Pair of Curule Footstools, Boston 1820-1830
Each with a rectangular upholstered seat cushion on a conforming molded frame raised on a curule base with a turned stretcher. Secondary Wood: white pine
H: 15″, W: 14½”, D: 12½” each
Condition: Excellent; small veneer patches to the seat frame and one turned boss replaced. Re-finished with shellac in the manner of the period. Modern upholstery, one stool retaining original upholstery webbing.
Curule-base furniture is among the most “archeologically accurate” evocations of ancient classical furniture forms adopted for use in the Classical Revival of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Curule furniture was depicted in ancient Greek vases and wall painting unearthed in excavations in southern Italy in the second quarter of the eighteenth century. The design was quickly applied to chairs, stools, sofas and tables by French and English furniture designers and arbiters of taste such as Percier & Fontaine, Thomas Sheraton, Thomas Hope and George Smith. Their published design directories influenced cabinet-makers all over the western world by 1810.
A curule stool by Duncan Phyfe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is seen here.
 Carswell Rush Berlin, Solid and Permanent Grandeur: The Design Roots of American Classical Furniture, (The International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show catalog, 2002), p.17-26.