Birds have twigs and branches, and accommodate on lordly grasses. When in gardens we employ benches and chairs and, at times, a grounded tree trunk, our obliging constructs of metal, modified wicker, concrete and stone, as well as wood.
Madoo has a multitude of such ingratiations, just how many may be clear by the end of this writing, and I expect the tally will be large. Although I may now collapse with wounded knees or back, sitting is not in the physical vocabulary of the gardener. No matter how brief, a downtime will supply his eyes with an infinitude of chores overlooked or undone, many he had not been aware of until his goodly sit. And then there is that fell interruption in his rhythm, difficult to regain, like a marathon runner forced to a halt, losing time and the synchronous all at once. Perches may be part of the ingratiations of a good garden whether they are used or not, desserts on a menu that comfort the diner whether or not they are ordered. Oh look, they have creme brulée with marrons! A courtesy. So is the bench near you as you write in your notebook or take more photos.
In front of its Matisse, a seated nude, Madoo has two iron chairs French in origin circa the same year as the bronze. The original pair disintegrated and our replicas were crafted by an iron monger in Wainscott exactly so. Sheet iron over metal tubing. Gray, good to the eye, not quite comfortable. None of the apparatus of sitting have cushions and few have backs. Their livery is utility pure and simple. All resist wind and drain quickly and dry after a storm.
There are two wheel-away benches suitable for two or a cozy three, the first of which was a farmyard purchase some 30 years ago. Quite lovely, almost unique, but considerably derelicted (so much history, its back was spavined) and had to be reproduced. And was. In plantation teak (oh prove it) and then there was this large iron wheel in the old barn and two hickory ax handles and, voila, a bench to be wheeled for the easily bored.
And two Rietveld Adirondack chairs made friendlier by arms large enough for a sandwich and a book and a drink and, only a few years ago, that curious fabrication, an ashtray. The original Rietvelds held only stick arms, hardly apt for getting up gracefully. Chairs in Dutch portraits, you will notice, have no armrests at all. Arms get folded and hands lost in fabric.
We have a low little Lloyd Loom stool whose wire weave is the only wicker to endure out of doors, water hyacinth and plastic threads to the side. And there is a howdah, straight from an Indian elephant’s back, that seats two grudgingly. And two strap metal benches circa mid-19th century from an upstate cemetery and two redoubtably elaborate wrought-iron chairs hailing from some brick-azalea-rhododendron Charleston garden. And Carlos has made of two logs benches in the exedra and I am losing count and have forgotten the audience chair I designed for Open Days where Barnsley and I sit and I read and read and do not see what needs doing.