Shakespeare Connected - Marking Time in Shakespeare’s England
Chairs were highly symbolic objects, representing patriarchal rule and ownership. Whilst an occupied chair signified control of the household, an empty chair could stand in for its head when they were absent. Indeed, the elaborately carved back would’ve been very uncomfortable to sit in, so it may have been valued more when empty. Chairs like this would certainly make noteworthy heirlooms to be passed on to future generations. The date therefore likely acts as a temporal marker of a significant event in the family’s history, and would, after it had passed through several generations, highlight the longevity of the family’s lineage.
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