Choosing an antique biedermeier sofa
Choosing an antique sofa is always a difficult proposition. You will have a series of requirements to consider:
size, comfort, colour , decoration etc etc and then there is the intangible lust factor that certain pieces will engender that go beyond rational reasoning.
Swedish Biedermeier sofas come from one of 2 periods – so called original Biedermeier 1810 -1850 from the reign of Karl Johan (who was actually french) and then Biedermeier renaissance or second Biedermeier 1850-1920.
Mostly the sofas will have been constructed from pine or birch frames by individual master craftsmen and the construction of the sofas is always absolutely first rate.
Depending on the style, the frame will be veneered in either flame golden birch like this
or possibly a mahogany , cherrywood or birds eye maple veneer.
Veneers were very thin and were very cost effective compared to using full logs of the rare show woods. Interestingly the back of the sofas were never veneered as they were made to stand against the wall not in the middle of the room like modern sofas.
The sofa seat is either a bench seat which features a flat board with usually straw stuffing (on the earlier sofas) or a fully sprung seat.
Here 5″ copper coil springs are suspended from a cradle of twine and held in place by webbing with a layer of hessian above it. Then another layer of hessian lies on top of the spring network to support the horsehair stuffing which we supplement with cortel to make a perfectly rounded seat.
The back panel is similarly stuffed with horsehair and webbed to provided the tension necessary to make a comfortable back support and then hessian is wrapped across the sofa back to hide the innards.
Usually they were upholstered in a striped fabric with gymp along the edges to finish the decorative look.
The veneers are often finished in a variety of wood stains from light honey thru mid oak to darker mahogany.
see our current stock of biedermeier sofas at https://www.swedishinteriordesign.co.uk/swedish-antiques/antique-sofa.html