Ambry Project References

From Wayne's Dusty Box of Words

Print Resources

Chinnery, Victor. Oak Furniture
The British Tradition: A History of Early Furniture in the British Isles and New England. Rev. ed. Woodbridge, England: ACC Art Books, 2016. 551p.
If you can have only one book on period furniture, this is the one you want. The compilation of 4 decades of collection and consulting this work is encyclopedic in scope with hundreds of photos and loads of historical context. He has descriptions of ambries and several photographs.
A quote touching upon our topic of ambries:
The earlier appearances of enclosed cupboards (‘presses’ or ‘aumbries’) is discussed elsewhere, for it is more interesting at this point to pursue the theme of the incorporation of enclosed compartments within the existing form of the open cup-board; since we can divine there parallel developments both in the form of the standing cupboard, and in the meaning of the word ‘cupboard’. The partially enclosed cup-boards in Figures 3:257–3:265 [the illustrations in this section] are all variations on a common theme, which is best interpreted as a court cup-board of which the major part is enclosed by a compartment with doors. This description is echoed exactly by some early inventory descriptions:
1527 . . . A waynescott cupborde wt. two aumbries . . .
1552 . . . my new cubbarde with ye presse in yt . . .
1565 . . . one littell cobord with a lower . . .
1600 . . . A ioyned livrie cupbourde with two close cupbourdes in it . . .”
Diehl, Daniel. 1996. Constructing Medieval Furniture
Plans and Instructions with Historical Notes. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books ISBN: 978-0811727952
A good survey of some medieval furniture with enough information to get you started. These are NOT plans per se, they are measured drawings of items in museums, so details are spotty depending on what access the author had. I have used this book to make a couple of projects with mixed results. If you are not a beginning woodworker, it can be a useful reference. The aumbry he shows is one of the ones in Haddon Hall, England. It is elm and 29”H x 32.5”W x 17.5”D. Interestingly two of the designs are the same as the one I built. I have issues with some of his instructions, but maybe he’s seen this piece in person.
Diehl, Daniel. 1999. Medieval Furniture
Plans and Instructions for Historical Reproductions. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books ISBN: 978-0811728546
A second set of medieval furniture along the lines of the previous book. And the previous cautions apply. You can get both books under one cover by looking up: Medieval & Renaissance Furniture: Plans & Instructions for Historical Reproductions (2012) ISBN: 978-0811710237. This volume has another ambry, but it is later, mid-16th Century and is more properly a livery cupboard.
Macquoid, Percy. 1904. A History of English Furniture
The Age of Oak. G.P. Putnam & Sons.
A dated but good survey of English furniture. Thanks to the ravages of war, some items depicted in here are no longer around.
Mercer, Eric. Furniture
700 – 1700. 1969. Merideth Press, New York.
A decent if slightly dated survey, a good companion to Chinnery as much of its content is not English.
White, Christopher. 2007. Observations on the Development of Wood Screws in North America. Furniture and Frame Conservation Lab, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Retrieved 2 Dec 2020.
An interesting summary of the use of nails and screws in historical furniture.

Electronic Resources

In addition to the above print sources and the usual scouring of the Internet for information (Google, Pintrest, etc.) the following sites were viewed.