Exhibition Chippendale: The Man and the Brand

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on July 23, 2018

Chippendale firm, Medal Cabinet at Nostell.

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Now on view at Nostell in West, in conjunction with the Chippendale 300 partnership:

Chippendale: The Man and the Brand
Nostell, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, 2 May — 28 October 2018

Nostell is home to a world-class collection of over 100 items supplied by Chippendale and a unique archive of letters, providing an insight into the man behind the famous brand. Visit this new exhibition to discover how a humble cabinet-maker from Otley made a name that has lasted nearly 300 years.

Chippendale is celebrated today by many as the ‘Shakespeare of furniture’; however, he died in relative obscurity. Chippendale: The Man and the Brand tells the story of the 18th-century designer, furniture-maker, and entrepreneur, setting the scene for visitors explore the elaborate showrooms he helped create on Nostell’s first floor.

Born into a Yorkshire family of carpenters and joiners, Thomas Chippendale’s entrepreneurial spirit and talent led him to build a business in London’s St Martins Lane, supplying the 18th-century elite with the most fashionable domestic items. Chippendale’s brand was launched by the publication of The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director in 1754, the most luxurious and comprehensive book of furniture designs yet created, covering the full range of objects that an aspiring house owner would want and in all of the on-trend styles of the day. Chippendale had cleverly seen a gap in the market and this must-have catalogue of designs proved a valuable marketing tool to build his business.

Chippendale didn’t just provide high-end design pieces for 18th-century showrooms, his firm also supplied less glamorous items to help with the running of the house. Visitors can explore the full range of products and services supplied for Nostell, from classic Chippendale chairs and elaborate cabinets to a mangle for the domestic quarters as well as dying old fabrics and fixing jammed doors.

Providing a full fit-out service to prestigious clients required a team of skilled employees and a wide range of specialist tools. In the exhibition, you’ll see a selection of 18th-century joiner’s tools from a spokeshave and mortice guage to a veneer hammer and cock bead plane, which were supplied by Christopher Gabriel & Sons, a leading London dealer. A selection of the letters, invoices, and drawings—normally looked after by the West Yorkshire Archives—will also be on display, allowing visitors to discover the challenging relationship Chippendale had with his client, Rowland Winn, including arguments over faulty goods and late payments.


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