16th Century Castle Court Cupboard

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Of semi-hexagonal section, the superstructure with a serpentine crest inscribed with the arms of the Earl of Derby above an arrangement of carved reliefs above a small panelled door flanked by gadrooned columns over a base with an ogee-panelled door flanked by conforming angled panels on an egg and dart-moulded plinth, the whole piece carved with narrative tableau and portraits relating to Mary, Queen of Scots.

This fascinating piece is almost certainly a pastiche of a 16th century English gothic cupboard. The Earl of Derby was one of the peers who was present at the trial of Mary in 1586. The Stanleys and DeVeres were branches of the Derby family, the latter though marriage to the daughter of the Earl of Oxford. The tableau at the top depicts Queen Elizabeth signing the death warrant and presumably one of Mary’s retainers, takes exception, hence drawing his sword. This is a well-carved and amusing piece with great relevance to the Derby family; perhaps made by a skilled craftsman at the time as a present on behalf of a friend.

The names and images of the following royal members are found carved onto the cabinet in various places; The writing is Olde English:


Queen Elizabeth I

Mary, Queen of the Scots

William Stanley, The Earl of Derby

Elizabeth (deVere) Stanley, Countess of Derby and Lord of Mann

King Henry VII

King Henry VIII


Measures 8 1/2′ tall.