It is perhaps the famous architect and decorator Robert Adam (1728-1792) who had the most profound effect on the design of mid to late 18th century antique furniture. Although we tend to think of the three great furniture designers of the period: Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton, it was Adam more than anyone else who affected the transition from the Rococo to Neo Classical and introduced the much finer classical lines into British furniture design. Antiques writer Peter Philp tends to refer to fine furniture of the period as ‘Adam’ and more run of the mill pieces as ‘Hepplewhite’, although any furniture able to be attributed to Hepplewhite would bring high prices at antiques auctions today. However, Philp says of Hepplewhite as: ‘simply a name that is conveniently applied to furniture executed according to the principles of Adam’. Philp goes on to suggest that perhaps the finer pieces should be ascribed to Adam where Hepplewhite was able to translate the Adam style to a wider audience.
Problems often arise when attempting to ascribe certain styles to certain designers. The shieldback chair for example, although most often attributed to Hepplewhite, was used by both Adam and Sheraton as well. However by 1760, the cabriole leg often linked to Chippendale had been superseded by the much straighter Neo-classical lines for which Adam was renowned, and it would follow therefore that the three great furniture designers of the period would tend to follow his example.
When attempting to find attributed period Neo-classical antique cabinets in Lancashire , go to specialist dealers who may be able to source them for you.
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