16 Apr 2021
July 28, 2012 - Filed under: Antique Chairs — Richard

A rare Charles I joint stool, c.1630, sold for £15,625 at Bonham’s “The Oak Interior” sale – an auction in which a harlequin set of Charles II backstools from Lancashire and Cheshire realised £6,250.

These were just two of the highlights in a sale that traced more than four centuries of cabinetmaking history, beginning with a Gothic choir stool and child’s antique chest, both dated to 1500. A smattering of Victorian dining chairs and antique desks apart, the majority of items were 16th to 18th Century, meaning oak coffers and antique desk boxes took the place of Georgian chests-of-drawers and antique oak partners desks .

In the seating department, a set of aesthetic Victorian dining chairs by James Shoolbred attracted attention, although 19th Century designs were largely overruled by the joint stools, settles and panel-backed armchairs of an earlier age. Many of the chairs were single or paired lots, a reminder that, until the mid-1600s, the typical household would have just two true chairs; throne-like affairs reserved for the master and mistress. Everyone else would sit on backless stools or benches. Settles (benches with backs) were also used, with a particularly fine Lancashire example featuring in the Oak Interior Sale.

During the reign of Charles II people desired an increased level of comfort, which led to the development of the back-stool. Many of these originated from Lancashire, where antique dining tables had similarly evolved, communal refectory tables giving way to smaller gate-leg types.

Restoration-style back-stools and gate-leg tables go well together, and can be found in Lancashire antique dealers which, unlike auction houses, don’t charge hefty commission fees.

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