Highly Valued Furnishings

Thomas Chippendale


Thomas Chippendale is considered one of the most iconic designers of the 18th century. His career generated a significant amount of high-quality furniture that is still appreciated today for its delicate and ornate design, creating pieces which have become classics.

Born in Otley, West Yorkshire in 1718, Chippendale started his career at the family business, which produced furniture in the Rococo style. However, it was his move to London in 1748 that established his reputation as a furniture maker.

Chippendale quickly became an elite maker, producing furniture for the royal family and aristocrats. He eventually created his own firm, which was responsible for the majority of his most renowned pieces. His designs were influenced by French Rococo designs, as well as the increasing popularity of neo-classical styles.

Among the pieces from Chippendale’s repertoire, some of the most valuable include the Commode, the Secretary, and the Cheval Mirror. These pieces showcase the elements that contributed to Chippendale’s popularity, from intricacy to functionality.

The Commode is one of the most valued pieces by Chippendale and can be found in various designs. The commode was initially used to store undergarments, and the designs for this piece are generally grand. The commode, made of mahogany and decorated with gilt bronze plates, blends classical design with rococo curves. Today, this piece is considered one of the greatest examples of 18th-century furniture, reflecting not only the skills of Chippendale but also the mastery of other contemporary furniture makers.

Another valued piece by Chippendale is the Secretary, which was used to store letters, books, and documents. While in the past, the secretary tended towards a more simple design, Chippendale decided to create a more elaborate design. This included designing a secretary with a hinged slope (or fall-front) that has a series of small drawers and pigeonholes. With these designs, Chippendale achieved an elegance that describes the fusion of function with ornamentation.

The last piece that is valued is the Cheval Mirror. Chippendale was renowned for his contributions to the mirror, and his Cheval Mirror represents the pinnacle of his designs for furniture. As is typical of Chippendale’s designs, the Cheval Mirror combines functional elements with ornate decoration, and the mirror’s frame is adorned with an intricate marquetry that adds a touch of grandeur and elegance into any decor.

While all of Chippendale’s pieces are highly regarded, these three pieces are often cited as some of his most iconic. They showcase his unique style, which was characterized by the blending of various styles and his attention to detail. Chippendale’s designs reflected his desire to create pieces that were both practical and decorative. A key aspect of Chippendale’s style was his flexibility and his ability to experiment with various designs.

In conclusion, Thomas Chippendale’s contributions to 18th-century furniture deserve respect and appreciation, and his designs have maintained their quality and elegance over time. The elegance that he brought to furniture continues to be admired by art enthusiasts, and the demand for his designs is higher than ever before. The creative spark that he brought to furniture-making brought together an array of styles, which in turn created a new class of furniture that was both practical and ornamental. Chippendale’s legacy as an iconic furniture designer has played an essential role in shaping furniture making, and his influence is still felt in furniture design worldwide.