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Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779)

Biography of cabinet maker and furniture designer Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779)

Thomas Chippendale (1718–1779) was an English cabinet maker and furniture designer in the mid Georgian period.

The Chippendale family had been in the wood working trade for many years, so Thomas Chippendale had a very hands on training from his father John Chippendale (1690-1768), who was a joiner.

Thomas Chippendale was the first cabinet maker to publish a book: The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director in 1754. The designs for the furniture in the book reflected the fashion of that period and were widely copied by other cabinet makers and designers.

There were three editions of the Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director. The first edition was in 1754 and sold out almost immediately, the second edition followed in 1755 and then the final edition in 1762.

Chippendale's designs from his book were used by many cabinet makers, hence Chippendale furniture appeared countrywide and overseas. Indeed, both Catherine The Great and Louis XVI owned copies of his book.

The book showed four main styles of furniture – English, French Rococo, Chinese and Gothic.

The English furniture was elaborately and deeply carved, the French Furniture in the Louis XV style, the Chinese furniture with plenty of lacquer and latticework and the Gothic furniture with lots of pointed arches.

The importance of his book should not be under-estimated - indeed his influence was so great the Chippendale name is often used to describe furniture of the Mid 18th Century as a whole.

Chippendale took on very large commissions for aristocratic clients around the country. Some of these include Blair Castle, Wilton House, Harewood House, Newby Hall, Paxton House and Dumfries House.

He collaborated in furnishing interiors designed by Robert Adam, notably at Harewood House and Nostell Priory. Chippendale was not just a cabinet maker, but also an interior designer, advising on such things as the colour of walls and choices for soft furnishings.

Chippendale's favourite wood was mahogany and when making chairs, he never used veneers, always opting for solid wood instead.

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Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) Related Lots

Lot FS18/813

Lot FS18/813: A Pair of George III Mahogany Pedestal Urns

A pair of George III mahogany pedestal urns, being zinc lined and ormolu mounted, the detachable covers with beaded and paterae decorated handles and beaded finials, the half reeded bodies with fluted bands and applied masks of the devil, ribbon tied husk garlands and circular fluted and beaded paterae, the pedestals below with fluted friezes, one lead lined, the other fitted with three short drawers, each enclosed by a moulded panel door with central oval paterae and circular paterae spandrels and raised on a plinth, 172cm (5ft 6in) high.

Estimate: £120,000 - £160,000
Realised: £350,000