In the Victorian era, the love seat presented a visible example of etiquette and how courting should be conducted. This which was generally in the public domain and the love seat was designed specifically for this purpose. The seat was often elaborately carved in mahogany or walnut, stylishly upholstered and fashioned to draw the courting couple together. Some were designed for the man to lean more towards the woman, other serpentine shaped examples created a more balanced informality to the proceedings.
The Queen Anne love seat over a hundred years earlier was a more formal example and what we think of today as a two seater sofa, where the seat allowed the sitters more space and design wise perhaps created less in the way of expectation. Often these examples would have the cabriole leg and scrolled arms of the period but enabled the sitters to remain straight or even languish away from each other rather than be drawn to each other like the Victorian examples.
Modern love seats vary in style from the quite traditional to the contemporary. Some examples are hardly larger than an armchair and yet are not big enough to be described as a sofa so two sitters would be very cosy indeed. Other modern examples in English oak look more like a Henry Moore sculpture and yet design wise more traditional where each seat scoops the sitter towards the other.
Whether the love seat as a functional piece of furniture has a place in today’s modern world is arguable, but antique furniture examples can still readily be found through Lancashire and London dealerships.
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