Biography of Thomas Chippendale

Portrait of Thomas Chippendale

Thomas Chippendale was a master furniture maker in the eighteenth century.

When and Where was he Born?

5th June 1718, Otley, Yorkshire, England.

Family Background:

Thomas Chippendale was the son of a carpenter.


Early life and education unknown but probably local schools.

Timeline of Thomas Chippendale:

Chippendale gave his name to a school of eighteenth Century furniture making but only those pieces where bills still survive (e,g, Harewood House, Yorkshire) can be specifically attributed to him.

He added Chinese, Gothic and Rococo motifs to traditional Georgian designs. He principally made chairs, desks, mirror frames, china cabinets and bookcases and tables with fretted galleries and cluster-column legs. Most of his works were executed in Mahogany, which had recently been introduced from South America.

1748: He marries Catherine Redshaw.

1753: Chippendale moves to Saint Martin’s Lane, London where he maintained his workshops. These were to become his showrooms for the rest of his life.

1754: He publishes “Gentleman and Cabinet-Makers Director”. He makes a partnership with the upholsterer James Rannie and after Rannie’s death his assistant Thomas Haig.

1759: Chippendale is elected to the Society of Arts.

1760: He declined re-election to the Society of Arts. He began to be influenced by the neoclassical work of the architect Robert Adam. Chippendale gave his name to a period, so successful was he, and his style is much copied so it has become very difficult to authenticate many actual pieces.

1772: Death of his first wife Catheirne.

1775: He marries Elizabeth Davis.

When and Where did he Die?

November 1779, London, England of tuberculosis.

Age at Death:



  1. 1748: To Catherine Redshaw (Died 1772).
  2. 1775: To Elizabeth Davis.

Written Works:

1754: “Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director”.
1755: “Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director”. (Second Edition).
1759-62: “Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director”. (Third Edition in weekly parts produced with 200 plates).

Site of Grave:

St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, St. Martin’s Place, London, England.

Places of Interest:


Tabley House, Knutsford.


Saltram House. (National Trust).


Sandford Orcas Manor House, Sherbourne.


Victoria and Albert Museum contains a bedroom suite originally designed for Badminton House.


Pallant House, Chichester.


Corsham Court, Corsham.


Harewood House.
Temple Newsam House, Leeds.
Nostell Priory, Wakefield.
Bolling Hall, Bradford.


Paxton House, (Holds a large collection of Chippendale furniture together with a giant chair copy).

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