November 02, 2017 3 min read
There are many names connected to the world of antique furniture. Chippendale furniture is by far the best known name. The popular Chippendale chair conquered American furniture starting around the 1770s with its elegant andformal English design. This style of furniture gets its name from Thomas Chippendale who was a cabinetmaker in the 18th century. Chippendale was first cabinet maker, and non monarch, to have been associated with describing a certain style. His furniture reflected well-liked English tastes of that period because he incorporated not only English, but Chinese and Gothic ornamentation, as well. Recognized by its superb and exquisite carving detail, these antiques, especiallydining chairs, are highly revered within the collector community.
Thomas Chippendale's early profession is a bit of a mystery. What is known is that he was born in 1718 in West Yorkshire, England. He was the son of a carpenter, John Chippendale, and served as his apprentice. He was known to be business savvy and a climber in the social ranks. He was also a self-publicist and saw the significance of advertising and public relations. In spite of his many talents, he was never accepted as a socialite, just in the realm of his professional capacity.
Fine Woods Make the Difference
Chippendale style furniture was commonly created from mahogany that was imported out of the West Indies. Cabinetmakers sporadically used veneers but they are not representative of this style. Solid wood was preferred because it could accommodate the intricate carving used in this style of furniture. You will find thatChippendale chairs,made of solid wood, were made very well and are quite sturdy.
During the 18th century, many cabinetmakers were using Dominican, Cuban, and Honduran mahogany wood during the latter part of the century. Of these woods, the premium was Cuban. It was a heavy and dense wood with a nice close grain. When they carved the Cuban mahogany, it produced minuscule white flecks that would become visible in the wood. Honduran wood is lighter in color and weight. Flame mahogany refers to the nature of the grain, obtained by using the first limb of the tree. Also, another much desired grain, frequently referred to as "plum pudding" was mottled mahogany. The quality of the mahogany from the Dominican Republic was somewhere in between the Cuban and the Honduran offerings.
Chippendale created a hybrid style of furnishings that displaced the more angular Queen Anne style. This was accomplished by combining and melding the Chinese and Gothic styles with the extravagant Rococo style. During an identical period, Bermuda furniture makers used local cedar that bore an orange hue. Within America, cabinetmakers were using softwoods like white pine for the core carcasses of furniture. Throughout England, the preferential was hardwood as in oak. However, throughout the Chippendale era in America, Connecticut cabinetmakers preferred cherry wood more regularly than mahogany.
The Chippendale Signature
There is a signature style to the Chippendale chair and few basic Chippendale leg styles for you to choose from. Each has its own distinctive design and name. Among the most recognizable are the ball and claw, the Marlborough, the spade, and the lion’s paw foot. The Queen Anne style cabriole leg was often incorporated into the chippendale leg. Many Chippendale styles were based upon the cabriole shape. This elegant style is serpentine in nature and ends in a distinctively shaped foot.
Additionally, many Chippendale chairs are influenced by Chinese and Gothic design. These designs had straight or tapering legs with lattice work and fret with tracery carving.
While Chippendale style is based upon interpretations of the Queen Anne and Georgian designs, many additional forms of uniqueness were introduced. You may come across one style that is often linked with the Chippendale known as the "Chinese Chippendale" or Chinoiserie. Chinese Chippendale decor and furniture was quite popular, in spite of the climb of Neoclassicism, especially for use in bedroom furniture. Painted decorative art used sometimes to imitate lacquer became known as the final word in chic.
Though collectors identify Chippendale synonymously with a widespread variety of chair designs, there is an ample variety of furnishings included in the body of work. Select from lattice, geometrical to Chinese, or extravagantly carved and interlaced forms. Chippendale’s yield also included desks, hanging bookshelves, mirror frames, bookcases and settees. These pieces feature fretted cornices and embellished latticework with glazed doors.
With each Chippendale chair in our offering, you can envision the Chinese, Gothic or Rococo inspiration behind it and enjoy the highest quality craftsmanship and design that bears the name Chippendale.