Upholstery is a skilled craft that has been around since the Middle Ages when wealthy homes began to have padded seat cushions. The emergence of window drapes or curtains created a whole new area of upholstery which has continued to grow today and now includes blinds, bed covers etc. and now known as Soft Furnishing.
More traditional upholstery began to appear at the start of the 17th century when it became fashionable for the wealthy to have luxurious items in their homes such as padding on their chairs. The padding was in fact basic materials such as grass, feathers, sawdust, animal hair such as horse or goat.
The Worshipful Company of Upholders (an Upholder being an early name for Upholsterer) became the first recognised trade guild in upholstery and was formed and receive its coat of arms which has three tents on it, (it is common belief that the craft of upholstery evolved from tent making) during the reign of Edward IV in 1465.
Gradually, as the years progressed, various developments to the trade came into being, particularly towards the end of the century when horsehair became the ideal and used for stuffing furniture. During the reign of Elizabeth 1 one landmark improvement was the ‘Stitched Edge’ to add padding to shapes. This led to the creation of more diverse furniture as curved and ornate designs began to appear.