Saturday, December 11, 2021

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.

The historical Knole Sofa is definitely on of the most recognizable sofa styles and shapes we enjoy today.

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

The original Knole sofa is thought to have been made around 1640.
Some of the items undergoing treatment include the 17th Century Knole sofa, which inspired copies around the world. The future of hundreds of historical objects has been secured as part of a £20m restoration by the National Trust.

via Pinterest

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 Knole sofa features a back and arms that are all the same height. 

 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.

Elizabethan Room in the Manor House at Ladew Gardens

What distinguishes a knole sofa from its counterparts is that its sides are hinged and can be partially or fully lowered, allowing the occupant to recline or lie flat as desired. When the sides are in the raised position, they are anchored to the back of the sofa with sash cords.

Some say the unique design if the knole sofa was a way to accommodate women's fashions of the time. The adjustable sides could be changed depending on the width of the dress. 

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.

A Knole sofa in a French Provincial interior looks fabulous!

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.

Tim Beddow, Photographer

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

Beaitiful Knole sofa in room designed by William Eubanks.

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.

via Pinterest

Since a sofa can become the focal point of your living room creating  the first impression of your home on your guests, why not invest in the Knole sofa for ultimate WOW factor!!

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Decorating With Blue And White Tulipieres

Tulip Mania: a period in the 17th century where the exorbitant cost of tulip bulbs (recently introduced to the Netherlands from Asia through global trade) caused a frenzied trend as the flower became a status symbol, and the royal as well as the rich desired a means of growing and showing the tulip indoors. Hence the tulipiere or tulip holder. These large, floor-standing vessels with their ornate and pyramid-shape became an instant way to indicate the owner's wealth

Usually made of blue and white Delftware or Chinese porcelain, tulipieres were not designed as vases for cut flowers. Instead they originally were used to force tulip, hyacinth, or crocus bulbs to grow and bloom in the house.

Today tulipieres are used to hold tulip stems or blooms from other flowers. I can't imagine anyone who loves to grow flowers not coveting one. If you are in possession of one of these antique beauties, consideration yourself very fortunate as they can be quite expensive. However there are modern versions of the tulipiere in a variety of styles and shapes so get one and create your own lovely tablescapes.

Carolyne Roehm

The blue and white tulipiere is basically a tower shaped vessel dedicated to the presentation of the tulip flower. In the 17th century they were common pieces of decorative art that could often be found in the houses of European aristocracy. They are typically constructed to accommodate one single bulb per spout with a larger common water reservoir base.

The history of blue and white Delft pottery can be traced back to the foundation of the Dutch East India Company in 1602. All through the period known as the ‘Dutch Golden Age’ Delft ceramics produced tulipieres. In fact The popularity of the Delftware trade was actually contributed to the love of the tulip during this time.

After the advent of large-scale global trade in the 17th century, numerous flower bulbs from Asia, such as the tulip, crocus, and hyacinth became luxury items in Europe, and these bulbs remained an exotic novelty until the end of the 17th century. This made these beautiful blue and white tulipieres the perfect accessory of the day.

Via Town & Country Magazine

Over 300 years after the first vases were developed in Delft, the blue and white flower pyramid is a famous national icon with royal allure.

Beautiful twin blue and white Delft tulipieres in the Diogenes Room at Dyrham, Gloucestershire, UK .

The blue and white tulipiere became popular after it was displayed at Hampton Court in England, although its origins are Dutch.

Today the  tulipiere is a showcase for the beautiful blooms of any flower. They are great accessories for foyers, dining rooms, hallways....the list goes on.

A majority of tulipiere are blue and white and often feature the shape of a pyramid or obelisk. It's design was influenced by the Porcelain Pagoda in Nanking, China.

Your home will reflect a bit of history when decorating with a tulipiere. These seventeenth century inventions for the growing of bulbs are still highly in demand even today.

Pretty as an objet d'art, a tulipiere will add a touch of style to your blue and white vignette.

A blue and white tulipiere looks marvelous as part of a tablescape or centerpiece. This one features a lady on top.

Axel Vervoordt

Of all the tulipieres I think the blue and white ones are the most desired. They are so pretty when used in groupings of other blue and white porcelain or Delftware.

source unknown

A tulipiere full of flowers will instantly create a beautiful, balanced arrangement.

Antique blue and white tulipiere at the Victoria and Albert Museum c1690 made for Queen Mary from a design by Daniel Marot a French Huguet who fled to Holland.

The tulipiere is a great accessory for the Chinoiserie interior because of it's pagoda shape

It was trendy at the time to use tulipiere bouquets in the fireplace during the warmer months.

It was acceptable for a large tulipiere to have in excess of thirty sprouts. I think tulipieres look great when used with topiary as they are here in a fireplace at Chatsworth, the residence of the Dukes of Devonshire.

House & Garden, photographer Melanie Acevedo

A bit of holly added to a blue and white Delftware tulipiere will make a stunning Christmas display.

Or adorned with red blossoms a blue and white a tulipiere is perfect for the holidays.

Blue and white tuliperies are so beautiful when surrounded by other antiques in an old world vignette.

You can see how a tulipiere can make flower arranging a breeze. Fill up the water reservoir, place your cuttings in the holes and Voila!...... instant arrangement.

via Florabundance, Inc

One can easily see from this image why the blue and white tulipiere or flower pyramid is a phenomenon that has been used for hundreds of years by royalty and aristocrats.

A rare Dutch delft blue and white tiered chinoiserie tulip vase.

via Flower Magazine

I love the purple coneflowers used in this tulipiere. This wildflower is perfect for a lovely light and airy interior.

Kelli Ford and Kirsten Fitzgibbons via Veranda

These blue and white tulipieres show you what pretty accent pieces they can be even if you choose not to use them as vases.

Tulipieres come in assorted shapes and sizes and with little effort can create a beautiful display for any setting.

via Pinterest

Tulipieres are not all pyramidal. This antique blue and white one resembles a tureen and has stolen my heart!!

via Pinterest

This blue and white tulipiere features dahlias instead of tulips....but that's OK!

Fan shaped tulipieres were also very popular.

While the tulipiere had it's heyday in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, it still remains a perennial favorite.

These Brunschwig fils Delft tulipiere vase lamps are not blue and white but had to share as they are also very chic and pretty. 

If the 17-19th century blue and white Delft and Chinese pieces are a bit too ornate for your taste you might want to consider a contemporary tulipiere. They are still perfect for showing off your tulips and other garden blooms.

Decorating with today's modern tulipieres puts a contemporary spin on an old-world idea.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

In the event that I have not credited the correct source of an image, please contact me at and I will be glad to correct it.

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