Elizabethan painted wooden trenchers decorated with verses
These painted wooden cutting-boards, made around AD 1600, would have been placed face down on a table and have held sugared fruits, marzipan or other sugary delicacies. After the food was eaten the trenchers would have been turned over to reveal the decoration and verses which would have been read aloud as entertainment.
Many of the boards in this set have been decorated with psalms and other biblical verses, as well as flowers, leaves, fruit and other motifs.
Originally a trencher was a flat piece of stale bread which would have been used as a plate and then either eaten at the end of the meal or given to the poor. Trenchers later evolved into small plates of metal or wood.
Elizabethan painted wooden trenchers
England, c. 1595–1600
Boards 10.5 x 13.5 cm
Box 15.5 x 12.5 x 2.5 cm