Thos Diphros - Greek Ivory Gessoed Stool by Mark Harman


A stool gessoed in imitation of ivory modelled and adapted from the diphros seen on the marble stele of Polyxene Athens, and the throne from the Demetria and Pamphile marble grave stele from the Athenian Kerameikos. Kerameikos Museum Athens. The seat in woven leather.

The rails of this stool are decorated with a painted animal frieze consisting of a ram, a lion, a bull and a jackal (thos), after which the stool is named, in the late Corinthian style, taken from a black figure hydra from Vulci, now in Berlin.

Height: 485mm

Depth: 505mm

Width: 680mm


The Greek diphros according to ancient Greek literature seems to have served both as a humble stool and as a seat of gods and heroes as represented often on Greek vases and reliefs. Elaborately decorated diphroi were listed among the treasures of the Parthenon, and the famous diphros of Xerxes, captured by the Greeks, and placed there, was described as having feet, or possibly legs, of silver. There were numerous types of diphroi of varying design, but, predominantly, I have chosen the type with turned legs with preference, due to its evolution to perfection of proportion and elegance up to the fifth century BC.

Although surviving examples of wooden legs of such stools exhibit the form and construction methods, i.e. the leg of a wooden stool found by Flinders Petrie in Egypt and now in the Metropolitan Museum, and two legs and various sections of railings found at excavations at Olympia in the mid-20th Century by Dr. Kunze, these relics unfortunately show no remains of decoration to their surfaces, and for this reason, I have adopted certain motifs and methods of ornament that adorned vases and various other surviving artefacts, and adapted these for my purpose with a degree of artistic licence.

*The Diphroi can be commissioned with or without the ornamentation to their rails or produced in various woods and finishes.
Modelled on original Greek representations, artefacts, relics and vase paintings, Mark Harman designs representative fine valuable furniture inspired by G.M.A Richter, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, Emmanuel Pontremoli (Kerylos) & Theodore Reinach.
Trapeza (Greek banqueting table) ~ Kline (Greek bed/couch) ~ Diphros/Diphroi (Greek stool/s).
Images © 2011 Mark Harman