Figuring out the difference between three of the most famous furniture designers from the 18th Century, Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite, can be difficult. However, there are ways to differentiate between these styles of antique furniture.
Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) worked as furniture designer and maker from his twenties, and released a pattern book “The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director” in 1754, the first of its kind. Chippendale primarily worked in mahogany, making pieces for halls or dining rooms and were square set with carved splats on the back. Many of his designs showed an influence from French Rococo, Gothic and Chinese furniture. The legs on his furniture are the most instantly recognisable, as they generally have cabriole legs with carvings and ball and claw feet.
George Hepplewhite (1727?-1786) was a cabinet maker and designer and was best known for introducing the shield back chair and Prince of Wales feathers motif. Unlike Chippendale, Hepplewhite’s furniture designs feature fewer carvings, but his serpentine shapes for sideboards, serving tables and chair backs were popular. The legs of Hepplewhite chairs were squared and tapered, and his style was noted for being simpler and more elegant compared to Chippendale.
Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806) in the last half of the 18th century, worked mainly with satinwood over mahogany. His style was closer to Hepplewhite, rather than the heavier designs of Chippendale’s cabriole legs. Many of his chairs and other furniture had the straight, tapered leg, but he also included exotic cross bandings, painted decoration and inlays on his work, giving it a distinctive flair.
A little bit of knowledge on being able to find the difference between these furniture designers and makers goes a long way when buying mahogany or satinwood furniture. If you are still unsure when buying, ask us at Patrick Sandberg. With over 30 years of knowledge, we can easily help you find the right piece.