English cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale brought the gift of Chippendale chairs to the world in the 1750s and 1760s. He was the first to lend his own name, rather than a monarch’s, to his design.
Original Chippendale chairs were usually made from mahogany and crafted by hand, with round club, lion’s paw, or ball and claw feet, and Marlborough or cabriole legs. Chippendale’s Chinese chairs resembled Far Eastern furniture, with their ornate fretwork and occasional Pagoda tops. Because of trade between England and China and other Eastern countries, a style known as “chinoiserie” developed. Chippendale, like other artists, adopted various Chinese elements into his furniture. Chippendale often finished his Chinese styles with a lacquering process known as “japanning.”
Today’s Chinese Chippendale chairs differ from the originals in that they are frequently made of faux bamboo and have more relaxed styles. They retain, however, the eye-catching angular seats characteristic of the Chippendale style.
If you’re looking for an airy Chippendale to complete your springtime cottage style, these recommendations may be just the right fit for your living room, and your wallet.