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Subject: 16th century joiner's marks

16th century joiner's marks

From: Ray Marchant <raymarhki>
Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Kate Lowry <kate.lowry [at] museumwales__ac__uk> writes

>I am looking at a 16th century painting on an oak panel consisting
>of six horizontal planks. One of the planks has some joiner's marks
>cut into it, which don't correspond to the adjacent plank. Four of
>the strokes are verticals but there is also a triangular mark
>pointing right. Does anyone have any information which could help to
>interpret these marks or explain their significance?

I have seen these marks several times on large boards in Dutch,
Flemish, French and English panels. The one thing they have in
common is I think they only occur on Baltic oak. They usually
consist of 3 or 4 straight marks made with a narrow hollow gouge,
about 10cm long x less than 1cm wide, either perpendicular to or at
an angle to the board edge. After discussion with Ian Tyers (a
dendrochronologist) we conclude that they are lading marks made when
cargo is on the docks, either a numbering or identification system.
Ian saw them on the top boards of stacks of Baltic Timber salvaged
from a wreck. Among notable examples there is the Battle of Pavia
panel treated at the Hamilton Kerr Institute in Cambridge, (I think
now at the Ashmoleum) and there was a panel shown recently at the
National Portrait Gallery (London) work in progress on Tudor panels.

I have some images on record, but would appreciate any more that
people would care to send so that we can be better informed as to
what these represent.

Ray Marchant
London studio of The Hamilton Kerr Institute
153a Ebury St.
London SW1W 9QN

                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:31
               Distributed: Wednesday, November 21, 2007
                       Message Id: cdl-21-31-002
Received on Tuesday, 6 November, 2007

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