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Folding Stool

Decorative Arts and Design

When it was new, this stool was part of the winter furnishings of the bedchamber of the Comtesse d’Artois at the Palace of Versailles. Seating furniture and the etiquette of its use held meaning in royal courts. Chairs with backs and arms were largely reserved for royalty. Everyone else sat on tabourets or stools.

A certain duchess at the court of King Louis XIV felt that her status entitled her to sit in an armchair. Society leaders disagreed and required her to sit on a tabouret instead. Rather than submit to such humiliation, the duchess refused to sit at all and spent every long hour in society standing.
MEDIUM Gessoed and gilded beech, velvet
  • Place Made: Versailles, France
  • DATES ca. 1773
    DIMENSIONS 21 x 26 x 20 1/2 in. (53.3 x 66 x 52.1 cm)
    MARKINGS no marks
    SIGNATURE no signature
    INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Estate of Mary Hayward Weir
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Folding stool, of beech, gessoed and gilded, transitional Louis XVI-XV style. "X" frame with legs round in section, carved with spirals and elongated acanthus leaves at juncture of legs is rosette with bolt in center. Two stretchers joining the four legs at terminals heavily carved with foliate scrolls. One of a set of twelve made for the winter furnishing of the bedroom of the Comtesse d'Artois at Versailles. Stool currently covered with an old, but not original, rose red cover with gold fringe. According to old photos it was formally upholstered in old gold velvet with red and white braid and tasseled fringe. CONDITION - Excellent. Upholstery of course is not original.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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