1718-1778 • British — The talent and genius of Thomas Chippendale's designs dominated the furniture styles of the 18th century. He was the first person to boast such a strong following that an entire style bears his name and not that of a monarch. The son of a Yorkshire cabinetmaker, Chippendale quickly excelled in the family business. By the age of 36, he owned a series of workshops throughout England and an expansive timber yard for harvesting the finest woods. In 1754, Chippendale published The Gentleman and Cabinetmaker's Director, considered the "bible" of furniture design of its day. The book contained over 161 plates with an astounding range of furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and Rococo styles. Subsequent publications of the text throughout Europe and North America included many Neo-Classical designs, serving to propel Chippendale into the international spotlight. Soon, this modest craftsman counted among his distinguished clientele countless members of nobility and society, including Catherine II of Russiaand famed actor David Garrick. He also obtained substantial contracts with the noble houses of Nostell Priory, Harewood House, Burton Constable, Ayrshire and Kent, some of which stillhouse many of his finest pieces in their private collections. Today, the name Chippendale invokes images of refined taste and unparalleled elegance. Considering his utilization of the mosthandsome timbers with rich, warm patinas, coupled with his uncanny flair for emphasizing the natural beauty of the wood, it is no wonder pieces such as this rare set of chairs are so treasured by collectors.
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