Antique Country Chippendale Furniture


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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 More typically, American furniture makers relied on simpler, outdated English forms - such as the sturdy cabriole leg and claw-and-ball foot-which they combined with modified versions of Chippendale's carving on chair backs,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.

Although Chippendale 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. 






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