A Chippendale Settee: Refined Elegance

By: Carly Hill - Staff Writer • Apr 03, 2013 • 0 Comments

In the 1700s, England was changing.   Population rose.  People migrated from country towns to the city.  The Church of England was still the official religion of the country.  Travel was done by foot or on horseback.  Furniture had a brand new style called Chippendale.

Today’s featured piece is this fine carved Mahogany George III Settee in the Chinese Chippendale Taste, circa 1750.

The infamous Chippendale style of furniture was named after Thomas Chippendale.  Born in 1718, in Yorkshire, Chippendale was the son of a carpenter.  At 30, he married Catherine Redshaw.  Thomas Chippendale was the first non-monarch to have a style of furniture named after himself.  Not much is known about his personal life, but his work with furniture left a legacy that has been admired and imitated for centuries. 

Between 1745 and 1770, Chippendale furniture dominated.  His favorite wood to work with was Mahogany, which you can see in the settee pictured above.  Chippendale furniture has deep, intricate carvings – something that the replicas can’t compete with.  A sure-fire way to tell a phony is to look at the carvings.  If the carvings appear symmetrical and uniform, then you are not looking at an original Chippendale. 

What put Thomas Chippendale on the map was a book he published, titled “Gentlemen and Cabinet-Makers Director.”  The book was a sort of catalogue of photos – work he had finished for clients.  The book was reprinted several times and became a catalogue for the well off.

Chippendale’s furniture can be separated into four different categories. 

  1. English: English Chippendale furniture highlights motifs of lions, masques, eggs, and darts.
  2. French Louis XV:  Chippendale was influenced by Rococo which features elaborate lines and embellishments.
  3. Chinese: This style is sometimes called Chinoiserie.  It features pagodas, bamboo turnings, claw-and-ball feet, intricate latticework and lacquering.
  4. Gothic: This category featured pointed arches, quatrefoils, and fret-worked legs.

*Reference: collecting20thcentury.com

Back to the piece photographed above.  The Stanley Weiss Collection features this beautiful settee.  A settee is essentially a long seat with a back.  It seats two, like a love seat, whereas a couch or sofa will seat three or more.  A Chippendale settee brings a refined elegance into your home. 

Sit back, relax, and enjoy browsing through Latique’s list of settees, settles, and sofas, right here.