A copy of Thomas Chippendale’s Cabinet-Makers Directory recently sold for £32,500.
Thomas Chippendale is one of the most famous English furniture makers. Genuine Chippendale furniture can sell for tens of thousands of pounds, but there are reproductions that cost far less. One of the reasons why there are so many copies of Chippendale’s furniture is due to a book published by the famous cabinet maker. The book is entitled ‘The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director’, and has been subtitled ‘Being a large Collection of the Most Elegant and Useful Designs of Household Furniture, in the Most Fashionable Taste’.
The book details 160 Chippendale designs which the cabinet maker could make for his clients. Chippendale did not claim exclusive rights to his designs and allowed other cabinet makers to copy the furniture designs illustrated in the book.
The first edition of the directory was published in 1754. The third edition came out in 1762 and one came up for sale at an auction to celebrate the centenary of the Chippendale’s birth. Although it is not a first edition, the book was sold for £32,500, with the buyer paying considerably more after commission and other fees are added.
The owner of the book was William Stephen from Dundee who signed the book in 1788 and also noted its purchase price of just over four pounds. Stephen was a Dundee cabinet maker and probably used the book to inspire his furniture designs.
You can find Chippendale-style antique wardrobes sofas, cabinets and more at Lancashire antique dealers.
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