Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Decorating With The Knole Sofa

One of the earliest examples of a sofa, the Knole Sofa has quite a pedigree. It was originally an upholstered casual throne on which the monarch would have sat to receive visitors. Named for one of the great houses of England, Knole House, located in Kent and owned by the Sackville-West family since 1605, this sofa has unmatched style and class. As with all "classics" it comes and goes with the times, and is still very much in production today

Sofas were uncommon before the 17th century. Seating for more than one person was in the style of a bench (which was pushed up against walls for back support as well as drafts from the cold air). The Knole sofa was designed with high, adjustable side arms and considerable depth of seating. Back in Tudor times, the sides were kept high to keep out drafts. When necessary the sides could be lowered to provide a chaise-like arrangement making it perfect for lounging or napping. The tops of the back and sides have finials and when the back and sides are in an upright position, they are held in place by braided cord, often with tassels, wrapped around the finials.

I adore the silhouette of the Knole sofa and so must many others as it is one of the "go to" sofas people want to own when they intend to add some elegance to their homes.

The original Knole sofa in Knole House, which is part of the National Trust

During the Jacobean period seating for more than one person was usually a backless couch set against a wall that was frequently hung with tapestries. Eventually an integrated back was added, which led to the design of the now-famous Knole sofa, which dates to the period just prior to the English Civil War in the early 1600s. The back, along with those tall arms, could create a shelter from cold drafts and allowed the seats to move out into the room, away from the wall.

The Knole sofa adds instant class to a room. While typically English, it works beautifully with French furnishings as well. It is perfectly at home in an antique eclectic interior.

via Pinterest

From English cottage to manor house the Knole makes an Anglophile's heart skip a beat.

Knole sofa in a 14th century Cotswold cottage.

These twin Knole sofas grace the saloon of Coughton Court, Warwickshire.

via Pinterest

 My personal favorite is this tapestry Knole sofa. Yes, I do have sofa envy!!

British royalty of stage and screen, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh were Knole owners

Knoles are traditional English country-house sofas. You see them usually in velvets and trims.

via pinterest

The Knole sofa still adds a sophisticated presence to the modern living room.

Beautiful Knoles in the Bloomsbury Hotel.

Knole Velvet Sofa with Silk and Hand Appliqued Details, England, Circa 1880. 

A Knole Settee by Francis Lenyon 1910. Edgy lines form the seat's unconventional silhouette, while finial tie backs grace each corner with elegant appeal.

A rare, late-18/early-19th century, Knole settee upholstered in 17th century, verdure tapestry. The British Antique Dealers' Association

Velvet clad Knole sofa in this Alberto Pinto designed room. I think these sofas are displayed at their best when used in the center of large rooms, instead of the traditional up-against-the-wall setting.

A Knole Sofa sits in the salon of Timothy Corrigan's Chateau Du Grand-Luce.

via pinterest

This venerable English silhouette has a talent for shifting from traditional to contemporary, depending on its cover, while still maintaining a meaningful historical reference.

A Ross Bleckner painting hangs on the far wall above a Tiplady Knole sofa recovered in Fortuny fabric.

Midwest Home Magazine

The Knole sofa is in a class by itself with unmatched style. I love the way it has been updated it in this fantastic grey fabric.

Orlando Diaz-Azcuy

The Knole has a talent for changing its look according to its upholstery and the ornamentation used. Using a sleeker finial, for example, takes the sofa in a much more contemporary direction.

What sofa gives you these striking grand proportions other than a Knole? Brilliant design and tasteful aesthetics make this sofa an incomparable addition.

A crafty blend of fashion and function allow this Knole sofa to bring fundamental elements to your home without sacrifice.

via pinterest

Layla Grayce

You can make a Knole sofa contemporary in design depending on how you dress it up.

The drop-down arms are a fascinating feature of the Knole sofa. When fully dropped down, they allow the sofa to be used as a bed. When fully raised, they keep out the cold, creating a very snug and cozy place to nestle for the evening.

They are expensive....but aren't all works of art?

Downton Abby fans will be familiar this Knole!

This Knole would look as at home in an old world interior as it would a contemporary one. It has such handsome lines.

Although some say the Knole sofa is passee, I think it will always be with us.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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