If you line up three antique dining chairs of differing styles attributed to the furniture designer Thomas Chippendale, they will all have a certain look about them that immediately connects them to this designer.
Chippendale always was associated with a number of different styles and genres from the rococo, through to neo-classical, gothic and chinoiserie (Chinese). Chippendale offered these different styles through his Director, where engravings of pieces were put on display like a modern day catalogue, so that his wealthy clients could choose the sets of furniture they wanted. Chippendale, not only provided furniture handmade in his workshops, but also some of the soft furnishings to create a certain look to large country houses and Harewood House in Yorkshire is a good example of his handiwork.
The dining chairs of Chippendale were always well proportioned and well balanced, with the supporting back legs curving away, and his enduring trademark was the bow shaped rail and elaborate carvings on the splats, which helped to identify the style they purported to be from. His earlier rococo examples had ribbon backs and acanthus scrolling with the heavily carved cabriole leg with the claw and ball foot. Later examples were more classical, with lyre back splats and squared and tapered legs. Gothic examples could have carved arches and quatrefoils and chinoiserie had geometrically carved fretwork as an overall theme throughout the antique chair. Chippendale’s designs not only introduced different styles, but cleverly transcended from the rococo through to the neo-classical periods which perpetuated his popularity as a designer.
Fine examples of period and revival Chippendale antique dining chairs can be found in Preston.
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