The opportunity to convey a deeper appreciation of Chippendale’s place in design history will, they hope, be a fillip for the market.
Charlie Mackinnon, dealer at Mackinnon Fine Furniture in London, said: “Usually it is artists or sculptors that are remembered so to celebrate Chippendale is a torch for cabinetmakers and the decorative arts. This will definitely help the market.”
The tercentenary of Chippendale’s birth in June 1718 is the catalyst for the Chippendale 300 initiative.
Historic houses, museums and craft organisations have come together to create an impressive events programme – the like of which is seldom afforded the decorative arts.
Several dealer exhibitions are already in the planning. Ronald Phillips will hold an exhibition from its Bruton Street gallery and at Masterpiece featuring 20 or more ‘by or attributed to’ works. “Public knowledge of Chippendale is wide but not wide enough” says proprietor Simon Phillips.
“The anniversary and the celebrations around it are quite exciting. This will help raise interest in English furniture.”
‘Take this opportunity’
Guy Apter at Apter-Fredericks concurs. “Chippendale is the most important name in English furniture and it is essential that we take this opportunity to illustrate why that is.”
The Fulham Road dealer intends to offer a number of autograph works. “So many people are seemingly blinkered to the past. If these tercentenary celebrations can spark the public’s imagination and their appreciation for great craftsmanship, then the market will inevitably benefit.”
Cheltenham dealer David Pickup said it was an opportunity to demonstrate what it was that made the Thomas Chippendale workshop so special.
“This celebration will certainly boost the trade. He was a true master and a great maker of English furniture. Lots of people think ordinary is good until they see the best.”
Thomas Chippendale: A Celebration of British Craftsmanship and Design 1718-2018 will launch the tercentenary at Leeds City Museum, (February 9-June 10) followed by exhibitions and study days at country houses that hold Chippendale work.
Burton Constable Hall, Dumfries House, Firle Place, Harewood House, Newby Hall, Paxton House, Temple Newsam, Weston Park, Harewood House and Nostell Priory will all participate.
Chippendale’s birthplace of Otley in Yorkshire will mark the occasion in a number of ways, including the brewing of a beer. Its name? Chippend’Ale. More information is available at chippendale300.co.uk
Dealers and auctioneers on Chippendale:
Simon Phillips, of Ronald Phillips, said: “It will also help raise interest in English furniture. This is the best of the best.”
Guy Apter, of Apter-Fredericks, said: “It is our intention to use this celebration to encourage people to buck the trend. And for those that do, there has never been a better time to buy English furniture. If these tercentenary celebrations can spark the public’s imagination and their appreciation for great craftsmanship, then the market will inevitably benefit.”
Charlie Mackinnon, of Mackinnon Fine Furniture, is planning an exhibition to coincide with London Art Week next year which will have an element featuring Chippendale. He said: “We will be geared to finding things with a link to Chippendale but obviously of course it depends on what we can find.”
David Harvey, of WR Harvey in Witney, held a special exhibition in 1979 to commemorate 200 years since the death of Chippendale. For the celebrations next year he is buying a Chippendale-period mahogany bombe commode which is coming from a family who has owned it for 100 years. The commode will be priced in the region of £50,000. He said: “It is important to understand these pieces were designed to be used on a daily basis. They can be used and restored and used and restored. You cannot do that with modern furniture. The way that they were made and what they were made from has meant they have survived more than 250 years and will likely survive another 250 years. We are lucky to have preserved so much of our heritage that enriches our lives and drives tourism to this country.”
Dealer association LAPADA has met with the organisers of the Chippendale 300 celebrations and will take part in the anniversary events. LAPADA chief executive Rebecca Davies said: “There is perhaps no greater or better known cabinet-maker than Thomas Chippendale. It is wonderful that so much work has gone into the 300-year celebrations and we hope that these series of events will interest and engage a younger generation in the history of craftmanship.”
Robert Copley, Christie’s international head of furniture, said: “We will work to celebrate the anniversary as the auction house with the strongest links to Chippendale. More will be discussed in 2018.”
Tom Moore, head of furniture at Bonhams, said: “Thomas Chippendale, who secured his reputation as the foremost cabinet maker and furniture designer in Britain during the second half of the 18th century, is now justly considered one of the most innovative and exceptional figures in the history of the decorative arts. He is rightly renowned for the supreme quality of the furniture produced in his workshop. However, Chippendale is also significant for the huge influence he had on subsequent craftsmen and designers, as well as upon his peers and contemporaries.”