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Borthwick Castle, Interior Designer Melanie Brown

The Tiplady Knole Sofa: A Timeless Masterpiece

From the aristocratic halls of English country houses to the chic salons of London, The Tiplady Knole sofa has stood the test of time since the 17th century and has an incredibly rich history.

The History


    The Tiplady Knole sofa was first made in the 17th century, around 1640. The original can still be seen at Knole House in Kent, which was owned by the Sackville-West family from 1605 and is now in the care of the National Trust.

    The Sackville family, patrons of the arts and influential figures in the royal court of King William and Queen Mary, were gifted the Tiplady Knole sofa during Charles Sackville's tenure as Lord Chamberlain and Master of the Great Wardrobe. This connection led to the relocation of esteemed furniture pieces from Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace to the halls of Knole House.

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The Original Knole Sofa, Knole House, kent

The Design


    The Tiplady Knole sofa was a revolutionary design piece, completely different to traditional pieces of the time, given its built-in back, enclosed sides, and the depth of the cushion. It was originally used as a formal throne-like seat on which a monarch would have sat to receive visitors.

    The side arms are tied to the sofa back with a heavy decorative braid, often with an elaborate tassel, looped around the finials. The high sides and back were originally designed to protect from both draughts and the direct heat when positioned by the fireplace. Others attribute the sofa's unique design to the evolving fashion trends of the time, suggesting that its adjustable sides could accommodate the voluminous dresses worn by women.

    The Tiplady Knole sofa continues to grace interiors with its distinctive silhouette, evoking a sense of history and tradition wherever it resides. Whether as a statement piece in a stately manor or a focal point in a modern urban oasis, The Tiplady Knole sofa remains a symbol of enduring beauty and sophistication.

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Borthwick Castle, Interior Designer Melanie Brown

George Smith Tiplady Knole Sofas


    At George Smith, we specialise in crafting exceptional upholstered furniture that enhances both style and comfort in your living space. Our iconic Tiplady Knole Sofa showcases our commitment to precision and expert craftship.

    Whether you prefer the timeless charm of a buttoned design or the refined simplicity of an unbuttoned style, the Tiplady Knole Sofa offers versatility to suit your individual preferences. With a wide selection of fabrics and finishes available, you can customise this piece to reflect your unique taste.

    You can find this iconic sofa adorning the elegant surroundings of The Dorchester's Promenade, a perfect excuse for afternoon tea. Discover the George Smith Tiplady Knole sofa today!

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The Dorchester, The Promenade
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The Dorchester, The Promenade

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