Taborets – Their Use in History and Their Usefulness Today

February 17, 2010
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Taborets – Their Use in History and Their Usefulness Today
By Elizabeth Gibson

In the drawing, drafting, architecture and engineering world this piece of storage furniture, called a taboret, is known to be one of the most useful for a studio or work room.

What is a Taboret? Many people have never heard of the term and probably have not considered a use for such an item. They are often seen in artist studios, but are also appropriate for use in a work room, craft room or even a sewing room. Taborets (which are also called tabourets) usually have the ability to be moved around a room (since they have rollers, casters, or wheels), making them popular with painters who need a place to put their paints and other supplies next to their easel. There are usually drawers for supplies storage, too.

History of the Taboret. The history of the taboret is from what was once a small stool. This stool was short, had no back or arms and was probably named taboret because they were cylindrical and resembled a drum (in Old French, the word for drum is tabur). In France at the time of King Louis XIV (in the 1600s), special visitors to the royal family were given a seat of honor on a more elaborate version of a stool. This was a upholstered piece of furniture in the decorative style of those times (it sometimes was a folding stool) with wooden legs and tassels on the edges. When royalty would come to visit, this fancy taboret was brought out by a servant and placed right in front of the queen. To be seated on this was a privilege that was highly coveted and often granted to Duchesses.

So, in the past you could say, pull up a taboret, instead of pull up a chair … but today, that wouldn’t work at all! It does work to set objects on top and within it (in the drawers or cabinet).

The Taboret Today. Today taborets are not as elaborate or decorative. We now use the term for a portable stand or cabinet or cart for art supplies storage which is made of plastic or wood. Larger taborets can be used to hold a tabletop easel and paints, brushes, as well as other painting supplies. Many are made of oak or birch wood, and are quite attractive (though these larger ones can be expensive). If you ever consider buying a one, they can be found in local art supply stores and in many online web stores.

They may no longer be used by kings and queens, but in an artist studio, a taboret still has importance as a useful piece of furniture and is given a “place of honor” right next to the artist at a their easel or at their drafting table.

Elizabeth Gibson is an artist, graphic designer, and lover of many crafts and hobbies. She also has some expertise in art and craft room furniture, including taborets with her online store which has tools and supplies for the artists, crafters, architects, and engineers. Visit her store: Drawing Tables and Easels – http://www.drawingtablesandeasels.com – to see what artist taborets (http://www.drawingtablesandeasels.com/Taborets.html) look like today.

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