designs, therefore, went but little further than the pages of the book in which they first saw the light. Another reason for their failure was the lack, on the part of their designer, of a knowledge of the technicalities of cabinet and chair construction—an ignorance common to the majority of architects even to-day ; and it is equally clear that he did not by any means fully appreciate the requirements of the interior of the English home, gifted as he may have been in planning and superintending its erection.
His efforts, nevertheless, were not altogether fruitless in the end, for his designs found their way into the hands of Chippendale, who, struck by the idea which had inspired their production, decided that there might be "something in it." He determined eventually that it might be worth his while to bring that " something" out. It was fresh ground, at all events, and he made up his mind to cultivate it for a time. Chippendale was fully equipped with the practical knowledge which was, of course, essential, and which Chambers lacked, and he thoroughly understood the requirements of the British public so far as furniture was concerned, for he had made a special study of their fads and fancies—with no inconsiderable profit to himself. As a natural consequence, he met with far greater success in his endeavours to accomplish what was really an almost impossible task. Chambers's Anglo-Chinese furniture was, as we have seen, flimsy in appearance; his designs give us the impression of being more especially adapted for execution in cane or bamboo than in sturdier and more durable woods. Chippendale, of course, saw at once that, though such productions might possibly do occasionally for those grotesque extravagances which aped Orientalism, and were, to a certain extent, in vogue as smoking-rooms, in winter gardens, etc., in the palaces and mansions of the royalty and nobility of those times—such as the Royal Pavilion at Brighton—they did not in any way answer the requirements
Reference in Text
Wall bookshelves. ,, 117, 126
Was this article helpful?