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Chippendale Furniture Drawings & Sketches

The complete (modernised spelling) text and pictures of Thomas Chippendale's most famous work, "The gentleman and cabinet-maker's director: being a large collection of the most elegant and useful designs of household furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and modern taste" published in 1754.

Chippendale's "Director" contains 160 plates of furniture drawings and sketches and brief descriptions of each. Originally printed as a furniture trade catalog, a kind of advertisment, it was the first complete and comprehensive furniture pattern book of measured drawings ever published in England.

While the actual designs and sketches may not have actually come from the hand of Chippendale they nevertheless remain influential today.

The "Director" has three main themes as seen in the full title: Gothic, Chinese, and Modern.

The Gothic

The Gothic design form retained some popularity in mid 18th century England. The Gothic designs given here were rarely carried out and the Gothic aspect of them was largely restricted to ornamental forms on chair backs such as cusped arches as well as the piercing of chair backs in imitation of Gothic tracery. The actual structure of chairs and such were little affected by the medieval tradition.


Supposed Chinese designs were wildly popular in the Britain of the 1750's and Chippendale naturally catered to this market. Pagoda roof forms, elaborate frets and railings, and the intended use of Japanning and painting were the main means by which Chippendale attempted Oriental inspired furniture.


"Modern", as used in the eighteenth century, refers to French styles, above all the Rococo style. The Rococo is the driving force behind much of the measured drawings of furniture in the "Director" especially as seen in the designs for commodes.

The Director

Our reproduction of this Chippendale work includes all sketches and measured drawings that were included in the original printing, along with the relevant instructions for making each piece.

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