From Portugal in the 1600’s, this choir seat has a flip-top seat known as a misericord, or mercy seat. As with most antique cathedral seating, the chair places a premium on functionality, with carved embellishments at a minimum, allowing the molding to accentuate the oak and chestnut seat. Shoulder-high volute scrolls have been adorned with open roundels. The stumps slope gracefully downwards, terminating in volutes with thick recessed molding. A wedge-shaped portion of the inside arm has been incised to allow the misericord to flip up when congregants were standing; a similar shape has been carved on the exterior of the arm. The interior of the backrest has a rectangular carving with canted top and recessed molding. On the exterior side is a similar carving of an elongated rectangle with an arched top and canted bottom, surrounded by recessed molding.
Misericords were designed to support members of the clergy during long periods of prayer. The seat of our 17th century choir seat chair flips up when not in use, revealing a triangular protuberance known as a mercy seat. The triangle acts as a shelf to support a person while in a standing position, as they would sit on the underside of the seat. A stall of this age is a tremendous find, and the unique chair can be used in an entry hall, foyer, or library.
CONDITION: Solid antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use, including nicks, losses and age separations. Traces of old wood worm. Please see photos for details.