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Oak Settles & Settle Benches

Decorating with solid oak settles & settle benches.

The name settle suggests comfort, and an oak settle by the fireside, with the flames throwing queer lights on the dark gleaming wood, has all the deceptive appearance of cosiness ; but the sort of seats omnibus and tramway companies provide for passengers on the upper decks of their vehicles are really more comfortable than a narrow-seated, high-backed oak settle.

In Ann Hathaway's cottage at Stratford-upon-Avon there is a very fine example of an oak settle. We are told that Shakespeare and Ann Hathaway sat side by side on this very settle bench during the days of their courtship, under the eyes of her parents, as was the custom of those days, and it seems strange that Shakespeare never referred to the excessive discomfort of such pieces of furniture in any of his writings, for even love could not have left him unaware of it.

A good place for an oak settle is in Garden Rooms where oak furniture is always suitable. A hall of simple character is often improved by the addition of a well-coloured and well-polished settle in oak.

Oak Settle
Oak Settle, 1650

The difficulty of using beautiful but uncomfortable pieces of furniture such as settle benches can be partly overcome if there are spacious landings or wide corridors in a house. We are in the same difficulty with many other types of furniture : for example the design of many Queen Anne and Chippendale settees may charm us with their graceful double chair backs, but their hard stuffed seats and the stiffness of their lines prevent them from being included in our scheme for a sitting room if we are furnishing for comfort, unless the dimensions of the room permit surplus furniture to occupy odd corners and recesses.

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