|The word "club" in club
chair harks back to the gentlemen's clubs in nineteenth century England
where a gentleman could go to get away from his household (including
womenfolk). Once there, he would sink into a well-upholstered leather chair
and relax with a drink and perhaps a cigar. The names of the fashionable
London streets full of such clubs are still used to name classic club
chairs : St. James, Piccadilly and so on.
Many Victorian leather club chairs were
button-backed, companion pieces to Chesterfield sofas (also a nineteenth
century design). A dictionary definition of a club chair is "A heavily
upholstered easy chair with arms and a low back". Although any fabric can be
used to upholster them, leather, being the quintessential gentleman's
furnishing material, has been consistently popular.