Thomas Chippendale, Chinoiserie and Fretwork
A fine 18th-century mahogany side table, the figured mahogany top above a chinoiserie blind fretwork frieze finished on all sides and raised on square chamfered legs with pierced spandrels and fabulous geometric block feet made up of seven raised triangles on each leg.
Chinoiserie is one of the three main design styles that Thomas Chippendale promoted in the 1750s and 1760s. After publishing ‘The Gentleman and Cabinet-maker’s Director’ in 1754, ‘Chinoiserie’ became an extremely popular style of design. The Director records a number of very similar Chinese inspired design panels. The craftsman may apply the decoration with pierced work or flatly, similarly to this fine fretwork center table. When applied flatly using this technique, this decoration is called ‘ blind fret’. The side table’s fretwork pattern is similar, but not identical, to the example below showing Thomas Chippendale’s illustrations of some fretwork designs.
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