Style In Furniture

the " dark age " of the early-Victorian period, have been " cut down/' and the various parts have undergone transformation into other articles. The pillars have, more often than not, been converted into graceful pedestals for the reception and support of candelabra, lamps, busts, small statuary, and other ornamental knick-knacks. It may perhaps strike us as a pity that this should have been done, and some may regard it as an act of vandalism; but we cannot fail to recognise that they admirably serve the new purpose to which they have been put. It must be remembered, too, that even were the complete " four poster " obtainable, the most ardent of private collectors would find it somewhat of "a white elephant" if it had to be accommodated within the limits of the average "villa residence'7 of to-day. It was evidently Chippendale's aim in designing his bedsteads to endow them with as great an appearance of imposing grandeur as possible, and he relied for effect almost as much on the draping with which they were dressed up as on the woodwork. Indeed, he considerably " overdid " most of his creations in that direction, marring them most seriously by piling-on canopies, pelmets, valances, and curtains, until the structures as a whole appeared to be so top-heavy that we should imagine the occupants must have experienced a feeling of great oppression, if not of impending collapse.

The mahogany pillars themselves were generally light and graceful in form and proportion, and were comparatively simple so far as enrichment was concerned ; but the massive superstructures went to the other extreme, being overwhelming in appearance, and constituting perfectly ideal asylums for moth, dust, and other organisms.

The bedstead portrayed upon Plate I. partakes somewhat of the character indicated; a similar, though rather less elaborate, type is figured on Plate III. In the latter case the pillars are almost plain and without relief of any kind. The canopies and wooden heads, in both examples, I need hardly


Arm chair. See 112 Bookcase. Door tracery.

Reference in Text


Pedestal. See 126 Tea caddy. ,, 126

See also page 160


point out at this stage of our study, remind us more than a little of the " Louis-Quatorze " and " Louis-Quinze " at their worst. They call for but passing notice, as enough has already been written upon that aspect of the style.

In the third example, which will be found on Plate X., we have a " Chippendale-Chinese" bedstead which is decidedly interesting, as models of its class are extremely rare. In this a combination of the Chinese pagoda top, lattice work, and applied frets appears: but they were not enough. The temptation to introduce the French element was too strong to be resisted, so the ever-ready coquillage crops up again in all manner of unexpected situations, forming a most curious melange, though not an uncommon one in the style under consideration.

There is yet another most prominent and unmistakable feature of true "Chippendale" which we must not fail specially to note, as it occurs frequently in both chairs and tables. I refer to the square leg, pierced, and also the leg composed of three, or four, slender turned columns, or pillars, set slightly apart, and bound together by fine mouldings, at intervals more or less frequent according to the proportions of the leg. Examples of this class are presented on Plates V., VI., IX., and X.

So far we have analysed, as fully as space has permitted, and, indeed, as is essential to our purpose, those phases of "Chippendale"—and they are the most important of all—in which the originator borrowed from the French, Chinese, and Gothic; adapting freely, according to his own fancies, the ideas of others. Having arrived so far, we are rapidly nearing the end of this section of our subject; but another aspect still remains to be examined, and, although it may not prove to be by any means as interesting, from some points of view, as the rest, it must on no account be omitted.

Chippendale, like most people who depend upon the public favour for their livelihood, had, of course, to cater for

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