During our tenure in the trade, we’ve sold lots of period soft furnishings, with the earliest in date a pair of late 17th century back stools, with needlework upholstery. Nicer to look at than sit upon, but then, the chairs were going into an entry hall, so to look at was functionally more important than to sit upon.
With all that, the received wisdom seems to be generally that period soft furnishings will be rickety at best and always uncomfortable. Keith and I had blithely surmised that, if something were comfortable, it would have been sat on so frequently, therefore, that it would have worn out long since and been discarded. Consequently, it was only the uncomfortable pieces that survived. Perhaps there’s some truth to this, but the fact is, save that pair of backstools, every piece of soft furnishings we’ve handled- chairs, stools, settees, and sofas- have all been comfortable, and, as much as a modern piece, will stand up to daily use. The joints can be tightened, the horsehair padding can be made more cushion-y with a layer or two of dacron (parenthetic note to collectors- never, ever remove or discard the horsehair padding!), and the result is frequently nothing less than stunning.