June 5th next year will mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Chippendale, the great 18th century furniture designer.
He has been an inspiration for furniture designers worldwide. Not only did he design fantastic furniture, but he was the absolute first to embrace modern ideas on marketing and publicity.
“It’s no coincidence that, when I was thinking about a name for the school, I adopted Chippendale’s name,” says Anselm Fraser, the school’s principal. “I wanted the school to be the best, and that was his philosophy.”
Thomas Chippendale is a remarkable designer for a number of reasons, not least his ability to absorb different styles of furniture and make something new and uniquely his.
While his craftsmanship and attention to detail were second to none, it was his ability to look at contemporary furniture designs, and foretell how tastes would shift – with an uncanny knack of coming up with the next big design.
Partly also, it was the way in which he published all his designs for everyone to see and, if they were good enough, to copy.
His ground-breaking book, published in 1754, The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director, was the forerunner of something we now take for granted – the corporate brochure.
As part of a year of events to mark the anniversary, we’ve thrown down a challenge to our students – to see who can design and make the best Thomas Chippendale-inspired piece of furniture.
In a later edition of the newsletter, we’ll let you know how they get on.