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How to Identify Chippendale Furniture

The rich chestnut coloring and antique quality of Chippendale furniture pieces make them highly sought after collectible items as well as decorative must-haves. French, Chinese and Gothic design influenced this English-based styling of furniture. Most popular during the 1700s, Chippendale furniture carry distinct features with which collectors should be familiar in order to identify and authenticate it.

Detail and Design

  1. Search for carved, interlaced geometric shaped cut outs in the backs of chairs. Very prevalent in Chippendale pieces, this is Chinese inspired detail and resembles ribbon like latticework.

  2. Locate the horizontal railing on the back of a chair or sofa characteristic to the Chippendale style.

  3. Check the fabric portion of a piece. Ornately designed and luxurious material upholstery such as leather is also native to Chippendale style.

  4. Observe whether or not embellishments are part of the furniture piece. A piece of furniture displaying the Chippendale-style usually carries acanthus or leaf-like decorations as well as roses, acorns, dolphins and scrolls depictions.

  5. Identify Chippendale furniture by the seat of a piece. The seats of Chippendale-styled furniture is usually either a kidney shape or rectangular shape.

  6. Identify the curve of the legs of a table, chair, or sofa in a snake like curve called the cabriole shape. This coil design is very regal and distinguished. Later Chippendale d├ęcor incorporated strait legs.

Construction and Woodwork

  1. Look for Mahogany wood to be the dominant construction material in a Chippendale piece. The original creator of Chippendale furniture, cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale, favored mahogany because he found it easy to carve.

  2. Discern the irregular woodwork of hand-crafted original Chippendale pieces. The joints of the individual portions of a Chippendale would show tool marks. Collectors can analyze a piece of Chippendale furniture and tell its age by looking at the joints of it.

  3. Determine what material a piece of furniture is made of. Chippendale pieces were sometimes made out of walnut wood. The very earliest Chippendale were first made of walnut wood before mahogany became the prevailing wood used.

  4. Notice the lacquer and gild the wood to give it a finish and shine that is eye-catching and integral to the Chippendale style.

  5. Take notice of columns, arches, and finials, which are fancy, crowning pieces of the basic table or chair design that channel the Chippendale style.

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