 
Expedition: British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13 
Date: 1911

 

Tom Samuel gets creative

Taken from the collection of The Antique Breadboard Museum, Putney:

A breadboard dating from the 1990s especially designed and carved by master cabinet-maker Tom Samuel featuring a modern take on linen-fold, the deeply carved swathe of radiating fabric bunching in an off-centre whorl.

Sycamore, 1990s, 13″

http://www.tomsamuel.co.uk/

Winchester upcycles Norman timber

Taken from the collection of The Antique Breadboard Museum, Putney:

A lacquered board with “Manners makyth man”, the motto of New College Oxford (1379), Winchester College (1382) and William of Wykeham (1324-1404), Bishop of Winchester (1366-1404), who founded them. The border is topped by the personal coat of arms of William of Wykeham amid lush acanthus leaves, which both establishments share.

Winchester College describes it thus: ‘argent two chevrons sable between three roses gules seeded or, barbed vert.’ The central silver inlay depicts a hircocervus, a mythical beast with Greek origins, which John Hoskins adapted to depict the many virtues of a perfect servant in 1579. It was located outside the kitchens of Winchester College. A verse accompanied the wall-painting translated from the Latin:

A trusty servant’s picture would you see,
This figure well survey, who’ever you be.
The porker’s snout not nice in diet shows;
The padlock shut, no secret he’ll disclose;
Patient, to angry lords the ass gives ear;
Swiftness on errand, the stag’s feet declare;
Laden his left hand, apt to labour saith;
The coat his neatness; the open hand his faith;
Girt with his sword, his shield upon his arm,
Himself and master he’ll protect from harm.
(Howard Staunton, The Great Schools of England (Shrahan, 1869)

Oak, 12″, Sheffield, 1907

Monogrammed Wedding Gift

Taken from the collection of The Antique Breadboard Museum, Putney:

A charming wedding board, possibly by an amateur, with the initials JES carved in gothic lettering in the central shield, on a basket-weave background, the border carved with plump wheat ears and chunky roses.

Sycamore, 11″, 1800s