Timeless Antique Hepplewhite Chairs
Hepplewhite chairs are regal, elegant, and understated; a perfect summation of English style in the Neoclassical period. The Hepplewhite chairs are sophisticated and streamlined style that characteristically displays an expansive shield for the back. Seats have rounded fronts and chair backs are shaped like ovals, “Hooped Back”, heart-backs or shields. Created by prominent cabinetmaker and furniture dealer in England, George Hepplewhite, the “Hepplewhite” chair is a distinctive style of light, elegant furniture that is said to have been highly fashionable between 1775-1800. Said to have borrowed freely from the designs of France and England, he certainly provided a graceful, delicate appearance when compared to the earlier elaborate “Queen Anne” and Chippendale styles. Hepplewhite’s design was easily identifiable with simple curved lines and distinctive shaped back. Rather than straight legs, the Hepplewhite-style had tapered and square legs and feet that are considered simple with a rectangular spade foot or tapered arrow foot.
Initially, substantial carvings decorated the distinctive shield-back design. However, later models of the chairs would include a prominent hallmark of ornamentation: intricate inlays of patterns and contrasting colors of veneers of various woods, rather than carvings. Common motifs include swags, ribbons, feathers, urns and trees. Mahogany was the typical base of the chair, yet satinwood and maple were also very popular.