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Hepplewhite Sofas

By the end of the 18th century the habit of relaxing on settees and sofas had become fashionable in England and Hepplewhite produced many plans for sofas with stuffed backs as well as chair backs to cater to this trend.

The antique "confidante" sofa, supposedly of French origin, was made up of a settee with "barjier" chairs attached to the ends. The chairs were at an angle to the sofa and sometimes were detachable. Confidante sofas, with their curved, serpentine shape, are interesting in being more in the older Rococo style of the mid Georgian era rather than the neoclassical style more usually associated with the name of Hepplewhite.

"Duchesse" sofas were intended for a hallway or anteroom and were formed by two facing barjier chairs with a stool in the middle.

¶ Plates 21, 22, 23, 24, present four designs for sofas; the woodwork of which should be either mahogany or japanned, in accordance to the chairs; the covering also must be of the same.

Sofa sofa
sofa sofa

¶ The dimensions of sofas vary according to the size of the room and pleasure of the purchaser. The following is the proportion in general use: length between 6 and 7 feet, depth about 30 inches, height of the seat frame ¼ inches; total height in the back 3 feet 1 inch.

¶ Plate 25 shows a design for a sofa of the newest fashion; the frame should be japanned, with green on a white ground, and the edges gilt; the covering of red Moroccan leather.


¶ Plate 26 is a design for a bar-back sofa. This kind of sofa is of modern invention; and the lightness of its appearance has procured it a favourable reception in the first circles of fashion. The pattern of the back must match the chairs; these also will regulate the sort of framework and covering.


Confidante Sofas

¶ This piece of furniture is of French origin, and is in pretty general request for large and spacious suites of apartments. An elegant drawing room with modern furniture, is scarce complete without a confidante: the extent of which may be about 9 feet, subject to the same regulations as sofas. This piece of furniture is sometimes configured that the ends take away and leave a regular sofa: the ends may be used as Barjier chairs.

confidante sofa

Duchesse Sofas

¶ This piece of furniture also is derived from the French. Two Barjier chairs, of proper construction, with a stool in the middle, form the duchesse, which is allotted to large and spacious anterooms: the covering may be various, as also the framework, and made from 6 to 8 feet long.

Duchesse Sofa

¶ The stuffing may be of the round manner as shown in the drawing or low stuffed, with a loose squab or bordered cushion fitted to each part; with a duplicate linen cover to cover the whole, or each part separately. Confidantes, sofas, and chairs may be stuffed in the same manner.

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