Elegant Antique Chippendale Furniture
British cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale made the popular Chippendale furniture in the 1700s. Today, it is one of the most prized antique furniture. Featuring either straight or slightly curved lines, Chippendale furniture is generally considered to have a refined and graceful form. It’s a blend of Rococo, Gothic, and Chinese styles, providing a clear example of a mix between form and function. Most examples of this style of furniture include square, tall, boxed-up structures with lots of drawers or miniature doors. While the pieces themselves were plain, the decoration used was not. Carved tops, family crests, and intricate knobs are all essential to the style. The signature structure of Chippendale furniture is the cabriole leg. This type of leg can be either straight or curved, but it always ends in a distinctive foot, such as a lion’s paw, or the ball and claw, which mimics an eagle foot holding a ball. While styles of this furniture varied somewhat between England and America, the distinctive leg form remained the same.
This furniture was usually constructed using fine hardwoods, such as mahogany and cherry. Chippendale furniture has been extensively reproduced. One of the best ways for collectors to find original items is to look for uneven joints and tool marks, as the furniture was made entirely by hand and does not have the perfect angles of a mass-produced product. Another important characteristic is the quality of the design on the legs: no matter the style, it should have finely detailed legs and feet. A rough finish usually indicates a reproduction.