History of the Chesterfield


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.

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 Chesterfield style sofas have endured as a symbol of this glorious period of elegance.