Chippendale Style (1750-1780)

The Chippendale style is named after its creator, Thomas Chippendale, who was one of the best cabinetmakers and British designers of the 18th century.

Plaque to Chippendale's memory in the place of his birth.
Plaque to Chippendale’s memory in the place of his birth. Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Chippendale/media/File:Chippendale.jpg

 

WHO IS THOMAS CHIPPENDALE?

Thomas Chippendale (June 1718 – 1779) was born at Otley, West Riding of Yorkshire. Chippendale was a London cabinet-maker and furniture designer in the mid-Georgian, English Rococò and Neoclassical styles.

In 1754 he published a book of his designs, titled “The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director”, upon which success he became renowned. The designs are regarded as reflecting the current British fashion for furniture of that period and are today reproduced globally.


Title page of the 1754 edition of The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director.
Title page of the 1754 edition of The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director. Image source: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/thomas-chippendale/

Along with Thomas Sheraton and George Hepplewhite he was one of the “three magnificent” of the English furniture makers of the eighteenth century.

Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Chippendale

Imaginary portrait of Thomas Chippendale on the Exhibition Road façade of the V&A, Albert Hodge, 1906.
Imaginary portrait of Thomas Chippendale on the Exhibition Road façade of the V&A, Albert Hodge, 1906. Image source: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/thomas-chippendale

 

IMPORTANT COSTUMERS:

Chippendale was more than a simple cabinet maker: infact, took charge of the interior design and, in a sense even more side, the production of furniture as a whole (often destined to noble residences, as in the case of Harewood House in which worked for years), to the choice of color with which a room was painted.

Initially he worked in company with James Rannie, an upholsterer, who died in 1766. Chippendale continued the business alone until he took Thomas Haig, Rannie’s former clerk, into partnership in 1771, yet always maintaining control on the final outcome of the St. Martin’s Lane in the laboratory production.

Info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Thomas-Chippendale

The furniture designed by him (chairs, beds, sofa, but also convenient, tables, cabinets, mirrors, etc.) they were commissioned by wealthy aristocrats and for different buildings:

-at Blair Castle, Perthshire, for the Duke of Atholl (1758);

Wilton House, for Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke (about 1759-1773);

Nostell Priory, Yorkshire, by Sir Roland Winn, (between 1766 and 1785);

Mersham The Hatch, Kent, for Sir Edward Knatchbull, (between 1767 and 1779), and others.

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Chippendale beds for Harewood House. Image source: http://harewood.org/explore/art/artwork/the-state-bed/
Chippendale bookcase in the smoking room at Wilton House, Salisbury.
Chippendale bookcase in the smoking room at Wilton House, Salisbury. Image source: http://www.wiltonhouse.co.uk

 

A STYLE THAT INSPIRED OTHERS 

Chippendale was the creator of a personal style that made the school, and furniture marked by this style were produced in Dublin and Philadelphia, as well as in Lisbon, Copenaghen, Hamburg.

The special appeal of his designs had new popularity in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the creation of derivative styles, such as “Chinese Chippendale“, the “Gothic Chippendale“, and even the “Irish Chippendale“. Many of these later designs, however, have little in common with the original style of the original and most famous cabinetmaker.

 

Main Characteristics :
  • cabriole legs
  • shell motifs
  • claw-and-ball foot.

  • materials: mahogany, walnut, cherry or maple. 
Mahogany ribbonback chairs in the Rococo style, designed by Thomas Chippendale, 18th century.
Mahogany ribbonback chairs in the Rococo style, designed by Thomas Chippendale, 18th century. Image source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Chippendale
Card table in Chippendale style
Card table in Chippendale style
Sofa in Chippendale style.
Sofa in Chippendale style.

 

images source: http://www.museumfurniture.com/chippendale/

Corner cupboard, Thomas Chippendale, about 1768–78.
Corner cupboard, Thomas Chippendale, about 1768–78. Image source: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/thomas-chippendale/

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