Monday, January 10, 2011

That Clever Thomas Chippendale!

When I was building two walls of bookcases in my living room, I decided to include decorative brackets that were a Thomas Chippendale design. I modified the proportions to suit my own purposes, but stayed pretty faithful to the Chippendale look.



Recently, (and 20 years after my bookcase design) I was going through some old family papers, and I found a photostat of an architectural drawing my father had done in the 1930s. 


As I studied my dad's drawing, I saw a familiar shape in a detail. Then I realized that to achieve a furniture bracket, Thomas Chippendale had undoubtedly borrowed the silhouette of a column base and simply inverted it. That clever Thomas Chippendale!


12 comments:

  1. MArk, Chippendale has always been a favourite of mine and I admire the look so much! (Especially the Bamboo style Chippendale chair) The Royal Pavillion in Brighton is a wonderful resource for Chippendale and a wonderful place to visit. Your bookcases are wonderful along with your father's design.

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  2. Great bookcase, I love those brackets!

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  3. Thank you David and Stefan! This whole story delights me because I feel as though I got a little nudge from my long-deceased father, and also because my choice of bracket design can now be confidently labeled "Neoclassic," which is how I would have it.

    David, The Royal Pavilion in Brighton is on my list of must-visits.

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  4. i know the classicists poo-poo'ed chinoiserie but i have to say i think they mix rather well. that chippendale is known for both styles is evidence of this.

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  5. Yes, I see that particularly in Neoclassic fretwork designs, which Chippendale employed in his furniture, and which often looked oriental.

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  6. Very handsome bookcases. I enjoy your blog.

    I am a Pittsburgher, and I miss the old Stouffer's.

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  7. Thanks for the compliment, and for visiting. For those who don't know, Stouffer's had a grand restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. They had an extensive corporate art collection, and they filled their restaurant with fine 19th century art, potted plants and red plush, all done in the best Victorian taste. The result was an atmosphere in which the likes of Diamond Jim Brady would have felt very comfortable.

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  8. Clever indeed! It just proves he had a good eye for detail.

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  9. I like the brackets very much. They look nice and thick and substantial, yet not heavy, because of the fresh white paint. There are similar ones in the charming kitchen of Ingrid Bergman's gorgeous apartment in the 1958 film, "Indiscreet." I've always admired that kitchen, the bull's eye window, the breakfast alcove with window, the hygienic whiteness, and of course the thick, flat brackets which remind me of yours:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmvgVACHVdU

    Gee you've got good taste!

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  10. My day is made anytime I can be linked to Ingrid Bergman or her kitchen! Thanks for the nice compliment. And I'll check out that link. ...Mark

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  11. I am thrilled to see your bookcase, as my architect designed something similar for a bookcase in our house, and I just could not picture it. Now I can! Beautiful....

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  12. Holly, I've been enjoying all the postings on the progress of your house, and I look forward to a tour when it's finished! I hope that includes the bookcases.

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