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Pair of Oak Renaissance Revival Benches from the Boston Public Library


Pair of 19th Century Carved Oak Renaissance Revival Benches deigned and installed in the Bates Room of the Boston Public Library by Charles Follen McKim of the architectural firm, "McKim, Mead and White." Four Lion Leg and Scroll Supports. Once topped with a seat cushion. A rare opportunity to own a piece of Boston's architectural and cultural history. These two long benches with carved lion paw legs and paneled sides once graced the Bates Room of the Boston Public Library. Comparable Reading Tables are still in use at the BPL with identical lion paw and scroll motif. These were salvaged in the 1970's and have remained in storage until now. Charles Follen McKim's design shows influence from a number of architectural precedents. McKim drew explicitly on the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris (designed by Henri Labrouste, built 1845 to 1851) for the general arrangement of the facade that fronts on Copley Square, but his detailing of that facade's arcaded windows owes a clear debt to the side elevations of Leon Battista Alberti's Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini. The open-air courtyard at the center of the building is based closely on that of the sixteenth-century Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome; in its center is a copy of the, once controversial, statue Bacchante and Infant Faun. McKim also exploited up-to-date building technology, as the library represents one of the first major applications, in the United States, of the system of thin tile vaults (or catalan vaults) exported from the Catalan architectural tradition by the Valencian Rafael Guastavino. Seven different types of Guastavino vaulting can be seen in the library. The McKim building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 for its architectural and historical significance, given Boston Landmark status by the Boston Landmarks Commission in 2000. It was the first major Beaux Arts building in the United States, and it was also the first large-scale urban library building in the nation.


  • Period
  • Materials and techniques
  • Condition
    Good. Original finish. Needs refreshing. Sold "as is".
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions

    H 18 in. x W 118 in. x D 20 in.

    H 45.72 cm x W 299.72 cm x D 50.8 cm

  • Seat height
    21 in. (53.34 cm)
  • Seller location
    Essex, MA
  • Sold As
    Set of 2
  • Reference number

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Located in Essex, MA
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