As is so often the case with Antique Furniture, the first time a dealer sets eyes on a piece bells start ringing. When I first saw this  Pair of Regency Rosewood and Brass Gout Stools I knew I had seen something very similar illustrated somewhere. With their scrolling form, upholstered foot rests, scrolling brass appliques and bun feet I started delving

In  “Ackermann’s Regency Furniture and Interiors” Plate 58, published in 1813, shows several Footstools including this scrolling example and described in the text: ”This article possesses advantages that are not immediately seen on the first inspection, independent of the chasteness of the design: the angle of inclination given to the surface, receives the foot in its natural and most easy position; while the smaller part of the scroll serves as a stay for the heel and prevents the whole from being propelled forward; and in reversing the situation of the stool, by having the smaller scroll from you, it answers the purpose of a jambier or what is commonly called a comfort and ease. (Was this just a euphemism for relief from Gout?) They have been finished for drawing rooms in rose-wood with or-molu ornaments, and carved and gilt trusses and feet; also in bronze and gold, and in mat and burnished gold, covered with plain and painted velvets. The Chinese and Gothic are designs after the same plan.”

The term “gout” was initially used by Randolphus of Bocking, around 1200 AD. It is derived from the Latin word gutta, meaning “a drop” (of liquid). Gout has been known since antiquity. Historically, it was referred to as “the king of diseases and the disease of kings” or “rich man’s disease”. The first documentation of the disease is from Egypt in 2,600 BC in a description of arthritis of the big toe. Greek physician Hippocrates around 400 BC commented on it noting its absence in eunuchs and premenopausal women. In 1683, Thomas Sydenham, an English physician, described its occurrence in the early hours of the morning and its predilection for older males: “Gouty patients are, generally, either old men or men who have so worn themselves out in youth as to have brought on a premature old age—of such dissolute habits none being more common than the premature and excessive indulgence in venery and the like exhausting passions.”

The links to alcohol and rich food have often been written about and throughout the 18th and 19th. centuries Gout was predominantly linked with a high lifestyle and who better to personify this than The Prince Regent and all the flamboyance of the Regency Period so well displayed in this pair of footstools.

 

The term “gout” was initially used by Randolphus of Bocking, around 1200 AD. It is derived from the Latin word gutta, meaning “a drop” (of liquid). Gout has been known since antiquity. Historically, it was referred to as “the king of diseases and the disease of kings” or “rich man’s disease”. The first documentation of the disease is from Egypt in 2,600 BC in a description of arthritis of the big toe. Greek physician Hippocrates around 400 BC commented on it noting its absence in eunuchs and premenopausal women. In 1683, Thomas Sydenham, an English physician, described its occurrence in the early hours of the morning and its predilection for older males: “Gouty patients are, generally, either old men or men who have so worn themselves out in youth as to have brought on a premature old age—of such dissolute habits none being more common than the premature and excessive indulgence in venery and the like exhausting passions.”

The links to alcohol and rich food have often been written about and throughout the 18th and 19th. centuries Gout was predominantly linked with a high lifestyle and who better to personify this than The Prince Regent and all the flamboyance of the Regency Period so well displayed in this pair of footstools.

 

Antique Dealers are renowned for looking at the underneath of an object to see its true identity and one of the delights of this pair of stools was to see how very untouched the frames were when seen upside down. Obviously I have had them re-upholstered and covered in leather so the webbing etc. is new but all the feet and blockwork is just as it was on the day they were first made.

David Harvey

David Harvey

Managing Director

David Harvey is a well known Antiques Dealer who owns WR Harvey & Co (Antiques) Ltd, in the bustling Cotswold market town of Witney, Oxfordshire. He has a life long passion for fine antique furniture and works of Art. You may very well see him at prominent Antiques Fairs up and down the UK but you will always be more than welcome to call in and see him at the shop. His other passions include rowing and down-hill skiing.

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