Susie, founder of Chesterfields at The Boathouse.
Having spent many years bringing up five children and twenty-five years of being a professional child-minder it was time to move on and indulge in a new venture.
In 2011, I started buying and selling vintage furniture such as welsh dressers, farmhouse tables and chairs, pine chests and wardrobes and the occasional chesterfield.
My husband, Ian, showed a keen interest in my new business and was soon helping with the preparation of these items in his workshop at the rear of The Boathouse. As time passed it become evident that in specialising in chesterfields we had found a niche together purveying these iconic, timeless sofas.
We have sold hundreds to date and with their continuing popularity will enjoy doing so for many years.
The business is run from our boathouse based on beautiful Mersea Island.
The History of The Chesterfield
So, where did these iconic sofas get their name – Chesterfields?
The chesterfield sofa is not just a piece of furniture but a piece of history.
There are many opinions on the origin of the word “chesterfield” as a description of the item we now know as such. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the use of the word chesterfield was already used in England in the 1800’s to describe a leather couch.
It is believed that British aristocrat Lord Phillip Stanhope [1694-1773] the 4th Earl of Chesterfield first commissioned the Chesterfield sofa; circa 1750.He was a famous diplomat, statesman, writer and a trendsetter who loved tasteful interiors and furniture.
He asked a local craftsman to design and make a piece of furniture which would allow a gentleman to sit comfortably on without creasing their garments. It had deep-buttoned leather upholstery, rolled arms, and equal back and arm heights.
His godson Mr. Dayrolls inherited it on The Earls passing and was struck at how the years of wear had only made it look more attractive. It is then said that many other aristocrats admired the sofa and had similar ones made.
This then established the Chesterfield sofa as an iconic piece of British history.