The History of the Chesterfield Sofa

The Chesterfield Sofa is way more than a fine piece of furniture; it is alone a chunk of history.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, acknowledged to be the most authoritative record of the English language, the word Chesterfield was already in use in the 1800s to describe a type of tufted leather couch. Theories abound as to its origins, but history suggests that it was Lord Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773), who first commissioned a sofa with soft leather upholstery, deep buttoning, tufted patterns and low back and seat base. Besides being an admired politician and writer close to Voltaire, the Earl was also a well-known trendsetter. Rumor has it that he would have entrusted the manufacturing of the sofa to a local craftsman with the requirement that an aristocrat shall sit comfortably without creasing his clothing. The craftsman created the diamond tufting by threading through the leather and securing the ends of the thread by a button.

With the expansion of the British Empire it rapidly spread and met success in the colonies, becoming the emblematic incarnation of British style. Honoring royal palaces, eminent work places, hotels, restaurants, and other Gentlemen’s Clubs; in turns a vintage, retro, pop and rock icon, the Chesterfield Sofa remains the height of sophistication.