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Benches & Stools - General

Benches and stools are some of the first seats created by humans before modern chairs and sofas were designed. Footstools were used by kings or other high-profile dignitaries in ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire. These were made of bronze or iron and could be folded for easy portability. Although early stools could be decorative, the early history of stools and benches is purely utilitarian. Each bench or stool had a function, the simplest being to rest while eating.

The prayer kneeling bench, or prie dieu, has been used since the 17th century for kneeling while placing sacred texts or religious objects on its shelf. In the 17th century, the gout stool became popular among the wealthy for elevating the feet when one suffered from the unfortunate medical condition. Stools were also used to keep feet raised from cold floors by both the rich and poor classes. During the American Colonial period, the three-legged footstool became popular for its offer of better balance. As the furniture of Europe became more elaborate, so did the stools and benches. One innovative development in stools was the creation of the camel saddle stool originating in Egypt and other parts of North Africa. This seat or footstool is often minimilist in design, although aesthetically pleasing examples made from fine leather and woods can be found.

Benches were also utilitarian in form. They could be used for eating, sitting in church, or waiting for a train. Benches developed in terms of luxury and beauty along with the stool, eventually appearing alongside other European fine furniture as the settee. The mammy bench, or cradle settee, is one of the more creative designs for a bench. It is a bench on rockers with one side closed in for the placement of an infant and the other side open for a person to perform seated chores while rocking the baby.


Quick Facts

  • A contemporary Zaha Hadid Ordrupgaard bench sold for more than $67,000 at a Phillips auction in 2014
  • A contemporary Jenny Holzer truism footstool sold for $37,500 at a Phillips auction in 2014
  • An Antoni Gaudi bench sold for $549,557 at a Christie’s auction in 2011

Recommended Items at Auction

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Platform Seat - HURSTVILLE. Strap steel legs, good condition. (L244cm)
Oct 12, 10:00 AM AEDT
Platform Seat - HURSTVILLE. Strap steel legs, good condition. (L244cm)
by Davidson Auctions
Est: AUD80- AUD150
AUD42512 Bids
Vintage Manufacturing Rolling Tool Station
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Manufacturing Rolling Tool Station
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$60011 Bids
Platform Seat - LITHGOW. Strap steel legs. Some wood weathering and rust bubbles to legs. (L244cm)
Oct 12, 10:00 AM AEDT
Platform Seat - LITHGOW. Strap steel legs. Some wood weathering and rust bubbles to legs. (L244cm)
by Davidson Auctions
Est: AUD80- AUD150
AUD2009 Bids
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India MAHDAVI (Née en 1962) Tabouret «Picolo» - 2021
Oct 17, 10:30 AM CEST
India MAHDAVI (Née en 1962) Tabouret «Picolo» - 2021
by Artcurial
Est: €150- €200
€9008 Bids
Craftsman Rolling Stool
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Craftsman Rolling Stool
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$204 Bids
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India MAHDAVI (Née en 1962) Tabouret «Picolo» - 2021
Oct 17, 10:30 AM CEST
India MAHDAVI (Née en 1962) Tabouret «Picolo» - 2021
by Artcurial
Est: €100- €150
€1504 Bids
60in Steel Work Bench
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
60in Steel Work Bench
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$304 Bids
Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll Barcelona Black Leather Ottoman
Oct 15, 10:00 AM EDT
Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll Barcelona Black Leather Ottoman
by Atlanta Auction Gallery, ltd
Est: $400- $800
$2002 Bids
Alvar Aalto Artek Sweden Stool 60
Oct 15, 10:00 AM EDT
Alvar Aalto Artek Sweden Stool 60
by Atlanta Auction Gallery, ltd
Est: $150- $300
$602 Bids
A pine two seater bench
Oct 09, 12:00 PM AEDT
A pine two seater bench
by Christian McCann Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD75
AUD502 Bids
Contemporary Style Steel Park Bench
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Contemporary Style Steel Park Bench
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$252 Bids
Pedro Friedeberg Modern Silvered "Hand Foot Stool"
Oct 09, 12:00 PM EDT
Pedro Friedeberg Modern Silvered "Hand Foot Stool"
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $6,000- $8,000
$1,1002 Bids
Platform Seat - Plain Dark Green. Strap steel legs. Some wood weathering and rust bubbles to legs. L244cm
Oct 12, 10:00 AM AEDT
Platform Seat - Plain Dark Green. Strap steel legs. Some wood weathering and rust bubbles to legs. L244cm
by Davidson Auctions
Est: AUD60- AUD100
AUD402 Bids
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Vilhelm LAURITZEN (1894-1984) Paire de tabourets - modèle créé en 1940
Oct 17, 2:00 PM CEST
Vilhelm LAURITZEN (1894-1984) Paire de tabourets - modèle créé en 1940
by Artcurial
Est: €600- €800
€6001 Bid
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Christian LIAIGRE (1943-2020) Tabouret « Épave »
Oct 17, 10:30 AM CEST
Christian LIAIGRE (1943-2020) Tabouret « Épave »
by Artcurial
Est: €300- €500
€3001 Bid
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Christian LIAIGRE (1943-2020) Tabouret « Épave»
Oct 17, 10:30 AM CEST
Christian LIAIGRE (1943-2020) Tabouret « Épave»
by Artcurial
Est: €300- €500
€3001 Bid
PINE BENCH W/LIFT UP TOP
Oct 08, 9:00 AM CDT
PINE BENCH W/LIFT UP TOP
by Dees Auction Company,LLC
Est: $35- $65
$101 Bid
Furniture
Oct 13, 5:30 PM EDT
Furniture
by BLG Auction Services
Est: $0- $0
$21 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Benches & Stools - General


Uniques & Antiques

Uniques & Antiques

Kamelot Auctions

Kamelot Auctions

Artcurial

Artcurial

King Galleries

King Galleries