It is very useful to have the names of medieval furniture items for research (for instance on internet) in several languages. The list below is a first attempt to create a multilingual furniture dictionary for the Middle Ages. As furniture terms were not used very strictly, it is impossible to attach one name to one furniture type. Many names are used for several types. The list includes names used in medieval times as well those used today for these furniture types. The list below is incomplete - I do not have the names of the items in all languages - so any help is highly appreciated (add a comment, I will add to the dictionary). I have started with medieval seating types (800-1500 AD) and included as well a simple drawing of each type.
There is one type of chair, which is commonly found in miniatures, and of which some examples exist in musea, where I could not find a specific name. It looks like a half-round chair with a backrest (see drawing).
Medieval seating furniture
Note: The cathedra, throne, 'Hochsitz', sella curulis and siège à haut dossier are often used as seats of authority for e.g. kings or bishops. The sedia Dantesca, sella curulis and the backstool have leather, straw or cloth seatings.
I have used the following resources to make this list:
- Eames, P. 1977. Furniture in England, France and the Netherlands from the twelfth to the fifteenth century. Furniture history, Volume XII.
- Thuis in de Middeleeuwen – het Nederlands burgerinterieur 1400-1535. 1980. Uitgeverij Waanders, Zwolle, the Netherlands.
- Windisch-Graetz, F. 1982. Mobel Europas I – von Romanik bis zum Spatgotik. Klinkhardt & Biermann, Munchen, Germany.
- Boccador, J. 1988. Le mobilier francais du moyen age a la renaissance. Edition dÁrt Monelle Hayot, St-Just-en-Chaussee, France.
- Chinnery, V. 1979. Oak furniture, the British tradition. Antique collectors club, Woodbridge, UK.
- Blanc, M. 1999. Le mobilier francais – moyen age renaissance. Editeur massin, Paris, France.