Thomas Chippendale 1718 -1779
Although born in Yorkshire, Thomas Chippendale moved to London in his twenties and came under the patronage of Lord Burlington. By 1753 he had a workshop in St Martin's Lane and released his highly influential pattern-book "The Gentleman and Cabinet maker's Director" in 1754. It was the first "trade catalogue" of its kind and was reissued twice in the next eight years. It was referred to all over the British Isles and even on the east coast of America.
He is known as a supplier of important pieces to Nostell Priory, Harewood House, Kenwood House, Blair Castle and Dumfries House amongst others. He produced some truly grand pieces and numerous huge schemes for his aristocratic patrons. Possibly his most interesting collection of work was for Lord Dumfries at Dumfries House in Scotland, where invoices and other paperwork survive.
Whilst the above is helpful information regarding the actual man, it is necessary to describe the style of furniture that Chippendale made. This is important as of course there were many other cabinet makers copying the style "of the day".
His furniture was generally constructed in the highest quality mahogany, for halls or dining rooms, japanned pieces for bedrooms or gilded soft wood for drawing rooms. The early period shows the influence of the French Rocaille (rococo) together with Gothic and fashionable Chinese styles. Later his collaboration with Robert Adam produced a calmer and simpler style.