When Jeff and I went on an outing last Monday, we walked through an antique store to look for some of the furniture pieces still on my shopping list. I tried to stay focused on my list, but it is hard to ignore pieces that speak to me. Such was the case with this odd little stool. I had never seen one like it, but after years of antiquing, I know when I see something special and this little stool was special. Better yet, it was well priced at around $30 and was discounted even further. I handed the stool to Jeff and he gave me a questioning look. I know it’s not on the list, but there is something about this piece and I want to buy it. He’s learned to trust me in such matters and carried it up to the counter. I have since learned that the stool was indeed special and it’s called a Thebes stool.
I learned the proper name of this stool from one of my blog readers who wrote, “That looks like a Thebes stool.” Of course, I had to search online to see if I could confirm that and, sure enough, I found a stool identical to mine listed on 1st Dibs for $585. These stools gained popularity in Victorian England when Egyptology was en vogue. Trends are such a funny, strange thing, aren’t they?
Here is the 1st Dibs description of the Thebes stool, “Early 20th century Egyptian Revival, light, slat oak Thebes stool styled after the stools of ancient Egyptian royalty, attributed to Liberty & Co.”
That stool has some repair work and missing pieces, but mine is in perfect condition and quite sturdy.
I thought it would look cute topped with a fluffy pillow and that’s exactly the intention of the design. In another listing, I found the catalog showing the Liberty & Co stool, which is very similar to my stool, but not exact. And, behold, it has a fluffy pillow on top. According to the catalog, the Thebes stool is inspired by a 3,000-year-old Eqyptian seat, which sent me on another internet rabbit trail.
I found this authentic circa 1400-1350 BC Egyptian Thebes stool made of ebony on The British Museum’s website…
So interesting, isn’t it? What goes around comes around and that’s been the case in design for centuries.
I found other Thebes stools online that are identical to mine and are attributed to Liberty & Co as well. Some are priced in the thousands – $2,900 – $8,000. I don’t know what they actually sell for, but it’s interesting to see all of the high-end listings.
Of course, I let Jeff know of my triumph with my Thebes stool. My mom suggested selling it, but I definitely want to enjoy it for a while. There is always the hope that the antiques I buy might be valuable, but I don’t buy them for that reason. I buy them because I like them and want to use them in my home. I’m sure this Thebes stool will be a perfect cat perch, but we’ll see what Violet and Esmé think of that when they join us.
Marvelous. And, I love the design, even if it wasn’t valuable. We rely on you for such as this.
Dang, girl. You scored!
I love to read about finding a piece “that speaks to me” and has a big monetary value as well. I hope you keep it, it’s so lovely in your home.
I have one that I purchased about 45 years ago. The top is solid but curved like bentwood. Glad to know the background, thanks.
Thank you for sharing your time and creative process, look forward to following along as your new house becomes a home.
Wow ? what a find!! I love it!
I love this on so many different levels and I’m sure Violet and Esme will love their new perch?
With that big puffy pillow, that stool would make a wonderful ottoman in front of an equally gorgeous chair. Why let the cats have all the fun? Just thinking out loud here….
Score. It looks perfect with your style. Love it!
You teach us such interesting things…never heard of a Thebes stool. Everyone went nuts for anything Egyptian after King Tut’s tomb was discovered in the 20’s. I was so surprised to see the prices in the Liberty catalog…that was a lot of money in the early part of the 20th century so you could imagine how special it is.
Awesome find! And thank you for sharing – I’d never heard of this stool and find it very interesting!
Wow, the history of the stool is just amazing! What a find! And to think that you even just “felt” that it needed a pillow on top, and sure enough, that is how it was supposed to be used. And Liberty, no less!
Oh what fun! Hope you enjoy it for awhile..thanks for the info….have to keep an eye out now
You definitely have a great eye, Marian. The patina in the piece is also gorgeous.
What an awesome find.
I enjoyed your pic and info regarding your Thebes stool. That’s what I like about antiquing, finds a treasure at a great price!
Girl, you have a good eye!
I bought a stool like this about 7 years ago for $20. It was my first purchase when I moved to Alabama. It has been an ottoman for my sofa ever since, and I also topped it with a pillow! Great minds think alike!
100 years ago, in 1922, Howard Carter discovered the ancient tomb of King Tutankhamun in Egypt. The whole world went crazy with Egyptian design. Even though your stool is a more “modern day” design (opposed to a 2,000-year-old artifact) it seems to follow the design of the Ancient Egyptians. The round orbs at the top of the legs were probably meant to represent the sun. Think about the scarab. Scarabs are usually depicted with a round orb over their head and the front legs of the bug, holding it up high. Dung beetles rolled dung into balls and pushed it into their holes for food. Everything in the Egyptian world was influenced by the sun. Very cool fine, indeed!
Cool, and I’m so glad you did the research for me. If you had not, I would have lost and entire day headfirst down a rabbit hole!
As a lover of Ancient History this stool makes my heart sing! What a score <3
Whenever researching on line I will get lost in the provenance of museum pieces. I’m finding the museum piece you referred to in the British Museum was owned or found by an Archeologist named Salt . So the story goes on and on. Congratulations on your find. Sometimes I get lost in these stories
Pretty piece. I’m so surprised the “antique” dealer did not know its worth ? Very Strange. If it were included in an auction at a high end auction house I am sure it would fetch those big bucks. Love all your trips and the stories behind them !
It’s actually pretty common to find pieces in antique malls from dealers who just don’t know what they have. I have sold many pieces for far less than they were worth because I didn’t know what they were called and didn’t do my research. Honestly, when I bought the stool, I didn’t know what it was! I just liked it and thought it was special. Even antique experts can’t be experts in everything. 🙂 That’s a part of the fun of the hunt. You never know when you’ll find a great bargain!
I agree, a great cat perch. I would place it close to the fireplace or by a heating vent, or where the sun shines through a window. Vi is now in her usual place by me having had her IT’S TIME time and waiting to watch the next two episodes of the X-Files. They will love their new home and getting back to their family. But, alas, somewhat spoiled, which is what grandcat grandparents do.
I can see why it caught your eye, it’s a cool little stool. I love doing research on the pieces I buy. Can’t wait to see if it’s kitty approved??
And that’s exactly why I love the thrill of the hunt…..great score!
What luck to find a piece so unusual and for such a low price. Although the old catalogue shows this type of seat with a cushion, it hides the shape and details too much, think of a
less puffy pillow. I personally would leave it uncovered.
You have such an eye for GREAT items! What a find….
What a find!
I have that stool inherited from great aunt. Mine has been painted. I didn’t know what it was until I saw it on an episode of Antiques Road show.
Did seller offer the discount or did you have to ask?
There was already a discount on the items in that booth. I also found a Victorian burnt bamboo shelf for a great price!
found a A LIBERTY & CO. MAHOGANY ‘THEBES’ STOOL circa 1900 (with a fabric top, not wood slats) that sold at Christies for 2375 british pounds in 2013. current in US dollars is $2747. Not bad, Marian, not bad at all!