Have a Knole sofa designed for your home

The Kensington Large Knole Sofa

The Kensington Large Knole Sofa - Credit: Archant

Promotional feature: Louise and Richard Harvey talk about the exceptional quality of their bespoke hand made Knole sofas.

The contemporary Hampshire curved Knole Sofa

The contemporary Hampshire curved Knole Sofa - Credit: Archant

The Richard Harvey Collection, which houses a broad range of home furniture and accessories, sits behind a small exterior on Church Street in Shipston on Stour. Parts of the shop date back to Tudor times and proof lies in the old lead lined window which is preserved behind the shop counter today.

Louise said: “If Richard and I had been around during the time that parts of our shop were built we wouldn’t have been privy to such luxuries as the sofa’s which we sell here today. Instead, if we had wanted to sit together, it would have been most probably on a plain wooden bench. And for any sort of back support we would have just had to push the bench against the nearest wall!”

Sofas literally didn’t exist before the 17th Century. And it was not until the late 1600’s that the first known upholstered settee was ordered for the occupants of Knole House in Sevenoaks, one of the great historic English houses situated in rural Kent. This sofa became an important prototype for the Knole settee as it is known today and now a specialist area for Richard and Louise’s business.

The original Knole sofa featured much more generous proportions than a chair, along with a high back and sides that were designed to keep its occupants draught free. A ‘built in back’ meant that the sofa could now be moved to a more central point in the room.

Beautiful fabrics perfectly pattern-matched by hand

Beautiful fabrics perfectly pattern-matched by hand - Credit: Archant

Later versions of the Knole sofa were built with hinged arms which were completely detachable and held together with cords tied on carved pegs on the back and sides. It has been suggested that this unusual feature may have been for pure practicality, in order to allow the sofa to be dismantled and taken ‘on tour’ with royalty, or just moved in to other rooms of the home with ease. The hinged arms could also be let down for the occasional ‘afternoon nap.’ And it has been suggested in certain times, that the characteristics of the Knole sofa (deep seated with high enclosed sides) lent themselves to a particular ‘kind of behaviour’ offering the ladies of the house and their illicit gentleman callers such privacy from prying eyes! The removable and hinged arms are a feature which is still very much a design statement today and, as Richard Harvey discovered, they make it all the more practical to deliver Knole sofas to small houses, cottages, or apartment buildings.

Knole sofas have remained popular to this day and can now be adapted to suit both traditional and the more contemporary interior. Richard said: “We have had lots of exciting projects to work on in the past incorporating classical timeless fabrics and the modern contemporary finishes. We even had the design of our Knole sofa brought into the 21st century with the addition of a curve front.

Most Read

“The designers and manufacturers of our hand made bespoke Knole sofas have been in the trade since 1972 and the highest of standards continue today. Only the finest materials are used, combined with highly skilled crafts men and women to produce a range exquisite handmade furniture. All frames are 100% made from selected hardwoods each one glued, screwed and dowelled. A fully coil sprung mesh top spring unit is used to give superb comfort and long life to the furniture. The fabrics are cut and tailored by hand to produce the finest pattern matching and all valances are hand sewn. All of this provides our customers with an exquisite piece of furniture that is unique to them.

“We can also tailor our range to meet customer’s special requirements, a bespoke product in every sense of the word, height depth and width can be adjusted if required. If you have any questions or would simply like to discuss any aspects of our company or products, we are always delighted to hear from you.”

The classic Cotswold Knole Sofa

The classic Cotswold Knole Sofa - Credit: Archant


Louise and Richard’s selection of bespoke Knole Sofas and chairs which can be seen in their converted Chapel showroom. So if you have any questions or would simply like to discuss any aspects of their upholstery then they would be delighted to hear from you. They are able to offer home visits to customers within a 30-mile radius to discuss design requirements and bring a selection of fabrics for you to view in your desired location.

The Richard Harvey Collection, 28 Church Street, Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire CV36 4AP Tel: 01608 662168 www.rhcollection.co.uk

Our Cotswold Love Seat

Our Cotswold Love Seat - Credit: Archant