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EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS

Settee from the Painted Room, Spencer House

Settee for the Painted Room, Spencer House, James Stuart, 1759-66. Museum no. W.3-1977

Settee for the Painted Room, Spencer House, James Stuart, 1759-66. Museum no. W.3-1977 (click image for larger version)

The seat furniture Stuart created for the Painted Room at Spencer House combined elements from a wide variety of sources. The animal-leg supports for both the armchairs and the settees derived from ancient seating forms. The settees were among the earliest Neo-classical style furniture in Britain.

In the mid to late 18th-century, architects such as Stuart began to focus on furniture as an integral part of a room's decorative scheme. The curved back of this settee, for example, was designed specifically to fit into the curved apse of the painted room.