Materials and Techniques:
Walnut legs and beech frame; upholstery in embroidery of wool and silk, the back and sides covered in glazed wool, the cushions lined with kid skin.
In the 1690s upholstered settees formed part of the lavish furnishings of state rooms in great houses, which were created to display the wealth and status of the owner to visitors. They were not for day-to-day use. Often settees were supplied for the state bedrooms, along with sets of chairs to match. They were arranged around the walls of the room. The upholstery would match the hangings on the bed. This settee was probably made for Hampton Court, Herefordshire, for Thomas, Lord Coningsby (1656-1729), but we do not know which room it was for. It is unusual for the upholstery to have survived untouched.
High-backed furniture was ideal for showing off expensive, brightly coloured fabrics. Unfaded fragments of the cover of this settee reveal strong red and yellow tones, contrasting with the blue braid and fringing. The settee is in the form of the 1690s, with a shaped top rail, outward-curving wings and scrolled arms.
The cover is decorated with cross-stitch embroidery with a floral pattern imitating damask, a woven fabric. The legs and stretchers between them are carved and turned walnut, ebonised (painted black to look like ebony), with traces of gold stencilling.