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Savonarola Chair in Mid-Week at Stair

The Savonarola chair was first made as a folding/traveling throne chair for the Italian aristocracy and the Catholic hierarchy in late Medieval times. The chair is named for the controversial 15th century Florentine Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498) who was burned at the stake in Florence due to his outspoken prophecies and a call for Christian renewal. Ironically, Savonarola had his followers burn things of luxury and excess, due to his commitment to the poor in his ‘Bonfires of the Vanity’, and yet, he still felt comfortable in his own version of a portable throne, which can be seen today in the Convento di San Marco in Florence.

A Savonarola chair is specifically made up of a series of narrow wooden curved slats that all folded in unison. The backs were typically carved with a family crest, or a head of a person or animal, symbolizing the owner. Often the seat had a cushion of velvet or silk trimmed in an elegant style. The legs were joined to the flat feet that allowed the chair to sit level on uneven tiles or ground. This form caught on due to its versatility and function and became popular in many European countries.

Folding chairs were first used in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, when they were simple forms made of metal and wood. The folding chair continues to be in use today in a plethora of materials. The 20th Century designer John Vesey beautifully illustrates what a modern Savonarola chair looks like today (see image below).

We have on offer more than a dozen examples of highly carved Italian Renaissance Style Savonarola chairs from the Estate of David Marks in our February 9th & 10th auction.

Time & Location

Mid-Week at Stair
February 9 & 10  at 11am

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