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Design - A design for a rococo sofa which appeared as the lower part of plate no.30 in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director (1762 ed.), Thomas Chippendale
  • A design for a rococo sofa which appeared as the lower part of plate no.30 in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director (1762 ed.), Thomas Chippendale
    Chippendale, Thomas Sr, born 1718 - died 1779
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A design for a rococo sofa which appeared as the lower part of plate no.30 in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director (1762 ed.), Thomas Chippendale

  • Object:

    Design

  • Place of origin:

    London (designed)

  • Date:

    ca.1752-1762 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Chippendale, Thomas Sr, born 1718 - died 1779 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and wash on paper

  • Museum number:

    2616

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case W, shelf 9, box A(I)

This design for a sofa by Thomas Chippendale is the original design for the bottom part of plate no.30 in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director (1762 ed.). The frilly, shell-like rocaille ornamentation and the cabriole (curved and tapered) legs are typical of the rococo, a style which became popular in Britain during the first half of the 18th century. This design was engraved for the Director by the engraver T. Taylor, although his signature is not present on this design. In the plate definition within The Director, Chippendale provides guideline instructions regarding the size of the sofa and its various dimensions, in order to guide cabinet makers who may have adopted these designs.

Thomas Chippendale was a fashionable designer and cabinet-maker in the eighteenth-century, providing furniture to such famous contemporary figures as David Garrick. His company produced high-quality furniture, including some key masterpieces, but Chippendale's outstanding skill was in design. His pattern-book The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director went through three editions in the 1750s and 60s and inspired trade catalogues and pattern-books from fellow designers. Usually produced by architects, a large, elegant pattern-book was an ambitious project for a craftsman at this time. The Director showed the full range of furniture available in the eighteenth century, and the range of styles that were fashionable. Chippendale created a trademark fusion of rococo style with Chinese and gothic elements, which was the basis of 'English' rococo. His style influenced furniture design in contemporary Europe and colonial America, and had a marked Victorian revival in England. The Director designs were the main source for Chippendale's high reputation until his furniture was first identified in 1906.

Physical description

A design for a sofa, probably a two-seater, with four legs to the front, in simple rococo style. The arms are distinguished from the back and have no ornament to their top edges.

Place of Origin

London (designed)

Date

ca.1752-1762 (designed)

Artist/maker

Chippendale, Thomas Sr, born 1718 - died 1779 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and wash on paper

Dimensions

Width: 208 mm, Height: 152 mm

Object history note

This design came to the museum with a collection of single designs by Matthias Lock. They were bought from a descendant, George Lock, and had been exhibited by him at the International Exhibition held at South Kensington in 1862. The mixed nature of this Lock and Chippendale material has helped to fuel the idea that the two collaborated professionally. It has even been suggested that Lock ‘ghost’ designed for Chippendale, but it now seems more likely that he provided piece-work carving for Chippendale’s larger projects.

Historical context note

This design appeared as the lower part of Plate 30 in the third edition of Chippendale's pattern-book The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director.

Descriptive line

A design for a rococo sofa, engraved and published in the Director (1762 ed.), pen, ink and wash on paper, ca.1752-1762, Thomas Chippendale

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director, 1762, pl.30

Materials

Pen; Paper

Techniques

Drawn

Subjects depicted

Sofas

Categories

Designs; Furniture

Production Type

Design

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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