Georgian Art (1760-1820): An Introductory Review of English Painting, Architecture, Sculpture, Ceramics, Glass, Metalwork, Furniture, Textiles and Other Arts during the Reign of George III

By Roger Fry; J. B. Manson et al. | Go to book overview

FURNITURE.

By Oliver Brackett

INTRODCUTION. --In decoration and furniture the reign of George III cannot be said to be characterized by one particular style, as was the case, for instance, with the reigns of Queen Elizabeth or Charles II or Queen Anne. The long reign of George III is marked by two distinct periods, corresponding to a considerable extent to political developments. The Palladian tradition which dominated building, decoration and furniture in the first half of the eighteenth century was slowly dying when George III ascended the throne and was beginning to give way before the classical revival with which the name of Robert Adam is associated. Later on came the check to the arts which the war with France occasioned, followed in the early nineteenth century by experiments in the Empire, Egyptian and other styles.

CHIPPENDALE. --During the first of these periods, i.e., from about 1760 to about 1780, the dominating force in furniture or furnishing was the personality of Thomas Chippendale. We do not proposed on this occasion to drift into discussions on the vexed question of his origin or character or on the propable authorship of the designs to which his name has been attached, points of comparative unimportance in the consideration of his work, influence and place in history. Suffice it to stay that he must have been born about 1718, and after undergoing a training in the craft of cabinet-making, became the proprietor of a big business in St. Martin's Lane. From his address in St. Martin's Lane, the first edition of his famous publication, "The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director" was published. This way by far the most ambitious work or furniture that had hitherto been produced in England. A small work on the subject had been published six years earlier, although it is doubtful whether any copies of the book are now existence.

An announcement appeared in The Daily Advertiser for Saturday, September 17 1748 :--

"TO CABINET-MAKERS, UPHOLDERS, ETC. THIS DAY IS PUBLISH'D (PRICE IS. 6d.)

A NEW BOOK OF CHAIRS, ADAPTED TO THE PRESENT TASTE OF WORK BY M. DARLY.

FACING OLD SLAUGHTER'S COFFEE-HOUSE, ST. MARTIN'S LANE.

Where most business are carefully instructed in Drawing in a Method so easy, as to make it delightful at the same time it is instructing : and constant Attendance is given on Evenings.

Note.--Those Gentlemen that subscribed towards Drawing from the Round, are desired to attend on Monday Evening next, the large Lamp being finish'd."

The Director was first brought out in 1754 but an advertisement of its publication in the previous year, recently brought to our notice, is worth quoting, as it throws some light on various debated points :--

" WHITEHALL EVENING POST, or, LONDON INTELLIGENCER. From Thursday, June 7th to Saturday, June 9ht, 1753.

To be Published by Subscription,

THE GENTLEMAN AND CABINET-MAKER'S DIRECTROR : Being a New Book of Designs of Household Furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste, as improved by the politest and most able Artists. Comprehending an elegant Variety of curious and original Drawings in the most useful, ingenious and ornamental Branches of chair, Cabinet and upholstery Work. With the Five Orders and Principles of Perspective , explained in a

-51-

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Georgian Art (1760-1820): An Introductory Review of English Painting, Architecture, Sculpture, Ceramics, Glass, Metalwork, Furniture, Textiles and Other Arts during the Reign of George III
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface 1
  • Introduction. 3
  • Painting. 11
  • Architecture and Sculpture. 23
  • Ceramics and Glass. 33
  • Furniture. 51
  • The Minor Arts 63
  • Index 69
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