Episode 70: Chairs

Friday, April 6th, 2018

For this episode let us join the maritime man of the moment, Dr Sam Willis, and the king of the cushions that protect the throne of history, Professor James Daybell, as they pull up a stool and swing on the bosun’s seat to bring you the unexpected history of the chair.

So, if you’re sitting comfortably within the sedan, pull back the curtains, enjoy the view and Sam and James will take you on a journey from the medieval misericords of Exeter Cathedral to the Kingdom of Benin and British colonial retribution in the 1890s, from William of Orange and Powderham Castle to the ducking stool and witchcraft, and from the maritime art of the painter W. J. Wyllie to the US state of  Tennessee and one of its last executions by electric chair.

Sam and James will have you on the edge of your seat as they reveal that this unexpected history is actually all about: hierarchy and status, control and patriarchy, sociability and leisure, humiliation and intimidation, and of course comfort.

Want to know the best sort of chair for sitting in when wearing a sword? Or maybe the best type of chair for an assassination? Well relax and sit back and Sam and James will explain all.

 

“Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I’ll tell you a story”. (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up)

“The discontented man finds no easy chair”    (Benjamin Franklin)

 

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