Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sofa or Couch ??

An English Howard & Son designed Chesterfield circa 1870, Offered by  www.talismanlondon.com

If your relaxing on your sofa or lounging on your couch while reading this I'm sure you'd love to know a little more about this wonderfully decadent piece of furniture, well here goes...
A French 19th Century Louis XVI Style Daybed / Sofa. Offered by; www.1stdibs.com 


The use of the word “Couch” in English can be traced back to around 1450 and originated from the French word “Coucher” meaning to lay down.

The word “Sofa” in English dates from around the 17th century and derives from the Arabic word “Suffah” meaning a long reclining chair.
A Magnificent German Biedermeier Sofa circa 1830-1835, Offered by  www.ritterantik.com


Gradually over time the two words began to mean the same and today either word is usual.

The style of sofa (or couch) we know today was first designed in Europe in the later part of the 1600's when the wooden frames similar of those designed as basic settles began to be upholstered. The first materials used were feathers, horsehair and even dried sea moss for stuffing and padding, this was then covered in thick rich coloured velvets, fine silks or wool.
 These elaborate sofa's were expensive pieces of furniture and consequently in the price range of only the more wealthy and elite Europeans.
At this time sofa's were more likely to be found in the bedroom rather than the lounge and tended to be laid or reclined upon by the socially elite while entertaining close friends in the intimate surroundings of the bedroom or boudoir and was seen as absolute luxury.
A Louis XV Italian Venetian walnut Canape / Sofa, circa1850. Offered by ; www.danebergantiques.com


Heading into the 19th century and with the fast growth of industry the sofa began to become produced on a larger scale. This in turn brought down the price making it more obtainable for the middle classes also around the same time coiled springs started to be used in the base thus producing a far more comfortable and longer lasting sofa. Obviously the new middleclass owners lived in smaller properties than their wealthy counterparts so couldn't usually accommodate these large sofa's in a bedroom, so opted to situate them in the largest room in the house being normally the lounge or parlour area.
These were still relatively expensive pieces of furniture and were treated as so, regularly being only used when entertaining guests or on special occasions.
An American Rare Carved Classical Sofa with Chinese Chippendale feet, circa 1830. Offered by;www.stanleyweiss.com


By the beginning of the 20th century the sofa was a usual fixture in the majority of middleclass homes, this gradually was to become a mass produced piece of household furniture hence reducing the price further and within a short period of time the sofa was a common sight in most homes.
A Single Arm Tuxedo Sofa by Edward Wormley, American circa 1960.  Offered by ;www.wyethome.com
A Danish Orange Red Leather Couch circa 1960, Offered by; http://www.arenskjold.com 


Today the range and styles available is immense, personally I still favour the classic designs and really enjoy seeing them both in modern bright coloured fabrics as well as the more traditional velvets and leather.
A Classic English Chesterfield with Original Leather circa 1890, Offered by  www.obsoleteinc.com
Italian Knoll Sofa circa 1950's, Offered by www.holmessamselantiques.1stdibs.com

What's your favourite ??

4 comments:

  1. I like the look of the American Rare Carved Classical Sofa.

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  2. I Like that Sofa too, but think the Chesterfield is without doubt the "In front of the TV" couch for me..

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  3. Love that Danish couch! I've never seen so many couches or sofas in one place, thanks for sharing.

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