COUNTRY CHIPPENDALE FURNITURE
By 1760, even furniture makers in small towns
in America were making Chippendale furniture., emulating the
high-style designs that were then the rage in Philadelphia and
Boston. While the basic forms the earlier Queen Anne style
continued in the Chippendale period, the smooth surfaces gave
way to rich decorative carving: the more carving the more
expensive the piece. Country chairs were designed with
delicate pierce carved back splats, and the finest furniture
pieces had claw-and-ball feet.
By this time, the
parlor, now known as the best room or "setting
room," might boast wallpaper and an imported English
carpet. As in the parlor at right, rooms were arranged, with
all the furnishings placed along the walls: desks were set
near windows, which provided a natural light source, and
tables were pulled into the center of a room only when needed.
Once the furniture was returned to the perimeter, a room was
considered "straight" - hence the expression
"to straighten a room."
Many of Chippendale's
designs called for mahogany, which was imported to Europe and
America from the West Indies. The fine grain of the wood
allowed for the elaborate carvings he developed in "the
modern taste". In America, such delicate, formal
furniture was generally considered overly fancy. More
typically, American furniture makers relied on simpler,
outdated English forms - such as the sturdy cabriole leg and
claw-and-ball foot-which they combined with modified versions
of Chippendale's carving on chair backs, table stretchers, and
high chest tops.
himself would probably not approved, these modifications
were fashionable by colonial standards, and
continued to influence the design of both higher style and
country furniture well after the designer's death in 1779.