About the Chesterfield Sofa
The distinctive design of a Chesterfield Sofa is something that has been a popular style choice of people around the world for hundreds of years, but where did the design come from?
The original Chesterfield sofa was believed to be commissioned by Lord Phillip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, which explains where the name came from. Lord Stanhope wanted a sofa with intricate deep buttoning and a low seat, upholstered in quality leather which allowed gentlemen to sit comfortably upright and not wrinkle their clothing. After Lord Stanhope had asked for the first Chesterfield sofa to be commissioned, the iconic design was born, with its equally high back and rolled arms, pleated leather upholstery and sophisticated presence. It is said that Lord Stanhope was somewhat of a trendsetter during his time, so it wasn’t long before the original Chesterfield sofa design caught on.
The Earl of Chesterfield was an admired politician, writer and public speaker, as well as a member of the wealthy upper class-so it’s easy to see why he might have a sofa commissioned, and why it might become so popular.
The other reason why it became so popular also comes from an anecdote regarding Lord Stanhope. It’s said that whilst on his deathbed, the Earl asked his butler to “give Mr. Dayrolles a chair”. Lord Stanhope was referring to his Godson, Solomon Dayrolles, who was coming to visit his uncle in his last moments. Instead of passing a chair to Mr. Dayrolles for him to sit on, the butler interpreted it to mean that The Earl of Chesterfield wanted to gift his Godson the commissioned chair, made in the distinctive chesterfield style. The chair was then taken to Mr. Dayrolles’ home, where he would host guests that went on to have similar pieces commissioned for their homes, which led to the design becoming an established feature in upper-class homes.