The very charming little stool, Fig. 222, similar both in design and county of origin to the chair from Barking Church, may be described as the 1600 type. The inverted thumb-moulded frieze, carved with a centred gadroon, is applied over the upper squares of the delicately-turned and fluted legs. The stretcher-railing is kept low to give the maximum of strength.

Upholstered chairs of the kind shown in Fig. 223, usually known as farthingale chairs, were not unusual in great houses shortly after 1600. In the Presence Chamber at Hardwick is a large set, with backs so dwarfed as to suggest that the chair was intended for use sideways, with the low back acting as an arm. The theory that these backs were provided as a concession to the large hooped skirts of the period is not tenable, as any back would incommode a lady dressed in this manner, whether high or low. That the stretcher-rails were used, apart from their constructional purpose, to keep the feet from the floors of this period, - which were often in a questionable state of cleanliness, - is more probable, but no chair-railing could obviate the ordeal of entering or leaving a room. Perhaps avenues in the rush-strewn floors were provided for ladies, or those who were over-nice in their habits.

The Oak Chair Table, Fig. 230.

Fig. 231. The Oak Chair-Table, Fig. 230. - Shown with top raised.

These early padded back chairs, with squab-cushioned seats, were nearly always covered with rich fabrics, often an applique of gold or silver braiding on a ground of cut-pile velvet, generally of Italian, but sometimes of French origin. That these coverings were imported is suggested by the fact that petit-point needlework or tapestry, - the making of both of which was an English art at this date, and the usual leisure-hour recreation of the noble dame and her attendants, - was so rarely used. It also suggests the further possibility that these rich fabrics were brought back to England as tourist spoils of a foreign town, and their size and shape, - bearing in mind that a finished applique panel cannot be altered easily, - may have dictated the form and proportions of these chairs. In the case of the fine set at Hardwick, there is no doubt that the coverings were designed and made for the chairs, but there are also evidences that this was not always the case. It is at the other end of the century that the age of gorgeous fabrics commences, after the Huguenots had been expelled from France with fire and sword. At the commencement of the sixteenth century, upholstery fabrics of any kind must have been exceptional, even in the houses of the wealthy, if we except every way, compared with the rich ■ and finely-designed chair below. The shaping of the under-side of the arm remains a popular pattern for half a century. It will be noticed again in Figs. 234 and 235, two chairs some fifty years later in date.

Hickory Arm Chair.

Fig. 232. Hickory Arm-Chair. - Dated 1633. - Height of back from floor, 3 ft. Height of seat, 17 3/4 ins. Width of seat at front, 22 1/2 ins. Width of seat at back, 18 ins. Depth of seat, front to back, 16 ins.

The very charming little stool, Fig. 222, similar both in design and county of origin to the chair from Barking Church, may be described as the 1600 type. The inverted thumb-moulded frieze, carved with a centred gadroon, is applied over the upper squares of the delicately-turned and fluted legs. The stretcher-railing is kept low to give the maximum of strength.

Upholstered chairs of the kind shown in Fig. 223, usually known as farthingale chairs, were not unusual in great houses shortly after 1600. In the Presence Chamber at Hardwick is a large set, with backs so dwarfed as to suggest that the chair was intended for use sideways, with the low back acting as an arm. The theory that these backs were provided as a concession to the large hooped skirts of the period is not tenable, as any back would incommode a lady dressed in this manner, whether high or low. That the stretcher-rails were used, apart from their constructional purpose, to keep the feet from the floors of this period, - which were often in a questionable state of cleanliness, - is more probable, but no chair-railing could obviate the ordeal of entering or leaving a room. Perhaps avenues in the rush-strewn floors were provided for ladies, or those who were over-nice in their habits.

The Oak Chair Table, Fig. 230.

Fig. 231. The Oak Chair-Table, Fig. 230. - Shown with top raised.

These early padded back chairs, with squab-cushioned seats, were nearly always covered with rich fabrics, often an applique of gold or silver braiding on a ground of cut-pile velvet, generally of Italian, but sometimes of French origin. That these coverings were imported is suggested by the fact that petit-point needlework or tapestry, - the making of both of which was an English art at this date, and the usual leisure-hour recreation of the noble dame and her attendants, - was so rarely used. It also suggests the further possibility that these rich fabrics were brought back to England as tourist spoils of a foreign town, and their size and shape, - bearing in mind that a finished applique panel cannot be altered easily, - may have dictated the form and proportions of these chairs. In the case of the fine set at Hardwick, there is no doubt that the coverings were designed and made for the chairs, but there are also evidences that this was not always the case. It is at the other end of the century that the age of gorgeous fabrics commences, after the Huguenots had been expelled from France with fire and sword. At the commencement of the sixteenth century, upholstery fabrics of any kind must have been exceptional, even in the houses of the wealthy, if we except the state or principal bedchambers, the only apartments in which some degree of luxury was attempted at this period, as we have seen in the concluding chapter of the first volume of this work.

Hickory Arm Chair.

Fig. 232. Hickory Arm-Chair. - Dated 1633. - Height of back from floor, 3 ft. Height of seat, 17 3/4 ins. Width of seat at front, 22 1/2 ins. Width of seat at back, 18 ins. Depth of seat, front to back, 16 ins.