Thomas Chippendale's Genius

And None Shall Compare

Please note this tour has departed View current tours
Friday 7 September 2018


Some Places

Thomas Chippendale exercised astonishing influence on his contemporaries, partly through The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, the first text of its kind solely devoted to the furniture and furnishings of eighteenth century interiors in England, resulting in his illustrious international reputation today. Where better to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Chippendale’s birth in 1718 than Firle Place, Sussex, home to the ‘Panshanger Cabinets’ - two of the finest pieces ever produced by his workshop.

The day’s programme will explore his career and supreme entrepreneurial skills from running a vast workshop in St. Martin’s Lane, London employing as many as 50 craftsmen; evolving sophisticated techniques to produce the finest quality of furniture and use of marquetry; to designing and making furniture ranging from carved mahogany to gilded wood, japanned Chinoiserie and upholstery during the mid-eighteenth century, initially in the rococo style.

From the 1760s Chippendale evolved a distinctive interpretation of the neo-classical style - patrons included aristocrats and celebrities such as actor David Garrick and many pieces remain in the stately homes for which they were commissioned; for example Harewood House and  Nostell Priory.

James Lomax, our foremost expert on Chippendale, will begin with an introduction to his career. Tom Duncan will chart the change in taste from rococo to neo-classicism. Deborah Gage, curator of the Firle collection, together with Joseph Friedman, will introduce the 1st Viscount Melbourne and his wife, Elizabeth, the houses they lived in and who commissioned the ‘Panshanger Cabinets’.

James will then examine the commissions awarded Chippendale for Melbourne House and Brocket Hall and we conclude the day with Peter Holmes, who has overseen the recent conservation of the ‘Panshanger Cabinets’, and will use the cabinets to explain the amazing craftsmanship deployed by Chippendale’s team. 

This Study Day is strictly limited to 60 participants.

  • Included: The Lecture Presentations, Morning Coffee, Lunch with wine, Afternoon Tea
  • Not included: Travel to/from Firle Place, near Lewes
Booking Enquiry