Relevant categories: Dining Chairs
George Hepplewhite is one of the best-known furniture designers from 18th century England. He is thought to have lived up until 1768 when he died. Thus, Hepplewhite dining chairs are those that were made anywhere between 1780 and 1810, thanks to a furniture makers manual that was published by Hepplewhite’s widow in 1788. Even though it coincided with the Sheraton-style furniture, Hepplewhite dining chairs had distinct features. The following are some of the things you should look for when buying these pieces of furniture:
1. Wood Used To Make the Furniture
One of the distinct characteristics of Hepplewhite dining chairs is that they have contrasting inlays and veneers depicting bellflowers or seashells. That’s owing to the fact that they contain more than one types of wood. The woods used for the base included maple, satinwood or mahogany. The inlays and veneers would be made of rosewood, birch, tulipwood, and sycamore. The wood types would vary if the furniture pieces were being made in locations such as the U.S.
2. Legs and Feet Style
Earlier styles such as Chippendale and Queen Anne featured curved legs. Not so for Hepplewhite dining chairs which had straight legs. They are either tapered or square. The edges of these feet or legs can either be fluted or reeded. This design was meant to imitate the classical columns in Roman and Greek architecture. On some chairs, it is not uncommon to notice H-stretchers for reinforcement purposes.
The legs and feet of Hepplewhite dining chairs are made to be simplistic. They are usually in the form of tapered arrow feet and rectangular spade feet. Unlike bookcases, desks, and chests, chairs rarely have bracket feet.
3. Other Features of Hepplewhite Chairs
Hepplewhite dining chairs are not all about simple feet and plain legs. They also have the following additional features.
• They feature a delicate, graceful appearance that looks light compared to the earlier Chippendale and Queen Anne styles.
• The furniture pieces have embellishments of painted designs and small carvings. That’s together with intricate veneers and inlay patterns.
• Some of the decorative motifs used on these chairs include trees, classical urns, feathers, curling ribbons, and graceful swags. This is characteristic of the neoclassical style of that period.
• It was during the Hepplewhite era that tambours were made part of furniture design. Tambours were used to hide items such as writing supplies.
• The furniture pieces feature geometric shapes in the form of circles and curves. As such, the arms on the chairs are curved outside, the fronts of the seats are rounded, and the chair backs shaped like shields or ovals.
After the death of Hepplewhite in 1868, there was a revival of the furniture style as from 1880. While the furniture was made using the same design, they may not be as valuable as those made by Hepplewhite himself. Most of the later Hepplewhite dining chairs were mass-produced and were not as elaborately decorated as the earlier pieces. However, they are still as antique as they come. With the features above, you can choose Hepplewhite dining chairs for your collection of antiques. You can view much of this furniture in the Canonbury Antiques Hertfordshire showroom - we have lots of dining tables to match if you are looking for a complete set including Regency pedestal tables and Victorian extending tables.
( Above photo: Victorian dining table with set of Hepplewhite chairs around matching in mahogany )
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