Design Blocks

Reinterpretations – Chesterfield Sofa

Posted on: August 23, 2011

So in the contemporary reinterpretations post I included images of various types of furniture based on historical designs. The first one I illustrated was this sofa which is available from West Elm:

{Image via West Elm, Chester Tufted Sofa}

Were you able to determine that this updated classic is based on of the original Chesterfield Sofa?

The true origination of the Chesterfield sofa is uncertain but via a Shelter Pop article from AOL it states:

“This icon of the furniture world is widely thought to have been commissioned by, and consequently named in honor of, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, in the 18th century. Aside from being a much-admired politician and writer, the suave Earl was a known trendsetter. When the Earl requested a cabinetmaker to construct a piece of furniture that would allow a gentleman to sit upright in the utmost of comfort, thus was the inception of the Chesterfield sofa with its characteristic deep buttoned upholstery, rolled arms, equal back and arm height and nail head trim. There has never been any solid confirmation of this noble beginning. However, this namesake is certainly appropriate. Stanhope was a noted writer of letters to his illegitimate son, extolling all method of manners and morals. The Chesterfield sofa is certainly a refined and mannerly example of seating.”

This sofa is constantly being updated and reinterpreted in new and interesting ways, just look at this Google search and you will see tons of images. It’s important to note that the classic characteristics of a Chesterfield is that seat back is all one height, it had deep buttoned upholstery, rolled arms and displays nail head trim.


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