After 1760, heavy Rococo design and carving was on the wane and a much plainer style of furniture became popular. Deep carved scrolling began to disappear, and although the cabriole leg itself remained, it became much straighter and squarer.
Furniture within this transitional period although leaving behind the flourishes of the Rococo had not quite acquired the marked features of Neo-classicism. Antiques historian Peter Philip refers to this transitional period of furniture making in the third quarter of the 18th century as ‘English Chippendale’.
There were many leading cabinet makers at this time, from Ince, Mayhew, Manwaring, and Haig to Thomas Chippendale himself. There was also John Cobb and William Vile who as cabinet makers to George III, were both more highly thought of in their own time than Chippendale. For this reason survivals of their work are often fully documented where much other furniture of the time cannot be attributed to a particular maker. Most of these cabinet makers had their workshops near St Martins Lane in London although work would also be farmed out to other lesser known cabinet makers.
The favoured wood for this period was mahogany veneered onto pine carcasses and oak drawers. Most jointing was mortice-and-tenon and dovetail. Chair frames were dowel jointed, and the rail connected to the leg by three dowel pins. This practice is still extensively used today. French polishing also became popular during this time.
These plainer period pieces tended to be smaller and their compactness ensures that they retain their value. When looking for transitional period antique chests, Lancashire and Cumbria antiques dealers will be able to help you.
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