History of the Chesterfield Sofa

Adding detail to sofas

This is a great question and one that has many many versions, some accurate and some, well, not so accurate.
The simple fact is that a “Chesterfield sofa” is denoted quite simply by it very timeless and elegant straight arms and back.  More often than not they are buttoned but some of the most striking pieces I have ever had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with have no buttoning at all.  They are the most simple and elegant of pieces.
The gravitas that a Chesterfield sofa brings to any room or environment is unquestionable and is testament to its enduring appeal. It is after all, quite possibly the most iconic and well known style of furniture the world over.
One thing is for certain, there was never a company named chesterfield that created the style.
The Chesterfield sofa has a rich and interesting history which has lead to it's iconic status.

Most likely commissioned for Chesterfield House which was one of the most splendid and magnificent mid-eighteenth-century houses in London. It was built by one of the most fascinating men of his time, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, a politician and diplomat, wit and letter-writer. His house stood on an unusually large plot and was the first large house to face the park. Its front extended almost from Audley Square to Curzon Street.
Black and white living room
Chesterfield House has always been tantalisingly famous for its rooms in the French taste, designed by Isaac Ware and was arguably the finest Great House completed in London in the 1740s.

Lord Chesterfield’s descendants continued to own it until 1870, when it was sold by the 7th Earl and during that time it was virtually unaltered. Some fifty years later Lord Lascelles, the son of the 6th Earl of Harewood purchased the house. The Lascelles period however was brief and proved to be an unexpected Indian summer.

Lord Lascelles, too, must have found the big house a financial strain, and after he succeeded his father as 7th Earl in 1930 and moved to Harewood, he and the Princess Royal decided in 1931 to give up Chesterfield House. It was later demolished in 1934 and its contents were scattered around the world. However, it is clear that the distinguishable <strong> Chesterfield style sofas</strong> have endured as a symbol of this glorious period of elegance.
So, the big question is, if you are looking to buy or invest in a chesterfield, what should you be looking for?
Well, first and foremost is budget or the price that you are comfortable or willing to pay for a piece.
Spring Coils
making of a sofa
You will realise very quickly that there are many companies offering leather furniture in the Chesterfield style for a vast array of prices and it can difficult to navigate.
Trust is a very big part of the buying process. It is important that you understand exactly how something has been built as this is key to understanding what makes a good chesterfield sofa.
Has it been manufactured or crafted? There is after all, a very big difference.
Be sure to ask many many questions to ensure you have full transparency.
You should, I believe, have a clear understanding of the frames, even ask the thickness of the rails that run around and support the main structure of the sofa, the woods and joints used.
You should have a clear understanding of the materials that fill the piece as there are great variations in stuffings. Is it foam or natural fibres?
The leathers are also a key indicator and be sure to make yourself familiar with what to expect from the different types of leather. For example a hand dyed leather will always carry natural imperfections which is considered a thing of great beauty.
Also, don’t forget the vintage and antique leather chesterfield sofas that are either in their original leathers or are prime candidates for restoration.
We believe that it is often better to buy a very good vintage or antique piece from a reputable and knowledgable dealer than to buy a lower priced new piece. You will almost certainly be buying a finer piece of furniture. This is especially true below the £5000 price mark. You can also be confident that these pieces will retain a very strong intrinsic value, but it is important to understand exactly why. For example, is it hand dyed leather? Is it loose coil sprung?
Overall, we believe in offering various options on both old and new Chesterfield sofas, whether they be leather or fabric. Our concept is one of crafting our signature range to the budget that suits and having a very comprehensive stock of twice-loved, vintage and antique chesterfield sofas and chairs to select from. This we feel gives each client the very best understanding of what they are buying and the very best value.

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