National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Chair Chair
Rendered by Bernard Gussow (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor, colored pencil, graphite, and heightening on paper
overall: 29.9 x 22.7 cm (11 3/4 x 8 15/16 in.) Original IAD Object: none given
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Furniture from the Index of American Design
Object 13 of 26

The Chippendale style is an ornate variation of Queen Anne designs. The style is named for an English cabinetmaker, Thomas Chippendale, whose volumes of plates and text, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, were published in London in 1754 and reissued in several editions. These books were used by cabinetmakers in England and America and were the source for the designs of furniture produced between about 1750 and 1775. Chippendale chairs are of generous proportions and have certain common features. Top rails usually follow the "cupid's bow" curvature, with the two ends, or "ears," curved upward, as in this example. Unlike the plain back splats of the Queen Anne period, those of the Chippendale style were carved in an openwork design. Back splats were made in a great variety of patterns; many were very elaborately interwoven and followed Thomas Chippendale's original designs faithfully. Chippendale chairs may have front legs in either of two types: straight legs, reflecting the taste for design elements in the Chinese style, or, as in this chair, well-shaped cabriole legs terminating in boldly carved claw and ball feet.

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