The term “etiquette” wasn’t established until the reign of Louis XIV, when invitations to formal gatherings were printed on tickets with a code of conduct on the back of them (by the way, the word etiquette means ticket in French). The formal set of manners now practiced stem mostly from customs started during the Middle Ages, when offering a woman your seat was a part of the Chivalric Code. It could be that the development of the Farthingale Chair was an evolutionary mark to this tradition. It was the first chair that allowed comfort, equipped with padding and upholstery on the seat and back, as well as an open, armless frame that accommodated the large skirts women wore during the 17th and 18th centuries. In fact, the term farthingale refers to the wide hoops that formed the structure of the skirts.
The chair’s design was first crafted before the dawn of the 17th century. It maintained an austere form with straight legs and back, while the upholstery made it inclusive to a room’s design. The embroidery was so important to the chair’s form in fact, that it was originally called an Imbrauderer’s Chair (earlier term for Embroiderer).
Below are some further examples of antique Farthingale chairs. Note that several have knobbed and wood-turned legs, a common feature for this piece.