Thomas Chippendale’s name is freely used as a convenient generic label to describe all Director-style furniture. He enjoys an international reputation as author of The Gentleman and Cabinet-Makers Director (1754) and is often described as ‘the Shakespeare of English furniture makers’.
Chippendale s workshop was established in St Martins Lane, London by 1753. More furniture from Chippendale’s workshop has been identified – about 700 items – than from any of his rivals. Chippendale therefore fulfils the most important requirement of any major artistic figure: he has left a substantial body of high quality work that displays a steady development from an early through a middle to a late style.
Through his associations with artists and designers, Chippendale appeared to be very aware of the possibilities that the fashionable Rococo taste offered. He appreciated Matthias Lock, a designer whose style included the use of ‘c’ scrolls, flowers, masks, birds, winged dragons and leaping hounds for his ideas and originality.
Chippendale’s fame came from his enterprise in publishing an extensive set of furniture designs in the new Rococo manner at a time when although architects pattern books were common, but never had such a book been produced solely devoted to furniture.
Brackett, Oliver Thomas Chippendale, A Study Of His Life, Hodder & Stoughton, (London), 1925.
Coleridge, Anthony The work of Thomas Chippendale and his contemporaries in the rococo taste Faber & Faber, 1968.