huge and stately, richly carved and handsome, with perpendicular backs, flat, square seats, and arms. They could scarcely have been considered comfortable. They were made of oak, walnut, and other woods, without upholstery, though cushions of leather, silk, and velvet were used with them.
The curule chair, or faldstool (fcildisteriumy, sometimes called the Savonarola chair, was smaller and more comfortable. It was fashioned on a Roman model, in the form of a curved X, and was frequently constructed as a folding chair. It became especially popular in Florence and Venice during the sixteenth century, where it was often made of Italian walnut, carved and sometimes gilded, and frequently furnished with a back and seat of stretched velvet or leather, or with a wooden seat upon which a cushion was placed. Toward the end of the century, chairs were occasionally upholstered in silk, tapestry, brocade, or leather, and there was a stiff, rather ugly, all-wood chair. Carved stools and settees were also common in the homes of the period.
The tables of the Renaissance were less stiff and ugly than those which had preceded them. The typical Renaissance table was oblong and supported at the ends by solid carved and shaped supports or consoles, often terminating in large claw or scroll feet, and usually connected by a heavy stretcher or a lower shelf, upon which smaller supports sometimes rested. These tables were often made so high as to seem impractical from the modern point of view. They were frequently richly embellished with inlay and gilding as well as carving. The tops were thick planks, or sometimes slabs of marble or Florentine mosaic.
Coffers and chests were common adjuncts, particularly the cassone, or marriage chest, intended for the trousseau and wedding gifts. It was the lineal descendant of the medieval chest, and was made of solid walnut or chestnut, sometimes oak, and occasionally of cypress or camphor wood. Some examples are shaped like sarcophagi; others have perpendicular sides and ends. Some are carved with scrolls and figures; others are painted and gilded or ornamented with intarsia and fine gesso work. Often they are masterpieces of ornament. There was also a higher form of chest, called a bahut.
These are the principal pieces of furniture that interest the collector. Elaborately carved buffets and credences are sometimes to be seen. Several new forms were introduced about 1600, adding greater variety to the home furnishings, though less admirable in their workmanship—serving-tables
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