Thomas Chippendale

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Chippendale, Thomas

Chippendale, Thomas (chĭpˈəndālˌ), 1718–79, celebrated English cabinetmaker. His designs were so widely followed that a whole general category of 18th-century English furniture is commonly grouped under his name. Chippendale's Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, an illustrated trade catalog first published in 1754, was widely influential in England and America. Among the numerous pieces stamped with his style, it is possible to assign unquestionably to his own workshop only those for which the original bills still remain, as in the case of Harewood House and Nostell Priory, whose furnishings were created by him. While he based his work upon the general Queen Anne and Georgian characteristics of sober design and thoroughly fine construction, retaining many of the early 18th-century details, Chippendale's distinction was to introduce many other forms. For these he used three outside inspirations—Chinese, Gothic, and contemporaneous French rococo. The first two resulted naturally from the general mid-18th-century enthusiasms for chinoiserie decoration and pseudo-Gothic architecture. Chippendale's name is emphatically identified with the extensive variety of chair types that he developed—from geometrical to Chinese, lattice, or sumptuously carved and interlaced forms. Chippendale's varied output also included desks; mirror frames; hanging bookshelves; settees, with which he was especially successful; china cabinets and bookcases, frequently with fretted cornices and latticework glazed doors; and tables with delicately fretted galleries and distinctive cluster-column legs of Gothic inspiration. The last phase of his career shows the influence of the designs of Robert Adam. Chippendale's style, quickly imported to America, was imitated by a number of expert cabinetmakers.


See studies by A. Coleridge (1968) and C. Gilbert (2 vol. 1986).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chippendale, Thomas


Baptized June 5, 1718, in Otley, Yorkshire; buried Nov. 13, 1779, in London. English cabinetmaker.

Chippendale settled in London around 1738, where in time he established the unique Chippendale style. Chippendale’s furniture designs, which favored the use of mahogany, combined utility of form, comfort, and clarity of structure with delicate lines and intricate patterns. The designs combined motifs of Chinese art, the Gothic, and the rococo. In the 18th century, furniture in the Chippendale style was known throughout Europe, including Russia. In 1754, Chippendale published his album of furniture designs, The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director.


Lowe, J. Möbel von Thomas Chippendale. Darmstadt, 1955.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In truth, a tour around the perfectly preserved time capsule will be the closest most of us will ever get to true Chippendale furniture.
THE Hon Alfred Lyttleton learnt to play cricket in the long corridors of Hagley Hall until damage to the Chippendale furniture meant he was banished outside.
Lucy looks into how the sofa has changed people's behaviour over the years, as well as looking into how Chippendale furniture became a household name.
The 18th century mansion boasts one of the world's best collections of Chippendale furniture and there is a cool adventure playground for the kids.
Home to one of the largest and most diverse collections of Chippendale furniture in the world, Nostell Priory takes its name from the 12th Century Augustinian Priory, dedicated to St Oswald.
Interviewed at Dumfries House, Ayrshire, for tonight's Antiques Roadshow, he says he was so appalled that the Scottish mansion and its contents - including valuable Thomas Chippendale furniture - were being sold off separately that he put together a consortium to keep it all together with a pounds 20million bid.
The house boasts a finest collection of Chippendale furniture in Scotland and a Regency furniture too.
The house, designed by the Adam brothers, and built in 1754-59, is of outstanding significance for the survival of so much of its original furnishings, including the largest group of Chippendale furniture in private hands, supplied to the house in 1759-66, and substantial, slightly earlier groups by two leading Scottish cabinetmakers, William Mathie and Alexander Peter.
One of the prince's favourite portraits of his grandmother, by Graham Sutherland, hangs in the tasteful Morning Room decorated in light blue with Chippendale furniture. Plasterwork on the ceiling shows the Queen Mother's crown.
Mrs Kneller continued to build the collection - which includes paintings by Edgar Hunt, Chippendale furniture and massive numbers of Staffordshire and Worcestershire ceramics - until she lost her passion for art when her husband died.
"Antiques shows aren't just about Chippendale furniture any more," says 34-year-old Fiona.
A Palladian Mansion set in 340 acres of parkland five miles south of Wakefield, Nostell Priory is renowned for it's world class collection of Chippendale furniture, architecture by Robert Adam and James Paine as well as excellent collections of books and paintings.