TWO CLASSICAL CARVED MAHOGANY STOOLS OR “TABOURETTES”
Boston, c. 1830
An upholstered slip seat above a veneered plinth supported on two sides by a carved anthemion held in carved S scrolls connected by a bold turned stretcher. A paper label affixed to the seat base identifies the piece as a “Tabourette.”
H: 18½” W: 22″ D: 18″ / H: 17″ W: 23″ D: 23′
Condition: Excellent, upholstery tape worn at the corners.
This stool design comes down to us from classical antiquity, becoming part of the lexicon of contemporary furniture design when Charles Heathcote Tatham, a draughtsman for the Regency architect, Henry Holland, published his highly influential book of drawings of Roman ruins and architectural elements in 1799. While researching classical design in Rome, he drew an “Antique Seat in Parian Marble in a Chapel Near Rome” and published it in Examples of Ancient Ornamental Architecture (London, 1799). This bench, with scrolled supports with lion’s paw feet flanking an anthemion, inspired designs for seats and tables throughout the 19th century in France, England and the US. Sustained interest in Classicism supported the reissuing of Tatham’s book four more times, in 1803, 1810, 1826 and 1843. George Smith adopted Tatham’s study of the Roman seat in 1808 in his Collection of Designs for Household Furniture (pl. 34), a highly influential design directory owned by many cabinetmakers in England and the US. Many Boston-made examples of this stool, based on Tatham’s drawing, survive with small variations, probably by the same maker.
 Carswell Rush Berlin, Solid and Permanent Grandeur: The Design Roots of American Classical Furniture International Fine Art and Antiques Dealers Show Catalog (New York: Haughton Shows, 2002), 17-26.