AW Antiques & Collectibles Restoration

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Antique Sofa - Restoration Projects

William the 1V sofa, before and after photos

The before and after photographs of this sofa give an indication of what restoration can be done with patience and an idea of what the piece of furniture would have originally looked like.

The first had spent some 15 years in somebody's garage, in pieces, before it came to me, so need fully restoring.

The wood was in a relatively good state no rot or woodworm, just a few splits that were easily glued together. The problem was, what should it look like when rebuilt and re-upholstered.

After looking through a number of antique books, I found similar looking sofa's with the swan neck arms, and the long carved back rail, in this instance solid mahogany. It also told me that it was of the William IV period, 1830-1837. Without springs, this would originally have had webbing supports tacked underneath with overstuffing of horsehair and coir with a mattress of similar filling placed on top. I used mainly coir (coconut fibre) and a small amount of animal hair. Hessian, calico and as many natural materials as possible to keep it as sympathetic to the original.

Upholstery as we know it today did not really come into being until around 1828 when the coil spring was invented. Before then, the important influences on furniture design mainly affected the shape, construction and ornamentation of wood rather than upholstery, and for hundreds of years seating was a convenience rather than an aid to relaxation.

In medieval times, if you sat at all, it was usually on a kind of low wooden or stone ledge attached to the inside wall of the house, covered with a rug or skin draped over it.
Edwardian two seater settee, before and after photos

The second photographs shows an Edwardian two seater settee, again in mahogany dated around 1900. Possibly part of a salon suite, which would have included two extra single chairs. Although the wooden framework was in good condition many of the joints needed re-gluing and the wood cleaned and polished, before re-upholstering.

CLICK HERE for Dating Furniture Periods.


If you would like advice on restoring an Antique Sofa, please get in touch by completing this short form. I am located in Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK.