Welsh dresser – 1830s house, St Fagan’s


Welsh dresser, 1830s house, National History Museum of Wales, St Fagan’s

I think that one of the greatest joys in life is a well-designed museum. Whatever the subject matter, you can come away after a visit, uplifted, entertained and educated. As a museum professional, I rejoice every time I go to St Fagan’s. Not just because it means I am only 15 miles away from a branch of my family, but because I regard the National History Museum of Wales as being an object lesson in good museum design.

This photograph shows a room from one of a series of identical row houses, each one decorated and furnished as they were at successive periods in history – a splendid idea. This is the kitchen in the 1830s house, and shows a typical Welsh dresser. It holds turned wooden platters (treenware), pewter platters and plates (similar pewter items had been used since the Middle Ages), pewter mugs, and painted and transfer-printed stoneware and china jugs and mugs. The child’s chair to the right has simple turned legs, and appears to be in beech. No, your eyes are not deceiving you. The stone-tiled floor is heavily sloping – right to left – look at the framed print on the wall!
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