Welsh Dressers

SWANSEA VALLEY POT BOARD DRESSER

SWANSEA VALLEY POT BOARD DRESSER

THE WELSH DRESSER
The term ‘dresser’ originates from the side- table used for the preparation and ‘dressing’ of food in Mediaeval Halls.
It first made its appearance in the 17th century, at first consisting of only a flat wooden board or table, occasionally with separate shelves fixed to a wall above. Food was prepared or ‘dressed’ on the dresser board and covered with a white linen cloth before being served to the table. By the mid-18th century, the shelves and the base below were united to become one piece of furniture –the ‘dresser’, as we know it today.
The desire for greater display of the household’s pewter, china, copper and brassware led to the development of elaborate racks and central sections above a cupboard or pot-board base. In all the varying dresser designs, and there are many, the purpose of the rack was to display important and treasured possessions.

CEREDIGION OAK DRESSER

CEREDIGION OAK DRESSER

Racks were either enclosed with backboards to provide a protective and stable support for the base, or left open, the width of the shelves often individually made for a customer, determined by the size of the ware to be displayed. Hand- made, forged wrought iron cup hooks completed the design.
There was also a great variation in the treatment of the central section; sometimes the insertion of a row of spice drawers, false (dummy) or functional, added an extra dimension.
Regional variations showed many different arrangements in the configuration of the drawers, usually cockbeaded, with a 3, 5 or a 6 –drawer base (rarely more) sometimes cross-banded and emphasised with frame moulding .
Traditionally dressers from the North Wales areas had bases with enclosed cupboards, sometimes flanking a central row of additional drawers. The addition of a large shelf across the stretchers of the base, the pot-board dresser evolved mainly in the South Wales areas and provided a space for large crocks or ewers.
The skill of the joiners and craftsmen resulted in dressers which could be quite elaborate with arched aprons, decorative shaped friezes and a variety of leg turnings

PEMBROKESHIRE PINE DRESSER

PEMBROKESHIRE PINE DRESSER

The basic form which was used in the kitchens and dining rooms of 17th century homes remained virtually unchanged until the late Victorian era when enclosed glass-fronted dressers of natural, stained or painted woods with shelves, cupboards and drawers made their appearance. This style continued into the early20th century, with colourful stained glass panels adding to the aesthetic appeal.
Whatever your taste, whether painted, pine, glass –topped or the more traditional period Oak, the dresser remains an enduring, attractive and useful addition to the home.

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