SETTEE, a long upholstered seat, usually high-backed and with arms at each end. Its ancestors were the settle and the chair it has alternately resembled the one and the other. It is broadly distinguished from the many varieties of sofa by being intended for sitting rather than reclining its seat is of the same height as that of a chair; its arms and much of its detail are chair-like. It dates from about the middle of the 17th century, but examples of that early period are exceedingly rare. There is a famous one at Knole, made about midway between the restoration of Charles II. and the revolution of 1688. By that lima the settee had acquired the splendid upholstery and convoluted woodwork which adorned the end of the Stuart period. Early in the 18th century the conjoined double or triple chair form became fashionable. The form was artless, and the absence of upholstery, save on the seat, produced a somewhat angular effect. This type of settee was in essence two chairs with one set of arms. Chippendale made many such pieces, some of them of great beauty. As the taste for carved furniture waned these sturdy settees were replaced by lighter ones, often graceful enough in outline Hepplewhite and Sheraton were distinguished practitioners but partaking more and more of the " stuffed-over " character. The desire for comfort and ease gradually drove out the original idea that the settee was intended only for sitting bolt upright. Its modern varieties are many, but in all of them the frame, once so lavishly ornamented, is almost concealed by upholstery.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)