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There are many designs and styles of antique benches and stools. These designs can be classified according to the period in which they were manufactured. Here is a glimpse of some of the most notable antique bench and stool styles in past centuries:
Victorian antique benches and stools are some of the most widely available designs preserved today. The design for these antique benches and stools resemble Gothic and Rococo Revival styles, full of curved lines and intricate carving. Many of these benches and stools were made with wrought iron and dark oak materials.
Mid-century benches and stools were manufactured approximately from 1933 to 1965. Many mid-century benches and stools are distinguished by the use of solid-colored fabric and straight angled designs.
Arts and Crafts
This particular style of antique benches and stools had a highly distinctive style. It became widespread in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was the style following the industrial age, and harkened back to earlier times and traditional tastes. Pieces from this era have earthy details and often incorporate motifs from the natural world.
These antique benches and stools were manufactured during the reign of King Louis XVI in France. Louis XVI furniture often features carved visible wooden legs and seats upholstered with rich fabrics like velvet or brocades.
Any furniture enthusiast will probably recognize this name. The Chippendale style incorporates ornate Gothic-style tracery and mahogany accents. This particular style became widespread in England in the 1700s.
In general, there are two types of antique stools that were manufactured: bar and kitchen stools.
Benches may include several types:
Benches and stools can be made from various kinds of wood. There are two main categories of wood: hardwood and softwood. Hardwoods include mahogany, oak, walnut, teak, maple and others. Softwoods include pine, spruce, fir and more. Generally, hardwood is more highly valued.
Many benches and stools, especially those designed for outdoor use, are made of wrought iron. This is an iron alloy with a rough texture that can appear to have a wood-like grain. It is very heavy, which can be useful outdoors in strong wind.
Stools and benches are also made of metals. Steel and aluminum are the most common metals used in furniture manufacturing.
Often, benches and stools are upholstered with fabric or leather. Suede or synthetic leather or vinyl are some common materials. Many types of fabrics are used. They may include velvet, brocade, silk, cotton, or wool.
Many stools and benches that sell for high prices at auction are of Chinese origin. A set of four Ming Dynasty stools made of huanghuali wood sold for $861,551 at Sotheby’s in 2015.
A huanghuali bench from the same era went for $483,655 in 2020 at Sotheby’s.
Also in 2020, Christie’s sold a 1992 bench made of bronze and shaped like a jaguar. Made by Judy Kensley McKie, it went for $200,000.
Leah Illingworth is a content specialist here at Mearto. She loves learning and writing about art and antiques each day in addition to exploring the history and stories behind art movements and objects.