A post about 17th and 18th century Stools.

09 Feb


Chairs became the most usual form of seating comparatively recently. Couches, benches and above all, stools were far more common until the 17th century. Chairs existed from earliest times, but they were reserved for heads of households, for the  sovereign and for important dignitaries.

However, I am not including chairs in this post . It is all about stools and if you scroll down to see all of the examples maybe you would like to let me know which is your favourite . My favourite is the very first early Joint Stool c 1600.


Very early stools were often three- legged – the legs were driven into holes in the round or triangular seats and were almost always made of oak. Folding stools of the X shape popular since ancient Egyptian days, were made as well as footstools, either of oak or walnut, apparently made their appearance in the 16th century. It seems that the greatest number of early stools to be found nowadays are the sturdy oak joined stools. These were often made in sets and would have been stored sideways, seats outermost under the framed dining tables with which they were used

Early Joint Stool c 1600.




There were many more luxurious stools made of walnut and gilded or painted and upholstered to match sets of chairs It is likely that many of these stools were thrown away when the upholstery wore out, or that the walnut or beech framework were the victims of woodworm, which is why nearly all surviving  17th century ( and earlier) furniture is of the more durable oak..

From the Restoration period and before Charles 1’s  time, furniture included many stools and footstools upholstered to match the chairs which they nearly always outnumbered. Stools had rich carvings and were upholstered with, velvet, Turkey – work,  braids, fringes silk, wool or metal threads around the edge.


The 18th century brought still more comfort in the form of upholstery and needlework coverings for chairs and the stool began to lose its place as a major item of seating furniture, as winged chairs, settees and daybeds began to appear. However, during the transitional period up to about 1730, stools continued to be made for drawing – room use. They were generally made of walnut, for mahogany had not yet become widely used for furniture – making, but gilded and japanned examples are occasionally to be found. Many of these were originally made in sets, matching chairs and settees .Later in the 18th century  window stools with curved ends began to feature in the interior design. These were wider that the earlier stools and were often decorated only on the fronts, the back-rails and legs receiving little attention.

18th Century upholstered stool

In the Adam period window seats had three legs in front and only two at the back. Exotic Grecian and Egyptian style stools were included in Thomas Hope’s rich interior designs and much Regency furniture was being made such as X shaped stools and music stools made of mahogany with brass inlays.   The Victorians by contrast, used stools in far more cluttered informal arrangements, but on the whole they did not sit on them except at the piano. The also used footstools in profusion. These were round, oval rectangular or square and covered in, velvet, beads or Berlin wool-work and had elaborate braids or tassled fringes.

Regency X shaped stool c 1810

Victorian Mahogany Window seat.

Victorian Rosewood Window Seat

Victorian Footstool Hand Embroidered.




Posted by on February 9, 2019 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “A post about 17th and 18th century Stools.

  1. Linnea Tanner

    February 10, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Love the photographs of the beautiful stools!


    • ritaroberts

      February 11, 2019 at 6:02 pm

      Thank you Linnea. They are rather lovely aren’t they.



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