M. Markley Antiques



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               Antique Chairs, Benches, Thrones, and Beds
                            Gothic, Renaissance, Louis XIII, Louis XIV

For prices, additional photos, and more information about each item, CLICK on the photo, plus check out our page of Recent Arrivals.

For more information about the history of chairs, scroll down below the photo gallery.

#3214-Gothic thone high-backed Armchair
#5119 - 12 Gothic Dining Chairs
#5116 - 6 Gothic Dining Chairs in Walnut
4193-fauteuils-dagobert              4193-fauteuils-dagobert
#4193 - Pair of Renaissance Dagobert Style Chairs
#5127A (2 sofas), 5127B (2 armchairs), 5127C (4 side chairs) - Set based on The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries



#4124 - Eight Leather Dining Chairs

#5188 - Pair of Gothic Armchairs or Caquetoires



#9340 - 8-gothic-dining-chairs
#9340 - 8 Gothic Dining Chairs

#3110-2 Renaissance style chairs
#3110 - 2 Renaissance Chairs

#4183 - Gothic Bench in Oak
#4121 - Gothic Bench

#3112 - Renaissance Bench in Walnut
4130-renaissance bench
#4130 - Renaissance Bench in Walnut and Leather
#4127 - Renaissance Throne Chair
#4107 - Six Gothic Dining Chairs
#4128 - Six Renaissance Dining Chairs in Leather



#3106 - Pair of Louis XIV Style Chairs
#3106 - Pair of Louis XIV Chairs 
#3222-Pair of Louis XIV Chairs
#3222A - Pair of Louis XIV Chairs 

#3212 - Louis XIV Love-Seat and Pair of Chairs



#3105 Pair of Louis XIV Armchairs
#3214-Gothic thone high-backed Armchair
#3214 - Gothic Throne Chair
4118-2 Gothic Armchairs (caquetoires)
#4118 - Pair of Gothic Armchairs or Caquetoires
4149-French Gothic Caquetoires
#4149 - Pair of Gothic Caquetoires



#3310-Renaissance Armchairs
#3310 - Renaissance Armchairs
4129-pair of renaissance chairs
#4129 - Pair of Renaissance Side Chairs



#4116 - Savonarola Chair with Medici Coat-of-Arms

#3221-2 "X" Chairs
#3221 - 2 Savonarola "X" Chairs



#1023 - Louis XIV Style Chair
 #1023 - Louis XIV Chair
#3211-Gothic Armchair
#3211 - Gothic Armchair
#3212-Pair of Louis XIII Chairs
#3312 - Louis XIII Chairs
#3301-Pair of Renaissance Tuscan Armchairs
#3301 - Pair of Renaissance Tuscan Armchairs



#3087 - 14 Louis XIII Style Chairs
#3087 - Louis XIII Chairs
(only 4 are left)

#9221 - 4 Gothic Style Chairs Leather Upholstery
#9221 - 4 Gothic Chairs
Leather Upholstery

#5195 - Gothic Archairs or Caquetoires
5137-gothic-bench              #5137 - Gothic Bench in Oak with Angels and Lions
#3211-Gothic Armchair
#3245 Italian Walnut Bed Suitable for Queen Size Mattress

3313B - 6 Gothic Dining Chairs
#3313A - 4 Gothic Dining Chairs
#4126 - Gothic Throne Chair

#5101 - Elaborately Carved Savonarola Chairs

4180A-Gothic high-backed chair
 #4180A - Gothic Chair 
4180B-Gothic armchair
 #4180B - Gothic Chair 
#5121 - 8 Gothic Chairs in Chestnut and Upholstered in Leather
#4120 - 12 Italian Dining Chairs Upholstered in Leather



3109-Louis XIV chair with lion heads
#3109 - Louis XIV Lion Chair
3109-Louis XIV chair with lion heads
#4173 - Gothic Bench 
9410-4-leather dining chairs
#9410 - 4 Renaissance Dining Chairs in Leather
#3231-Pair of Savonarola Chairs
#3231 - Pair of Savonarola Chairs


#4110 - Six Gothic Dining Chairs in Walnut with Leather Seats
#3308 - Eight Dining Chairs in Walnut and Leather
#3202-8 Dining Chairs
#3202 - 8 Renaissance Dining Chairs

About Chairs

Perhaps more than any other category of antique furniture, the chair has had an overriding social function in addition to allowing us to take a load off our feet.   Three-legged stools and benches without backs were used by those on the lowest rungs of society's ladder in early European times while the more fortunate had four-legged stools and benches with back rails for meals at long, communal tables.  In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, high-backed chairs were used by the lord of the manor as his seat of authority, often raised on platforms.  By Louis XIV's time, the styles of seating and their accoutrements were highly detailed and regulated - an effective means of imposing and enforcing rank on courtiers at Versailles.  Hangers-on were seated on large pillows while the nobility were permitted to sit on upholstered chairs with backs.

The earliest types of chairs include benches comprised of a chest with the addition of a back and arms.  Such benches were typically arrayed around the entry hall of a castle or against the walls of the main reception room.  Draped with fabric and covered in cushions, they were the ultimate in Medieval style and comfort.  A further tweaking of the bench design for a single occupant became the chayère or chaire with a high back and solid arms and its cousin the cathèdre or bishop's seat.  Tall chairs with high backs and sides had the advantage of protecting the sitter from  drafts and of concentrating heat from the fireplace, as depicted in the illustrations to Viollet-le-Duc's 19th century treatise entitled Le Mobilier Médiéval (Medieval Furniture).  Except when in use, the chairs were typically displayed with their backs up against a wall and hence the backs were unadorned.

Apart from benches, early French chairs were variations on a Roman theme.  For example, a style of chair whose history is as old as Europe itself is the "Savonarola" or "X" chair which evolved from the folding chair taken by the commanders of ancient Rome on their military campaigns.  Later, after a French invasion of Tuscany, it became associated with their Florentine ally, Savonarola.  The chairs named after the 15th century monk are still visible throughout his one-time home, the monastery of San Marco in Florence.  In the 19th century these chairs enjoyed a resurgence of popularity, lending an unmistakable Gothic or Renaissance aura to a room.

Another popular design in the Middle Ages was the caquetoire - a wooden armchair with a narrow back and a trapezoidal seat.  This shape is referred to 'as in the manner of Tallemouze' referring to a triangular puff pastry which was the ancestor of the modern cheesecake.

Especially in the dining room, the height of chair backs became important with the male head of household or the ancestry accorded the chair with the highest back.  The next highest would be reserved for his wife.  A particularly honored guest would be offered the host's chair placed at the head of the table.

By the time of Louis XIII's reign in the 17th century, chairs were lighter weight and more open with padded seats and low backs and an "H" shaped stretcher forming a stable base.  The long and prosperous reign of Louis XIV, however, saw greater variation along with elaborate carving and rich upholstery.  The backs of chairs became higher, curving gently at the top and the arms took on a curved shape as well.

During the 19th century revival of interest in Gothic and Renaissance styles, benches and caquetoires were particularly popular.  However, the need for the comfort afforded by dining chairs, as opposed to benches, led to the adoption of Gothic styling for dining room chairs.   Backs of chairs lent themselves to the overall form of a Gothic arch enclosing an upholstered panel or hand-carved fenestrage (tracery).



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