You have probably heard of the name “Chippendale” to describe a variety of different looking furniture. In fact, the term “Chippendale” came from a book of furniture designs that was published in 1754 in London called The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director and became a guide for furniture makers throughout England, Europe and the US. And not all Chippendale furniture is alike. Chippendale furniture falls into three mains styles: Gothic, Rococo, and Chinese. The Chinese Chippendale furniture of which we are so fond often featured fretwork or were japanned or painted with an oriental-style lacquer. The chairs, specifically, seem to be having a bit of a resurgence in the design community recently with designers using them in both very elegant, dressy dining rooms as well as more casual, beachy environments. We recently used a set of four (found in Palm Beach, FL) around a game table in a client’s sun room. Below, designer Mark D. Sikes uses a pair of Chinese Chippendale chairs at the head of his dining table. If you’re interested in incorporating Chinese Chippendale chairs in your dining room, this is a nice way of doing it because it still allows for more comfortable, upholstered dining chairs but helps break up the heaviness and gives a jolt of personality to the setting.
Below, Alessandra Branca’s Bahamas Vacation Home takes a cheerful take on the classic Chinese Chippendale chair. Notice how the fretwork mimics the railings outside–details! Below Left, Steven Gambrel, Right: Laura Nelson Design.
Almost all of the major furniture manufacturers are jumping on the Chinese Chippendale bandwagon and have produced their own version of it (see above for our favorites). You can also find great vintage Chinese Chippendale chairs online at Circa Who and Palm Beach Regency. A great way to add a little extra personality to your dining room (a pair or a full set) or living room (just a pair or one occasional chair)!