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Chippendale’s “Director”: The Designs and Legacy of a Furniture Maker
August 9, 2018 - January 27, 2019
Thomas Chippendale (1718–1779) has been a household name in the furniture world since the mid-eighteenth century. He is remembered today for the furniture produced by his successful London workshop as well as his influential book of furniture designs, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director. To celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of Chippendale’s birth, this exhibition looks closely at how the unprecedented publication cemented Chippendale’s name as England’s most famous cabinetmaker and also endured to inspire furniture design up to the present day.
Built around works in The Met collection, the exhibition combines the original preparatory drawings from the Chippendale workshop with a selection of British and American furniture inspired by Chippendale’s designs and aesthetic. The artist’s legacy is presented through representations in portrait painting and revival pieces from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Chippendale-inspired chair, designed in 1984 by the architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, is one of the highlights.