a small mahogany medal cabinet on a stand, with high shouldered, or, technically speaking, cabriole legs and claw-and-ball feet, which is perhaps the most perfect thing in mahogany cabinets that has ever been made. It is now in the possession of Mr. Letts, but came originally from the famous Strawberry Hill collection, and is supposed to have been made for that apostle of taste, Horace Walpole. All uncomfortable feeling as to lack of strength is absent in this piece, on account of the cabriole legs, which make, without heaviness, the supporting stand larger than the cabinet, and thus produce the most complete feeling of satisfaction. But Chippendale did not invent that form; on the contrary, it had been used for a century before his time. He, in fact, departed from it, and employed the straight leg, which I maintain is structurally weak, and shows a retrograde tendency in taste.
In his later work he used frets, as he calls them, largely, and departed more and more from the carving of his early Grinling Gibbons inspired days. This may have been because he found, as his business developed into a large one, the cost of production of his earlier work too great; and he had to make furniture for 40
PLAIN MAHOGANY BOW-FRONTED CHEST OF DRAWERS, (iIn the possession of F. Fenn, Esq.) This chest of drawers is of an unusually fine shape. The beautiful handles are original.
people of moderate means. Supplying a want is what we should call it now, or making furniture for the masses instead of for the classes. This was an inevitable development, certain to come sooner or later—as soon, in fact, as the poorer people began to ape the manners and customs of the richer. It was a much more beautiful world when the furniture made for cottages and farmhouses was designed for use in them instead of being a plainer, cheaper sort of copy of the furniture made for the palace; but we must not, I suppose, blame Chippendale for that. He was a tradesman doing the best for his trade —a master endeavouring to get the largest possible amount of employment for his workpeople; in fact, it was the factory creeping into existence, which was in the end to kill craftsmanship.
The only chance of the revival of craftsmanship possibly lies in the rather hopeless hope of a revival in taste, strong enough to induce the wealthy people of to-day or tomorrow to interest themselves in the production of beautiful things. They might inaugurate workshops where furniture for themselves could be made without thought of a profit. Many of the older houses in
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