Today marks the 295th birthday of the world-famous British furniture designer Thomas Chippendale.
Born into a family of established Yorkshire carpenters in 1718, Chippendale’s successful career got underway in 1748 when he moved to London to become a cabinet maker. His real breakthrough came following the publication of a book of designs he compiled called ‘The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director’. The Director displayed 160 furniture designs that appealed to the rising demand, in 18th Century society, for luxury furniture.
Chippendale’s book was the first to offer such an extensive range of designs, which included Chinese and Gothic. French Rococo – then referred to simply as ‘modern taste’ – was another popular design offered by Chippendale.
Some of the furniture he made was simple and wasn’t made to the designs for which he is better known today, favouring functionality over aesthetic appeal. His customers also had the opportunity to mix and combine designs offered in the Director for bespoke commissioned pieces.
After Chippendale died in 1779, his son – also called Thomas – took the reins of the firm. It continued to trade until the death of the company accountant and some financial difficulty forced it to close in 1804.
Reputable dealers in Lancashire will be able to offer antique dinging chairs and furniture from the 18th Century, often in designs similar to the Chinese, Gothic and French Rococo displayed in Chippendale’s Director.
The furniture maker’s birthday today has also been honoured by search engine Google, which this morning shows a logo decorated with 18th Century furniture.
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