Couched in History
What the Pepyses and their friends do NOT have in their homes...but will very soon after the Diary ends.---------------------------
Couched in HistoryBy JOAN DEJEAN
Where would the living room be without the sofa?
Over the centuries, the amount and the kinds of furniture people use have changed radically. Prior to the 17th century, for example, European homes were not heavily furnished, and most of the types of furniture found in homes today did not yet exist.
Then, in the half-century from roughly 1670 to 1730, virtually every kind of furniture now common in Western homes was invented. Some of these designs, like the armchair, had existed in antiquity or in Eastern cultures, but the anonymous 17th-century European craftsmen who re-imagined them undoubtedly had no knowledge of any precedent to their creations.Even the most minimalist living room today includes two pieces that these craftsmen invented: the sofa and the occasional table. Until then, seating had been limited. Only trunks, benches and beds provided room for more than one person to sit. And even wealthy families used one large table for everything from eating to writing. By the early 18th century, however, many small tables had become available, each designed for a particular activity. And sofas in dozens of styles had been invented.