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Door with Cat Hole
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Door with Cat Hole

Description Provenance Credit
Description This door, decorated with panels carved in a linen-fold pattern, was probably a back or interior door of a middle-class home. It is remarkable for its cat hole. Cats were primarily kept as working mousers at a time when there was no refrigeration and spoiling grain could tempt mice. Few doors with cat holes have survived from this early period, but the 14th-century English writer Geoffrey Chaucer described one in the "Miller's Tale" from his "Canterbury Tales." In the narrative, a servant, whose knocks go unanswered, uses the hole to peek in: "An hole he foond, ful lowe upon a bord/ Ther as the cat was wont in for to crepe,/ And at the hole he looked in ful depe,/ And at the last he hadde of hym a sighte."
Provenance Baron Cassel van Doorn; Blumka Gallery, New York, November, 1969; Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, 1969, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase with funds provided by the S. & A.P. Fund, 1969

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1450-1500 (Late Medieval)
wood (oak)
Accession Number
without hinges: 68 1/2 x 36 3/16 x 1 3/4 in. (174 x 91.9 x 4.39 cm)


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