I thought today we could look in more detail at the design of 1800s and 1900s Swedish Gustavian sofas.
They have been much copied now and have provided reference for many modern reinterpretations but you just cant beat the real thing.
Here for example is a 2 seater antique Gustavian sofa from 1850 that we currently have for sale -
It has highly decorated arms with acanthus leaf scrolls that are all hand carved - can you imagine how long that took to do!
Look closely at the detail: especially how the original gilt work has faded so beautifully over time and the delicate flower motifs that sit atop the legs
Then you have the delicate hand carved scroll motifs that go along the front edge of the Gustavian sofa providing stunning visual detail - wow!
Then the top rail of the Gustavian sofa has the classic swedish cane work carved detailing with a central rose motif again with remarkable workmanship.
As you can see, it is quite some piece.
In terms of comfort, the seat is made up of original horsehair to which we have added natural fibre and then layers of cortel to create the perfect domed seat that every Gustavian sofa of this type should have. The back pad is similarly domed and really comfy to lean back against.
The seat support comes from an array of original 5" copper coil springs strung together with twine to provide firm yet comfortable seating and supported by webbing. We have replaced the old webbing with top quality black and white webbing. The fabric used is a white fine swedish linen.
Finally don't forget the classic Gustavian legs that are common to all sofas of this type. The deep fluting lengthens the legs visually making them very attractive and the legs on this sofa are very rare in that they have tiny carvings inside the flutes!!!
take a look
Jo Lee is Director of Swedish Interior Design