Hepplewhite Style (1775-1800)

The Hepplewhite style bears the name of its creator, George Hepplewhite. It was considered an elegant and trendy furniture style.

Heppelwhite style chair.
Heppelwhite style chair.

Image source: https://www.pinterest.it

Who was George Heppelwhite?

George Hepplewhite was an  English cabinetmaker and furniture designer whose name is associated with Neoclassicism. Not so much is known about Hepplewhite himself. After he died in 1786, his shop went on thanks to his widow, Alice. In 1788 she published a book featuring about 300 projects, “The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers Guide”. The book will influence cabinet makers for several years.


The cabinet-maker and upholsterer's guide. First edition.
The cabinet-maker and upholsterer’s guide. First edition.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org

Carving was important in his designs. He preferred satinwood and sycamore for unusual veneering. On his satinwood panels there are  decorative paintings of Angelica Kauffman, Michael Angelo Pergolesi, and other Italian artists. Sideboards and desks were decorated with carved details employed with chaste restraint. 

Drawing of "A commode" from Heppelwhite.
Drawing of “A commode” from Heppelwhite.

Image source: https://buffaloah.com

Characteristics of this Style.

The furniture designed by Hepplewhite was an deep rethinking of the neoclassical model. He gave a beginning to a new way of conceiving furniture. Recurrent characteristic are:

  • shield-shaped chair back and delicate carving;
  • upholstered seats;
  • straight, tapered legs;
  • a gorgeous mix of classical-inspired and authentic ancient motifs;
Side cabinet George Hepplewhite style.
Side cabinet George Hepplewhite style.

 Image source: http://www.museumfurniture.com

Info source: https://buffaloah.com/f/fstyles/fed/hepp/index.html

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