As an enthusiast for all things Italian, I am mesmerized by the sgabelli. A sgabello is a stool with a back. The sgabello was most commonly made of heavily carved walnut, with two legs, an octagonal seat with a depression for a pillow, and a trapezoidal back, wider at the top than at the bottom. Yet while this is the most common design, many have three or four legs, a square seat, or a variety of shapes for the back. The back and legs could be left with the bare wood showing, or they could be painted or gilt to emphasize the carving.

This pair of sgabelli in the Met Museum show the most common design features:

While this one from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam shows a simplistic, yet elegant version:

And this one, also in the Met Museum, shows a charming early version:

However, do beware when researching sgabelli as many were heavily rebuilt or restored by the Victorias, like this example in the Victoria and Albert museum:

These lovely stools are very light in weight, making them easily portable. Sadly, few furniture makers today include them as a stock furniture item, so you will need to custom order yours.

For additional examples, check out this board on Margaret Roe Designs’ Pintrest Page. And don’t forget to let us know in the comments what Design & Decorative Arts items you’d like to see featured next!