Thomas Chippendale the antique furniture cabinet maker 1718-1779

Thomas Chippendale is a joiners son from Otley in Yorkshire which is very close to where we are based in Clithereoe. Thomas Chippendale was a son of carpenter John Chippendale, and did his apprenticeship with his farther. He moved to London when he was around 20 years old and he set up a workshop near Covent Garden market and this is where he began designing some beautiful pieces of Chippendale furniture.

The huge Chippendale influence was because of the book he published ‘The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director’, published in 1754, a book of fashionable and desirable English furniture. This was the first ever catalogue by a cabinet maker dealing exclusively with furniture. It showed all different designs such as Chinese, Rococo and Gothic styles. It showed cabinet makers a practical way how they could apply fashionable detail to their work and this is where the Chippendale style started as most of the pieces were not made by Thomas Chippendale himself, most pieces were copied from this book of designs. He produced some of his finest work for the designer Robert Adam and his work was well known, in Britain but also across the waters in the USA.

The antiques Trade use specific terms to describe such furniture –

An item of antique furniture described as ‘Chippendale’ was actually made by Thomas Chippendale but this is extremely rare to find and also very expensive to buy an original piece.

An item described as being Chippendale period was made during the Chippendale period but not by Thomas Chippendale.

An item described as Chippendale-style is a later copy, very often done in the Edwardian era when his designs were very ‘in vogue’. The Chippendale chair was particularly copied in the later Victorian and Edwardian periods.

Chippendale style antique furniture is still copied today and some very good pieces were made in the Edwardian period, and these pieces are affordable and a good investment for the future. Have a look here at our lovely examples available for sale.