Charles Heathcote Tatham (1772-1842), the designer of this stool, arrived in Rome in July 1794. He stayed for two years gathering material for his designs of ornamental architecture and furniture. While in Italy, Tatham not only drew and sketched, he also bought a large number of antique fragments for his employer and mentor, Henry Holland (1745-1806) who was architect to the Prince of Wales.
The design of this stool was inspired by a drawing of a classical Roman marble seat illustrated by Tatham and published in his book ‘Etchings of Ancient Ornamental Architecture drawn from the Originals in Rome and other Parts of Italy
’, 1799. Tatham’s book was an immediate success, providing British designers with ideas for furniture and decoration in the Revival styles. A second and third edition were issued in 1803 and 1810 respectively, and the style of linear engravings it employed was copied by Thomas Hope in Household Furniture and Interior Decoration in 1807.
The form of this stool closely follows that of an ancient marble seat in Rome. Here the stool is made from beech wood, painted in white and grey to simulate the appearance of marble. Beech wood would have been much easier and less costly to carve than marble, and resulted in a more flexible seat which weighed less and could be moved around without difficulty. The seat was painted white and gold during this century, but has now partly been stripped to reveal the original marbled paintwork. The stool is one of a pair from the Neave Collection at Dagenham Park, Essex. The pair to it is at Temple Newsam House, Leeds. [source