A Knole Sofa is not just a piece of furniture; it is a classy work of art. From their history, fabric, style and construction, you can see they have an excellent pedigree and are a significant mark of quality in the world of furniture. These impressive, practical furniture pieces can be purchased bespoke, brand new, second hand, or as period antiques through specialists or at auction houses.
No one knows exactly when the very first Knole sofa was made. However, we know that the most famous example originates from about 350 years ago in 17th Century England, in the county of Kent. It is there that a sofa of high quality, using the finest English traditional upholstering was created for Knole House; a stately home (the ancestral seat of the Sackville family) in Sevenoaks, from where the sofa takes its name. Occasionally referred to as ‘the Knole Settee’, some believe that it was the early prototype of the first Knole sofa. Whatever the truth, experts agree that the Knole sofa that still sits in Knole House is a fine example of the superiority and sophistication of this style of sofa.
Knole sofas still exude the style, class and quality that continue to make them popular today. Knole sofas can be made to measure and covered in any fabric or leather. Due to the custom nature of so many Knole sofas, they can be made to any size. At first glance, the Knole sofa doesn’t appear to be the most comfortable piece of furniture created. With high sides, tall upright back and drop down arms tied by elaborately braiding, it looks rather unusual, but its solid beech frame and wide seats made of Irish duck feather offer unsurpassed space and comfort.
The drop-down arms are a fascinating feature of this excellent example of finest quality furniture. 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 cosy place to nestle for the evening. In the days before central heating, this was a Godsend for a chilly night. These days, it may keep the heating bills down!
Historically, it is believed that the high arms were intended to prevent curious servants from spying on what the lady of the house might be doing whilst her husband was away on business! Whether this is historical fact, or fiction – it makes a great story to tell your visitors as they admire your very own Knole.
A bespoke handmade Knole is not a budget purchase. It can cost anything up to £5000, but it is a piece of furniture that will last several lifetimes. It is possible to purchase a pre-made Knole for less, but you will lose the exclusivity of a truly idiosyncratic sofa. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t prevent you from looking for a great Knole for less; there are lots of places to purchase a beautiful two or three seater Knole for less than £2000.