The following artisans represent a few of the master furniture and cabinet makers from Europe and America; those who created exquisite and lasting masterworks and influenced aspects of style and construction with techniques that still prevail.
Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779)
In his lifetime Thomas Chippendale was one of the most famous and skilled of England’s cabinetmakers. In 1754 Chippendale published The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, a compendium of furniture engravings including measurements and design specifications for a variety of intricately formed chairs, tables, case work and columns. Knowledge of his work spread quickly throughout the European continent and to the American colonies as well.
Chippendale period furniture is characterized by solid construction combined with delicate carvings and details. The style relies upon motifs from French, Gothic and Chinese fashions. Chippendale’s designs have been copied extensively, guiding furniture manner and construction technique for centuries.
John Townsend (1733-1809) & John Goddard (1724-1785)
Securing a memorable position in the history of American cabinetmaking, Newport, Rhode Island continues to cherish its famous 18th century cabinetmakers, the Townsends and the Goddards. In the 1750s and 1760s Newport experienced a period of prosperity and culture that nourished these artisans and their furniture innovations.
In addition to John Townsend, one of the best cabinetmakers to ever work in America, there were at least 10 other joiners in the extended Townsend family. The widely renowned cabinetmaker John Goddard married one of Townsend’s cousins. With his oeuvre of signed and dated masterpieces and signature shell motif, Townsend made his name upon the hallmarks of precision, elegance and fastidious attention to detail.
Thomas Affleck (1740-1795)
Born in Scotland, Thomas Affleck began his career as an apprentice in Edinburgh. In 1763, he traveled across the Atlantic to set up shop in Philadelphia, where he became one of the region’s most prestigious cabinetmakers. Working in the Chippendale style, Affleck quickly established himself at a shop on Second Street. Through lucrative Quaker connections, he thrived as a furniture maker for leading Philadelphia citizens such as Governor John Penn and John Cadwalader.
J&J Kettman has reproduced a mahogany parlor chair attributed to Thomas Affleck. In addition, the fretwork carving on Affleck’s acclaimed Chew sofa was used as the inspiration for a claro walnut table.