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Chippendale: The Man and the Myth

Brock Jobe, Professor Emeritus of American Decorative Arts, Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library

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In Britain and America, no furniture maker is more famous than Thomas Chippendale.  His designs reached both sides of the Atlantic through a groundbreaking pattern book, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director of 1754.  During his lifetime he oversaw one of the largest furniture-making firms in London, and eventually his name defined an entire style of eighteenth-century furniture.  The lecture recounts the remarkable story of Chippendale’s career and takes us on an armchair tour of grand country houses in England and Scotland that feature the master craftsman’s greatest creations.  Along the way, we will confront the truth as well as the fiction associated with this most fascinating fellow, Thomas Chippendale. 


Top picture; Graham Ibbeson, Statue of Thomas Chippendale, Otley, England, 1987.  Photo: Brock Jobe.  Chippendale was born in Otley in 1718.

Middle picture; Thomas Chippendale, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, 3rdedition, London, 1762, plate 108, Winterthur Library

Bottom picture; Thomas Chippendale, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, 1stedition, London, 1754, plate 12,  Winterthur Library