Antique wall cupboards are worth the investment. They span as far back at the 15th century and their intricacy or lack thereof can be traceable to country and region of origin. What is more is that they are still useful in purpose to modern day life, and are easily adaptable in many rooms and with different types of décor.
Antique Wall Cupboards-A Brief History
As long as there has been a need to hang things, there have been cupboards. From the time, the first peg was driven into a wall, to the first person who had the money for more than two changes of clothes there have been cupboards. Along with the chair and the table, cupboards are one of the most elemental and oldest of designed furniture.
The cupboard started out as first a solitary nail, then as a shelf, and then the shelves became several enclosed with a set of doors creating the cupboard, as it is known today. Antique cupboards first housed clothing, crockery, and food. Gradually, they evolved over time and in various countries to display items to hold valuable 'plate' (china, silver, and decorative objects such as pewter candlesticks). They also took a turn and became article specific, with cupboards being designed to hold only kitchen food goods, dining room china and glassware, and clothing.
The earliest surviving antique cupboards were simple affairs of wood boards and nails. The 15th century saw the addition of long legs and drawers being added. Special cupboards for the use of keeping food appear around this time. Some had doors pierced for ventilation. Cupboards also appeared for linen keeping around the same era.
The 17th and 18th century saw an increase in the highly decorative and ornate cupboard with carving and inlay of different woods and even semi-precious stone. The late 1800's and early 1900's in America saw a movement back to more simplistic yet functional wall cupboards.
The wall cupboard is the ancestor to today's freestanding pie safes, hutches, and armoires.
A Good Wall Cupboard or a Bad Wall Cupboard
To help you authenticate a good antique wall cupboard from a fake, look for the following identifying markers:
- Peg or nail holes indicating it was fastened to the wall at some point in its history.
- Drier and lighter weight woods that could be hung on plastered walls.
- Smaller sized cupboards with one drawer or no drawers, of a size and weight that could be affixed to a wall.
- Many wall cupboards held food or linens. Open the doors and sniff; the scent of herbs and dried flowers may still linger.
Look for the following woods when searching for a wall cupboard:
- Pine (prevalent among late 1800's-early 1900's American wall cupboards)
- Oak (indicating English and European design)
- Red Gum tree
Some wall cupboards have doors on them covered in tooled or painted leather. This may indicate a Spanish maker, designer, and country of origin.
Where to Begin Your Search for Wall Cupboards
- Old Plank deals in antique as well as modern designed cupboards.
Cupboard and cabinet making is still regarded as the mark of a highly skilled craftsman. As you search for a wall cupboard, consider the line of the piece and the effect it has on the overall design. Only then will you have found something worth hanging up on your wall as well as hanging on to for your family.