How to identify a chippendale chair

Written by chris rowling
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Chippendale furniture is extremely desirable by antique collectors because of its design and construction. The furniture is called Chippendale after an original maker, Thomas Chippendale, an English carpenter who was born in the early 18th century. The name refers to the style of furniture made around that time that was heavily influenced by Thomas Chippendale's book "The Gentleman & Cabinet-Maker's Director."

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Identify the wood used to make the chair. Walnut was used in early Chippendale furniture, but mahogany was used in most of the pieces.

  2. 2

    Examine the joints in the wood. You should see evidence of tool marks and other irregularities which come from handmade furniture.

  3. 3

    Look at the seat. It should be either kidney-shaped, common in early Chippendale work, or rectangular, used in later designs.

  4. 4

    Observe the design on the back of the chair. The most unique mark of a Chippendale chair is the interlaced ribbon pattern on the back rest.

  5. 5

    Assess the shape of the top of the back. All Chippendale chairs have a Cupid's bow shape.

  6. 6

    Look at the legs of the chair. The majority of Chippendale chairs have curved Queen Anne-style cabriole legs with a variety of foot designs. Some later furniture used a straight square leg with a geometric foot.

Tips and warnings

  • The toughest aspect of identifying antiques is that the advent of modern manufacturing means these styles can be easily replicated. The only way to ensure the chair is from the correct era is to have it checked by an expert.

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