Though we love our flamboyant French pieces, from time to time we need more severity. It is the English styles that lend themselves to this end. From adaptations of French rococo to the use of Chinoiserie lattice work, English interiors consort with the world but stand distinctly English.
We recently made some of these distinctive pieces and could not help but muse on the charms of a traditional study. Irish forest green and dark wood stains, a desk composed to receive years of patina, tilt-top tables for a game of whist, armchairs exuding the charm of a post-war salon. Have we stirred your imagination yet?
The Shakespeare of Cabinet Makers- Thomas Chippendale Sr.
Known as a cabinet maker due to the endurance of his book 'The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Directory,' Chippendale was active at a time when interiors were seen as a unified whole, furniture was assigned very specific functions and harmony in design was most coveted. Chippendale's Georgian interiors can be viewed carefully preserved in stately houses all over Yorkshire and esteemed in museums all over the world.
Though often regarded as the most esteemed furniture maker of his age, Chippendale's legacy far outweighs his work during his lifetime. A bit of a Vitruvian fate, his exaggerated legacy can be attributed to his book, which was primarily aimed at promoting his London workshop.
Despite the uncertainty of his admiration, the designs of the Directory represent the four prevailing trends of his time, of which the English rococo with Chinoiserie elements are most relevant to our works. Though made in teak wood rather than Chippendale's favourite Mahogany, these pieces are nevertheless made to academic accuracy.
Apart from their design, the upholstery has been done in a very traditional manner, using only plant-based material. With such qualities to boast of, these pieces are sure to be appreciated for many generations.
Tripod tables were a remarkably convenient option, as they could remain stable on uneven surfaces. Today, our floors being flat, we can adapt them to four-footed variations. Inspired by classical orders, the turned columns of these circular tables took on elaborate forms. Our variations include a traditional tilt-top table, which can conveniently be stored away when not in use. This was specially important at a time when families sometimes had different sets of furniture for the seasons and indeed some would move to entirely different houses for the seasons as well. We are always inspired by the functionality that was behind the evolution of our beloved furniture traditions today.
In life's waiting room
Whether used functionally as a butler's tray, adjusted to work as a side table or employed as a bar cart, a traditional tray and stand adds charm to mundane functions. We can imagine patients sitting on our Louis XVI bench and reaching for an outdated magazine on the tray outside a doctor's office, ladies and gentlemen conversing over refreshments after an important meeting and even a family who decided to take their dinner in the living room, lazing over their individual trays.
We love this photo of the same cabriolet chair in two distinct finishes as it demonstrates the effect of the finish on a design. While we love our paint finishes, which lend more easily to contemporary homes, "brown furniture" evokes the thread of time and tradition that connects generations. We make our furniture in teak wood, which has one of the most beautiful grains you can find. While tannin invariably bleeds through paint as well, it is in the natural wood finishes that you can truly appreciate the effect of time on your piece. And if you maintain it well with regularly oiling or waxing, you will soon be able to savour the coveted patina that antique hunters long to acquire.