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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptyThu 17 Oct 2019, 15:43

Placed in the Architecture section because no point in having buildings that you cannot sit in if necessary. So.

In a recent prog about historical finds, a thimble was dug up - a very big thimble - but it turned out to be the tip of a chair leg - and ancient at that. I do believe a Roman villa was envisaged all about it as is the wont of imaginative archaeologists sometimes. However, getting bums off the ground must have bee a major development in making life better in ancient times and info on that would be of interest to me. Ancient Greeks even managed a dress circle (or semi circle) for their theatres, the rank and file also had benches Thrones from more ancient times have been found in tombs - and elegant at that. What of the lesser folk?. Res Hist input sought here.

(Kindly keep cattle off the track.)
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySat 19 Oct 2019, 10:29

Crass site etiquette to continue ones unanswered post but the topic of chairs has always fascinated.... I have interesting replicas in my own home including a large Barcelona chair that fills a space and a half where it is, not suitable for anywhere else and despite family remark not going anywhere either.

The use of thrones and design always catches my eye and I once broke up when I saw a pic of a cyclist Bradley someone sitting in a huge one after big ride. He who is in charge of it all gets the biggest chair. So not of interest to other posters here, thought  would round it up and think of a thread that might.... I use the Alph-ess sofa in our home; huge and soft-lumpy comfortable beyond words.... as chosen by grandsons as suitable for me -. and it is.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySat 19 Oct 2019, 10:51

Not a throne, but my typing chair needs replacing.  The mechanism for making it go higher or lower is broken.  I'm making do with a cushion on the chair temporarily but without a properly functioning typing chair the old back can ache (well mine can).  I might do some sleuthing on the internet to try and find out how long dedicated "typing" chairs have been in existence.

When the TV show Versailles was broadcast I looked at a couple of history blogs to glean information as to what was correct in the show and what amounted to flights of fancy.  One blogger said she was driven mad by the fact that most of the chairs used by the nobles in the series were armchairs whereas at that time only the king would have used an armchair.  I watched the first two seasons of the show but not season 3 because it seemed to move further from true history with each season.

One blog I looked at was Partylike1660.  I won't link because we are all adults and if anyone wishes to look it up they can use their search engine of choice.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySat 19 Oct 2019, 12:46

It should also not be forgotten that mobile transport developed greatly for getting people about on chairs.. carriages, cars, trains and planes. Horse too have been use in carrying people about - really useful sort of chairs, horses. And you have not matriculated into the higher designer ranks unless you come up with a designer chair.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySat 19 Oct 2019, 16:45

Who invented stools - jointed stools, that is, not just a bit of tree trunk?


I know being given a stool  - un tabouret? - at the court of Louis IV meant you really had arrived - but was it just for favoured, high-ranking ladies? The rules for who was allowed to sit on such a stool, and in whose presence, were very complex.


Chairs and Seating Arrangements 2Q==
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Nielsen
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySun 20 Oct 2019, 09:13

Temps,

Re to be given a tabouret, in Danish political lingo this has come to mean becoming a Government Minister, and so has 'someone who clings to his taburet' [Danish spelling - now without the non-silet 't' at the end].
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySun 20 Oct 2019, 10:34

The concept of the most important person present having the best, or perhaps only chair, is of course reflected in the term 'chairperson' for the one who 'chairs' a meeting.

One of the symbols of office of Roman magistrates holding imperium (ie. dictators, magistri equitum, consuls, praetors, aediles and magistrates - who all held different degrees of government or military authority) was their sella curulis, which was a folding chair. This was deliberately foldable and portable, unlike a potentate's throne, as it was used by military tribunes attached to the army often on the move, and by the city magistrates, who I believe often heard cases in public outside in the Forum. (Here, I'm thinking of Cicero's famous defence of the accused paricide, Sextus Roscius, which according to Tiron - Cicero's slave/secretary, later his biographer - was conducted publicly and in the open air, next to the Rostrum in the Forum). Accordingly wherever these officials set up their curule chair they were effectively in office and the court was legally in session. 

The Roman curule chair was traditionally made of, or veneered with, ivory, with curved legs forming a wide X, no back and low arm-rests. Although often luxuriously decorated this chair was meant to be uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time, the double symbolism being that the official was expected to carry out his public function in an efficient and timely manner and that his office, being an office of the republic, was temporary, not perennial.

This is a medieval Spanish curule chair - a Roman magistrate's chair would typically have been more lavishly decorated but this one clearly shows the folding X-shape, no back and very low arm-rests.

Chairs and Seating Arrangements Cerule-chair

Its status in early Rome as a symbol of political or military power carried over to other civilizations as a symbol of royal power and justice, although with European kings it was no longer portable, folding, backless nor deliberately uncomfortable. Here's James I standing next to a very well-padded, later development of the classic curule chair:

Chairs and Seating Arrangements James-I-with-curule-chair


Last edited by Meles meles on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 15:24; edited 7 times in total
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySun 20 Oct 2019, 11:16

Then there is "to be at stool" (to be on the loo), or even "straining at stool" - an old-fashioned term for constipation. Stool in this sense is rarely heard these days, but "stool" remains a bona fide medical term for human excrement - doctors still use the word in this sense all the time. Stool meaning -er- poo is derived from the Old English "stoi" meaning "a seat for one person": it has the same old German root as the modern German word for "seat" - "Stuhl".


The "close-stool", of course, was a chamber pot discreetly hidden in a chair. Henry VIII's "Groom of the Stole" (stool) was the unfortunate chap in charge of the proceedings on and around this important seat of government!




Chairs and Seating Arrangements 255px-CommodeStoolcirca1650


Last edited by Temperance on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 11:34; edited 2 times in total
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySun 20 Oct 2019, 11:28

Temps's mention of stools in the court of Louis XIV makes me think of some of the names for covered (furniture) stools - such as tuffets and pouffes and ottomans.  Are tuffets and pouffes the same item of furniture?  I tend to think of an ottoman as being a longer version of a covered stool and one where sometimes items could be stored in the base (if they were hollow).  A quick search on the internet showed that these types of furniture are still being manufactured.  I had thought perhaps they had fallen out of use.

Priscilla mentioned riding on horseback.  Does anyone know when ladies made the change from riding side-saddle to riding astride?  If that matter has been addressed on an earlier thread perhaps someone could point me in the direction of that thread.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySun 20 Oct 2019, 11:35

I notice Henry's close-stool has what appears to be a keyhole at the front. Why would one ever feel the need to lock it up to secure its contents?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySun 20 Oct 2019, 12:20

I suppose to Henry it was just a case of yet more little shits to be locked up.
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySun 20 Oct 2019, 21:54

Charles Hill, the radio doctor, defined a pathologist as "a man who sits on one stool to examine others". This is out of date in at least two ways - the bland assumption that the practitioner would be male, and the use of "stool" in this sense. Within the path lab in  my time we always referred to "feac" pots, samples, tests etc.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptyMon 21 Oct 2019, 12:01

Chair etiquette during all the Egyptian dynasties right up to the post-ptolemaic seems to have been particularly strict, at least for the upper classes. A woman of importance including even a queen, based on depictions spanning a thousand years, could apparently sit on any old thing - from a rock to a sumptuous gilded throne mounted on wheels and drawn by slaves, and in each case her status was not in question. The one thing she couldn't sit on - weirdly - was a fold-up stool. Only men indeed sat on them, and for long periods it appears that only the pharaoh himself got to perch his bum on the high-fashion version of this "humble" piece of furniture.

Why and how this tradition started is open to speculation, but certainly by Tutankhamun's time the humble little fold-up had become something of an item. In fact it wasn't even foldable any longer, if the ones found in his tomb were standard for men of such status. Three spectacularly preserved versions of these kingly cathedra were found by Howard Carter, two actual chairs and one beautiful model (it is assumed to be a model and equally conjectured to have been a foot-stool, though it so closely resembles similar royal stools depicted in many wall paintings that most favour the former theory).

Chairs and Seating Arrangements Fadb6c28f383a537a982471155700adb

The ebony top, carved to resemble material, is meant to denote leopard skin (with the colours curiously reversed). Leopards were already extinct in Upper Egypt by Tut's time and the motif is therefore more usually associated with Nubian tribute. The legs (which mimic collapsible stool design but are carved from a single piece of wood) however denote ducks, and it is this combination which suggests that it was locally made - the avian legs being a long-standing Egyptian motif for lots of things, while the stylised leopard motif had become fashionably associated with aristocracy. Only a local, it is reckoned, would have thought the two should aesthetically combine in this manner, a Nubian would have made the thing all leopard. I love the ebony tail, just to complete the "illusion".

An ivory stool found in the same chamber is full size - and though not pretending to be foldable as with the model above, it conforms to the dimensions of these strange little seats whose use was reserved solely for male pharaohs.

Chairs and Seating Arrangements 11-537256

Funnily enough, though it conforms to the required dimensions the above stool is the one that is most often misidentified as a foot-stool by amateurs writing books about the "boy king".

Going back to collapsible stuff Tut was buried with this marvellous hybrid - an actual foldable item which made it man-only, but this time of proportions much more befitting a royal arse of the Middle Kingdom. Probably by Tut's time some slight irritation had set in among male royals that they had to sit on picnic chairs to prove their status whereas their womenfolk could go the full chippendale, and so they'd pushed the foldable thing up a notch or two to see how high they could get.

Chairs and Seating Arrangements Images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRB8Ri0NITqOIn_eP8Ad5lupe2PUUGwInEGORjwShxluxaAzED3hQ

The above stool, of all those found in the tomb, was the only one to show signs of having been much used, and may even have been Tut's throne of choice.

I found a YouTube video which features almost all the chairs and stools Carter found - it's worth a look even if some of the info is a bit dubious.

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptyFri 25 Oct 2019, 16:48

It's odd how one's reading throws up details which are relevant to  a current thread on dear Res His - synchronicity or just random chance? In my quiet moments this week (of which there have been few), I have been ploughing my way through Diane Purkiss' excellent rich layer cake of a book, The English Civil War: A People's History. In her Chapter Four, The Bishops' War, the Three Kingdoms and Montrose, Purkiss mentions something I have never heard of before: the Stool of Repentance. Gosh -  it sounds a bad business:


To understand the Scots, one must understand the way the Kirk fostered a certain idea of collective identity, generating a powerful sense of sin, and then alleviating it with penitence. The Stool of Repentance was a wooden seat, often a kind of step-stool with different levels for different sins. It stood immediately in front of the pulpit, elevated to where everyone could see it. Those deemed immoral by the Church courts had to sit on it while a sermon was preached. The connection between the trembling example of sin before the eyes of the congregation and the words of the preacher was what made this punishment different from most English methods, in whiche the sinner was generally displayed by the church door rather than inside the building. In Scotland, words and spectacle were welded together into a single great theatrical event (my emphasis).


To emphasise the drama of it all, the sinner then made - from the Stool - an attention-grabbing "speech of repentance": note it was vitally important to be very dramatic indeed, preferably with much hysterical weeping and beating of - er - breasts. The relating of the exact details of the sins committed was encouraged. If the congregation was convinced, there was a joyous welcoming back into the fold of the fallen one, with kisses and hugs and more tears. Unfortunately, some young, female "sinners" embraced the drama of it all with rather too much gusto, and  proceeded to describe the often rather unfortunately salacious detail of their transgressions so vividly that they had, notwithstanding their remorse, to be shut up and removed from the Stool.

Seems everyone enjoyed the proceedings hugely. I wonder if the prostitutes of Edinburgh (were there any left in Scotland in the 17th century?) did as good a business after the Lord's Supper at St Giles', as did the 16th and 17th whores of Paris after Sunday Mass at Notre Dame?



Chairs and Seating Arrangements M391261_The-Repentance-Stool-from-Old-Greyfriars-Church

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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptyFri 25 Oct 2019, 21:42

In this week's "In Our Time" (BBC R4 yesterday) it was stated that Burns had to occupy such a stool because he had impregnated at least two women, and, at the time, was marrie to neither.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySat 26 Oct 2019, 09:19

Another coincidence! I didn't hear the programme this week, but will check it out on iPlayer.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Chairs and Seating Arrangements   Chairs and Seating Arrangements EmptySat 26 Oct 2019, 09:52

Going back a few posts, I suppose the keyhole is to enable the posh plush stool to be emptied (though I expect everyone knew that).  I'd heard of the repentance stool though never seen a picture of it - maybe I will join Temps in seeking out that programme on the iplayer.
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