Style In Furniture

of fascination, enough has been written and shown to indicate fully the fact that, with the dawn of the eighteenth-century, a new spirit—a spirit of grace and refinement—was infused into the domestic surroundings of our forefathers. Having once recognised its presence—and who could fail to do so in the face of testimony so convincing ?—it remains for us to follow it through many successive stages of development ; to note how it swept away old and worn-out traditions, and substituted new ones in their place, whose introduction was destined to work wonders.

Reference in Text. See pages 91-93


In the present chapter we have to deal, not with the formation or development of a distinct style, but with a germ, if I may so describe it, from which grew a certain and not unimportant phase of a style which will presently occupy our most serious attention. My comments for the moment will, therefore, be brief and to the point

In the year 1744, a youth of eighteen, William Chambers by name, was registered as supercargo to the Swedish East India Company, and, during the course of his wanderings, travelled much in China. Being artistically disposed, he made special note of the architecture, both interior and exterior, which he saw in that country. Later, he settled in England, adopted architecture as his profession, became F.R.S. and F.R.A.S., Treasurer of the Royal Academy, and Knight of the Polar Star of Sweden, and was responsible for the design of a number of important buildings, notable amongst which stands Somerset House.

With the career of Sir William Chambers we need not concern ourselves; we will only note his predilections for the "Chinese" in architecture. So pleased was he with much that he saw and sketched in the " Land of the Sun/' that he afterwards published his notes in book form; and further, when called upon to prepare schemes for the improvement of the royal residences at Kew, he produced some Anglo-Chinese atrocities which gave great satisfaction to his distinguished patrons. They apparently satisfied the architect himself as well, for they were afterwards reproduced in book form. In the ranks of contemporary architects this

"Chinese" work of Chambers aroused some antagonism and

0 0

Post a comment