While reading Fred Roe’s “Ancient Coffers and Cupboards” I came across a drawing of a late Gothic almery owned by Morgan Williams (owner of St. Donat’s Castle until 1909). What caught my eye was the “mad owl” tracery on the door.
The almery was very similar to the one Chris Schwarz built in 2014 and included in the Boarded Furniture section of “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” Was this almery the “mother ship”?
I sent Roe’s sketch off to Chris and he agreed it was a little weird. Putting aside the chance that a cupboard could be rebuilt, doors reversed or lost, there are differences in the tracery on the side panels. Roe’s almery was not the “mother ship” – we were looking at two different aumbries. In Fred Roe’s second book “Old Oak Furniture” we have our answer:
Chris sent me the auction photo of the original piece on which he based his aumbry and I looked for more almeries/aumbries that might be by the same Sussex maker.
If these four pieces are indeed by the same maker one of his signatures seems to be a “mad owl” and a four-point star tracery on the door.
Chris has said aumbries are “dang fun” to build. Finding a few more pieces from the “mad owl” Sussex maker has also been “dang fun.”