Do You Really Mean Court Cupboard?
We highly literate 21st-century people can easily misunderstand equally, but differently, literate 17th-century people. Our literacy links word to object, for we actually use words to put objects into categories and subcategories.
So, to take an example, we put a court cupboard into a different category from a press cupboard, a livery cupboard, or a serving table. And we know what each one looks like.
In the 17th century, by contrast, function was more important than form, a court cupboard was used for serving, and the Great Hall at Knole contains a superb example built into the paneling on the right of the screen. Today, we would probably call it a serving table. But it is, quite literally, a court cupboard. It is a low ("court") board ("board") for the display and use of serving vessels ("cups"),
Then, in a photo of a 19th-century banquet in the Great Hall at Knole, the long table on the left has become the court cupboard, one that is very similar to the one in the 1672 engraving of a royal banquet. The contemporary key to the engraving calls the serving tables along the right hand wall "court cupboards."