The 'Stunsfield' embroidered stool can be associated with a George II embroidered carpet, that is now in The Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock. Its Roman medallion mosaic derives, like the carpet, from the celebrated tessellated pavement discovered at Stonesfield, nr Woodstock, Oxfordshire in 1711 1712, and published by the Oxford antiquary Thomas Hearne, who described it in 'A discourse concerning the Stunsfield tessellated pavement.' issued in 1712, and also issued as a prefix to his eighth subscription volume of 'The Itinerary of John Leland the Antiquary', Oxford, 1712. It was in the late 1720s that the making of a 'fine foot carpet', modelled on 'Stunsfield's Pavement', was proposed by William Brome (d. 1745) of Ewithington, and by 1735 he was able to report that 'a very fine carpet' had been executed after the pavement. This carpet pattern was taken from Brome's copy of Edward Loving's design that was first issued as a coloured engraving in April 1712. The carpet was worked by a female friend of Mrs Brome, possibly from the Walwyn family of Longworth, Herefordshire. Although the carpet was appropriate for a parlour, being centred by a festive panther-riding Bacchus, it was much later recorded in use as a bedspread. This stool, depicting the pavement's 'conjoined ring' mosaic, may have served as an accompanying dressing-table stool; as its circular form corresponds to that of 'antique' patterns introduced around 1780, and featured in Messrs A. Hepplewhite & Co.'s Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, 1788. It was at this same period that further interest in Stunsfield Stonesfield was revived by Daines Barrington FSA, when he reported to the Society of Antiquaries in 1780 concerning further excavation work being carried out around the pavement.
The stool upholstery, like the carpet, is worked in worsted wools and accompanied by a text detailing its history. It is possible that the stool was made for Sutton Court, Somerest, when the carpet came into the possession of the descendants of the antiquary John Strachey (d. 1743), a Fellow of the Royal Society. The fascinating history of the carpet, and also this stool, is to be published in an article by Mr. T. Freshwater concerning the Stonesfield Embroidery and Bacchus mosaic to appear in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of the British Archaeological Association, vol. 153, 2000. We are most grateful to Tom Freshwater for his assistance in preparing this note.