Homes and Garden Journal

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An Antique Settee Speaks of Grace and Elegance

An antique settee is a joy to behold. If you are lucky enough to happen upon just the right combination of style and finish, with the upholstery you prefer, then you have in fact found a treasure. For many, though, part of the pursuit includes the dream of refinishing a find or of seeing a fabric long saved for such an event finally placed, to perfection, on a settee.

The beauty of an antique settee instantly welcomes one into a room. Grace and elegance are spoken, with mysteries of days gone by hinted at by the whispers in the room. Who can resist the chance to own a bit of history, at the same time adding warmth and charm to your decor? What stories might be told if indeed we were able to share the past with a piece of furniture.

Photo By: Ruth Art

In styles that come in many names, from Rococo to Louis XV, or French, Italian or classic, an antiques settee is dreamed of as a place to not only rest a weary head, but also as a showpiece of furniture in a room. Having held a place of pride in the parlor of years’ past, a settee commands respect. Sometimes called a sofa, a settee is usually considered a place for two or more persons to sit comfortably. A connoisseur may argue that a settee is not as long as a sofa, or couch. Often this type of seating is elaborately carved, with artisans depiciting scenes of nature or women. What a pleasure to witness a beautiful carving of swans and lions on such lovely hardwoods as walnut, cherry and mahogany, among others. What an ode to Victorian days gone by!

Offering beauty and versatility, they were further enjoyed for the comfort allowed, as they were commonly stuffed with feathers or horsehair. Occasionally called a canapé, or divan or chaise, we often think of a settee in conjunction with a fainting couch. Who can’t imagine putting their feet up after a difficult day of social calling? Of course, the tradition and comfort of a leather Chesterfield sofa would also do the trick, but perhaps the more masculine calling of this bit of history would better suit a man’s office or den. With a style and design used for over 200 years, it is easy to imagine a gentlemen resting in such splendor. Perhaps the real pleasure of owning an antique settee may only be known to those who actually do, or those who dream of having such a beautiful repose as part of the home they live in.

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