What do you call a small ottoman?

Decorative Arts Furniture History

“We no longer think of chairs as technology; we just think of them as chairs. But there was a time when we hadn't worked out how many legs chairs should have, how tall they should be, and they would often 'crash' when we tried to use them...”

Somewhere down the line, someone thought to themselves, "As nice as sitting on a chair is, surely we can improve upon the practice." This week we turn our attention to footstools, footrests, ottomans, tabourets, benches and whatever else you may call them. Simply put, a seat without a back.

Footstools can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, where you would have needed one to access your high throne. If you are wondering why the throne was not made at a reasonable height instead, try to picture a little child climbing on adult-sized seating. Now, wouldn't you want to see the most powerful person in your land do that?

In the Ancien Régime of France, Anne of Austria once granted tabourets to two untitled women. This was an honour, as only those with the title of Duchess were previously allowed to sit in the presence of the Queen. Soon, the permission to sit in front of the Regent became a status symbol, and being given a seat  upon entering their chamber was an indication of this permision. As interiors became more casual in the private apartments of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, reclining became more comfortable, seat widths expanded and footstools became a common supplement to the bergère. During the gilded age of New York, American heiresses fashioned the most ornate tabourets which doubled as homes to their pampered pups. Examples of these can be found at the Frick in New York City, as well as the Metropolitan Museum. 

What do you call a small ottoman?

We asked you a simple question on our instagram this week, and your responses did not disappoint.

Submission - Chottoman 
Also suggested- Chottttoman (emphasis on the accent)

To this we ask, do you treat your children like little people?

Submission- Grace, Too Much Loved, a drop of golden sun

These are all very well received, specially by our Louis XV benches who strive for grace and light
Submission- Susan

We thank you for acknowledging that footstools are people too.
Submission- Ottolad

Here are a bunch of fine lads attempting to form a ladder

The answer, of course, is an ottoboy. 

We love footstool because they find a function after their own form. A cushioned one can serve as extra seating or a footrest, one with a wooden top could be step ladder, a shelf in the corner of a room or could hold a vase. You could also get the best of both with a detachable cushion.  

The duchesse brisée said, I lost 20% of my couch. Ouch!
We do apologise for the excellent jokes. 

You can click on the photos to explore more. For more information on any piece, simply leave a comment.

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