15th Century Flemish coffer made of oak

Contributed by Haslemere Museum

15th Century Flemish coffer made of carved oak.  Probably a woman's finery box.  Copyright Haslemere Educational Museum.

This coffer is the oldest item in the European Peasant Art Collection at Haslemere Educational Museum.This coffer was collected during the late Victorian period by Rev Gerald Davies, a master at Charterhouse School in Godalming. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, Davies travelled in Europe between 1885 and 1908 collecting about 600 peasant art objects. At this time traditional arts and crafts were considered under threat from modern ideas and technology. Davies collected pieces that were considered as authentic peasant art, not made for sale but for use - 'for love not for money'. In 1909 Davies sold his collection for a nominal fee to the Haslemere Peasant Art Society, which was founded in 1897 by like minded thinkers who wished to preserve these examples of traditional handicraft and also used them to inspire local craft workshops and weaving houses. Combined with the Peasant Art Society collections they became the Peasant Art Handicraft Museum. In 1926 they were given to Haslemere Educational Museum.

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