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Object of the week- Original Chippendale drawings


In the 18th Century, a furniture maker from Leeds came up with a revolutionary new idea to sell his fabulous designs to potential customers.

In a ground-breaking stroke of marketing genius, he produced the first “furniture catalogue”, filled with hand-drawn images of the beautiful pieces he could craft to order.

The book was called The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director and the Otley-born master-craftsman was the now world-renowned Thomas Chippendale.

ChippendaleChippendale was the first cabinet maker at the time to produce anything so ambitious, and in The Director he announced his intention and desire to furnish some of the finest houses in the land.

The collection led to him receiving a number of significant commissions and launched him on the road to becoming the household name we know today.

A number of his original drawings, which were published in The Director, are currently on display at Leeds City Museum as part of a celebration of Chippendale’s life and work.

Thomas Chippendale: A celebration of craftsmanship and design, 1718-1779 features a huge selection of pieces by Chippendale and coincides with national celebrations to mark 300 years since his birth.

The stunning exhibition also tells the story of the man behind the designs, exploring some of the lesser-known details of Chippendale’s life, family, and career.

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries said:

“A self-made Leeds man, Chippendale clearly had a real passion and determination to succeed and I’m sure that, 300 years after his birth, he would be proud to know that we are celebrating his incredible legacy here in the city where it all began.”

Thomas Chippendale: A celebration of craftsmanship and design, 1718-1779 runs from February 9, 2018, until June 9, 2018, and is free to attend.

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