History of Chesterfield Leather Sofas

There are many opinions on the origin of the word Chesterfield as a description of the item we now know as a Leather Chesterfield Sofa. It has been the subject of great debate for many years and nobody fuly knows the real history behind the Chesterfield style of luxury furniture.

The following are the main rumours that have stood the test of time.

Many believe 'Chesterfield' to be an adopted turn of phrase, stemming back to the turn of the century when Chesterfield started to become the word used to describe a sofa in Canada and certain parts of America.

In England, a davenport with arms and back of the same height in buttoned leather may also be referred to as a chesterfield sofa. Another, view is that the fourth earl of Chesterfield - Phillip Stanhope (1694-1773) was honoured by the commissioning of a piece of Fine Furniture (a Leather Chesterfield Sofa).

Many believe the term Chesterfield originally referred to the style of buttoning of the leather, shape of the sofa back, and even the height of the seat.

Other rumoured origins of the chesterfield style include the use of the term Chesterfield to refer to any sofa at all. Americans and Canadians claim to have coined the term to describe the button and quilting used on this particular sofa design. In canada the word chesterfield is commonly used to describe any sofa.

The history of the Chesterfield sofa is a wide subject. The earliest Chesterfield sofas are pretty much completely different than the Chesterfields sofas and suites we see today. The early Chesterfield models would be raised on mahogany legs which formed part of a solid mahogany framework. Many would be upholstered in fabric as opposed to leather. Often, these Chesterfields would neglect the deep buttoning process and had a smooth finish, this simply depended on the choice of the upholsterer.

Whatever the real reason behind the name, a leather chesterfield by any other name would now be strange. A proud piece of furniture, made by proud craftsmen, for proud customers. In present day England a Chesterfield is now generally accepted to mean a deep buttoned leather sofa with arms that are of the same height as the back of the couch.