For decades, the Chesterfield sofa has been one of the most sought after styles for homes up and down the country. From David Beckham to Marilyn Monroe the list of high powered celebrities that love the feel of a chesterfield sofa beneath them keeps going and for good reason. They are the perfect balance of comfort, coupled with a sophisticated tailoring, making it an undoubted furniture design icon. Although the future of the chesterfield sofas can not be predicted, the guys over at James and Rose decided to take a dive into the history of the this sofa style.
The Chesterfield itself is typically a large sized sofa, deeply buttoned with the arms and back of the chair in equal height. Traditionally, the sofa was made from leather, however as fashion has adapted over the years, so has the Chesterfield. It can now be found in an array of different materials from crushed velvet to patchwork. The Chesterfield has always been more associated with huge stately homes, or dark and mysterious gentlemans clubs, but adaptations using different materials are making it much more widely accessible to your average home.
Despite being such an iconic piece of furniture the exact origins of the Chesterfield are unknown. There are many stories about how the piece of furniture was born, yet all are unverified. The most convincing story surrounding its origins start somewhere around the the mid-18th century, during the reign of Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Stanhope.
As the story goes, Lord Stanhope commissioned the sofa, after requesting a chair that a gentleman could sit on with creasing his suits and as such the Chesterfield was born. With the Earl of Chesterfield being somewhat of fashionable trend setter during his reign, needless to say that word soon spread and the Chesterfield became a symbol of style and sophistication.
However, despite its early popularity, it’s unlikely that the Earl of Chesterfield was solely responsible for the style as we know it. The style button finish we see on the Chesterfield was not championed in upholstery until the 19th century, when the flourishing middle class wanted furniture that was not only a symbol of wealth, but also comfortable. At once comfortable and ostentatious.