The Chippendale style has become the benchmark of English Furniture design. It first became popular in the third quarter of the 18th century. Curiously, it was the first style not named after a monarch. It was in fact named after Thomas Chippendale who was a furniture maker and interior designer of sorts in London at that time.
His designs were very popular and he ultimately published a book called The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker Director. Not a gripping title, but it became a huge hit. The book was intended as a catalogue of his work and his clients would use it to select elements that he would piece together for them to create custom cabinet designs. Other manufacturers started using the book too, and soon his designs were being copied all over England and became the ultimate in style.
The designs fell into three styles Rococo, Gothic and Chinese, with his most popular pieces often being a blend of all three.
Since the 18th century, these designs have been reinterpreted over and over again, first in the English Country style, then Irish. They finally found a home with the craftsmen in the American colonies, particularly the Shakers, who were attracted to the style's simple elegance.
Most of the pieces were made in solid mahogany wood, which was best suited to some of the curves and intricate carved details, with the wood being sourced in the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
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