Some Notes on Finishing and Painting Furniture
Medieval tastes and traditions in furniture decoration varied over time and between regions. Very few examples of original surfaces survive, as most surviving pieces have been refinished numerous times over hundreds of years. While modern finishes are easy to spot, it is very hard to discern a 400-year-old finish on a 600 year-old artifact. The problem is compounded by the selective survival of artifacts; the pieces that have survived tend to be those that were highly valued and well cared for. This tends to exclude many common household objects and much of what was owned by the middle and lower classes.