Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Word of the day: CURULE

By now you know that my favorite antique terms are those designed to confuse, obfuscate, and otherwise drive normal people crazy.

That's why I like the word "curule" so much. First, it's weird to pronounce: "Q rule." Second, it's defined as "the same thing as a faldstool and the same thing as a ployant." Well, that's just great and thanks for nothing. Antiquarians can be a cruel lot.

So let's get real here: a curule, a faldstool, and a ployant are all words for a portable stool that usually (but not always) folds up and has X-shaped legs with no back. Here's a nice Louis XIV curule:

BTW, faldstool is pronounced "FALD stool" and ployant is pronounced "PLOY ahn."

And here's a 19th century English cast brass one:

Some people say that faldstools are used most commonly when referring to ecclesiastical curules. Years ago, that was true but nowadays that's pure baloney. In fact, people in the trade frequently say faldstool for ANY folding stool.

What's not baloney is that curules, faldstools and ployants can be very simple or extremely ornate. Take a gander at all of these (some modern, some reproductions and some antiques):

But what about curules, etc. at C. Mariani Antiques (where I work)? I wouldn't be true to this blog if I didn't put in a plug for myself. After all, I'm nothing if not self-serving. Here's a fab pair of palazzo scaled 19th c. Italian ployants (they measure 25 1/2"h x 30"w x 24" d-so when I sit on them my feet dangle 3" off the ground):

And for those of you who prefer that their feet actually reach the floor, I have this French Empire pair:

Call me for details-415 541 7868.


lvroftiques said...

Hi Buzz! I just wanted to say how much I LOVE your blog! I need all the cachet in the antique world I can get! Lol! Well OK.... maybe "fleamarket thrift world" would be more apropos *winks* Anyhoo your tutorials are much needed and appreciated by me! And I can tell one and all that you ARE the curule-est man of all! Vanna

Cashon&Co said...

your posts are always so informative & interesting, It's one of the few blogs I can't wait to read... But i do giggle to myself when I say faldstool....I don't know why. that name.

Miie Snow said...

Hej Buzz,

Im writing you because I´ve got this curule chair,- which I´ve got from russia, and before it came from North Africa. I tried to look it up on wikipedia, different websites, and also contacted the univerisity here in Denmark. But noone seems to be able to give me any more info about the chair.
Do you have any idea whom I should maybe contact or send pictures of the chair,- to try to get some information?
Thank you very much.

Miie from Denmark.