A lifetime of Chippendale

As a name synonymous with English furniture turns 300 years old this year, dealers are hoping the Chippendale 300 initiative can raise the profile of good English period furniture and inject some fresh pride in an historical craft.

It is the perhaps the greatest auction of English furniture that never was. The Dumfries House collection, handpicked by the fifth Earl of Dumfries from the Chippendale & Rannie workshop in the mid-1750s, was scheduled for sale in July 2007 at Christie’s in London. The photography was done, the catalogue mailed and the merchandise, representing around 10% of the known fully-provenanced Chippendale furniture, carefully packed. The story goes that the call came for the trucks to turn around and return to Ayrshire ...