It’s Iconic Friday! And today I want to dive into the world of iconic furniture. Yes. Furniture. Because furniture can be extremely iconic, and we like furniture and everything iconic here. Today I’m going to hunt the world and the annals of history for real pieces of furniture. Maybe someday I will pull out the most iconic pieces of furniture in fiction.
5. King Edward’s Chair.
The throne where the monarchs of England have been crowned since the 14th century is truly one of the most iconic pieces of furniture around…even without the Stone of Scone (which is more like an iconic…rock. Check back in the future for a blog post about iconic rocks). Situated in Westminster Abbey, this throne may not be much to look at, but we might say its stark, simple, functional, and hard features reflect the qualities of the English monarchy. After all, it’s not a French throne.
4. The Resolute Desk
The U.S. President’s desk in the Oval Office is by far one of the most iconic pieces of American furniture. The desk was one of a matched pair made from the wood of HMS Resolute, and given to President Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1880. It has become a symbol of the American presidency, and its name is doubly appropriate, reflecting both its origin and the character of the office it supports. It was first placed in the Oval Office by Jackie Kennedy, and after a brief stint touring the nation and decorating the Smithsonian, it was returned to its home in 1970.
3. The Table from the Last Supper
That’s right, the actual table used in the Last Supper can now be found in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. Everyone knows the story of the Last Supper, and everyone knows Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the scene. Not everyone knows that you can actually see the table if you take a visit to the Eternal City. It’s housed in a glass case pretty high on the wall in the Basilica, and most people don’t even know to look for it. So if you ever find yourself in St. John Lateran, look up.
2. The Dragon Throne
The Dragon Throne, located in the Hall of Supreme Harmony in China’s Forbidden City, is an ancient and stunning symbol of the power of imperial China. It was used since the 14th century by both the Ming and Qing dynasties, until the fall of the Qing dynasty in the early 20th century. Considered the royal seat of a living god, the Dragon Throne was designed to inspire awe. With its pillars and ornately carved screen and multitude of dragons, the Dragon Throne definitely succeeds in this task.
1. The Chair of St. Peter
Speaking of thrones, there are few thrones quite as magnificent and awe-inspiring as the Chair of St. Peter in the Vatican. The actual chair was once believed to have been used by St. Peter himself, but was actually a gift from Charles II, the 9th century Holy Roman Emperor, to Pope John VIII. It was later encased in gilt bronze by Bernini in the mid-17th century. The throne rests above the high altar and is surrounded by a stunning display of sculpture intended to symbolize the glory of heaven. One of the most easily recognizable thrones in the world, the Chair of St. Peter is my pick for the most iconic historical piece of furniture.