More Chests: Slanted and Enchanted


Suzanne Ellison turned up more images of chests from the 14th and early 15th centuries that have lids that may or may not be slanted.

Whether the lid’s cockedness is the result of the builder or the illustrator is immaterial to me – I’m going to build some. I have been impressed by the slant-lid Dutch chests I’ve been building for the last three years for three reasons:

  1. You can’t stack junk on top of them.
  2. They keep the rain off (surprisingly I have found this to be true and helpful).
  3. The slanted lid provides easy access to the contents of the chest. I think most people who have built Dutch tool chests will agree with me that snatching tools out of the top compartment is a breeze thanks to the 30° slant on the lid.

Here are notes on the images from Suzanne:

The top image is from the “Bibliotheque de l’Arsenal,” dated 1300-1400. She is sitting on a flat-top chest but the lid of the chest to the right looks to be slanted.


This one is is from the Morgan Library, dated 1380.


This one is also from the Morgan, dated 1405.

— Christopher Schwarz

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12 Responses to More Chests: Slanted and Enchanted

  1. kendewitt608 says:

    In 1975 I was 2 blocks from the Morgan and am still addicted to it.
    Thanks for the prints.

  2. miathet says:

    After reading both posts I am wondering if the slant would also have something to do with durability. Without central heating, AC and waterproof houses I am thinking condensation and rain might be an issue and the slope might keep both items and the wood dryer and both would last longer?

  3. saucyindexer says:

    All illustrations are from ‘Roman de la Rose’ by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Muen, originally written in the 13th century.

  4. paul6000000 says:

    Funny that there’s a blanket (clothes) rack over each of these chests.

  5. Brian Clites says:

    I found an old LARP site that has some nice museum photograph examples. The LARP author(s) point out that at least some of these were six-board

  6. Jon Quinn says:

    are there any surviving examples of these chests in museums or private collections? if not, how can you be certain that the artists didn’t quite comprehend perspective. there are many examples where this is the case in old arts or prints

    • Brian Clites says:

      Good observation. That question was raised earlier today as well, Jon. If I’m reading that discussion correctly, Suzanne concurred that reverse perspective may be the culprit here. But these images are inconclusive.

      To your point, I’ll just note that the museum examples in my link above do appear to have horizontal, unsloped lids.

  7. Bob Jones says:

    The second image must be not just a slanted lid, but a slanted lid that is a functional box of itself. Looks like a display box sitting on top of a slanted lid chest. Not much of a secret, but a neat compartment.

  8. This post has reminded me that one of these days I need to go down to my town’s castle (Le Château de Sedan) with a camera. There’s a decent amount of period furniture in there from the 15th to 19th century, but the last time I went inside was a couple of years ago, before I was aware of LAP.

  9. William Bee says:

    Zurich is stained and it’s not my fault
    Just hold me back or let me run.

  10. Eli says:

    Nice Pavement reference.

  11. tsstahl says:

    ” I think most people who have built Dutch tool chests will agree with me that snatching tools out of the top compartment is a breeze… ”

    I’ll second that. I’m finishing up on a smallish chest/curio cabinet based on the Dutch tool chest design–so easy to get in and out of the top.

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