events, as the designs for furniture and woodwork are concerned, the reports of the highly paid judges—eminent men, it is true, but rarely if ever including any bond fide representative of the craft, or, indeed, anyone who has made any mark at all in this particular branch of art — are almost invariably condemnatory; while in the eyes of the practical expert the display is always lamentably poor. It must be obvious, therefore, that there is something radically wrong some where ; where the fault lies an examination of the systems of instruction specified by the Science and Art Department for adoption throughout the land will make perfectly clear. I need not say more here on this question than that one thing is absolutely certain, namely, the students are in no way to blame.
As I have already indicated, early in the eighteenth century the names of certain cabinet makers became prominent among their fellows, and they have been handed down to posterity. There is one which, by common consent— whether rightly or wrongly we shall presently see—is singled out pre-eminently from the rest, and that is the name of Thomas Chippendale. It is constantly on the lips of all who pose—I say "pose " advisedly—as authorities on old furniture; to them, indeed, it is a veritable "shibboleth"; and from the awesome respect paid to it by that section of the community who acquire their knowledge of such matters from the " Phyllises," " Angelines," and other fair mentors on household art who add such a charm to the pages of some of the ladies' papers, anyone ignorant of the subject would conclude that Chippendale was by far the most highly-endowed designer and cabinet maker of his age. He was nothing of the kind ; and no one can claim with any measure of justification that he was. Why is it, then, that his name is so revered, and so frequently dinned into our ears ? It is difficult to say exactly, but there are one or two reasons that may be put forward in answer to that query.
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