Chippendale (1750-1790)

The Chippendale style is named after British designer and cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale, who published his furniture designs in “The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director” in 1754. In the United States, the Chippendale style was a more elaborate development of the Queen Anne style with cabriole legs, ball-and-claw foot, and broken pediment scroll top on tall case pieces.



Graceful and Refined – Elegant appearance.(Federal style shown)

Chair Arms

Outward Flare – Arms have slight outward curve.
Simple turning or flat – Arms are straight with a simple turning or are flat.

Chair Back Material

Upholstered – Cushioned and fabric covered.
Wood – Solid wood, horizontal slats, vertical slats, or vertical splats.

Chair Back Shape

Ladderback or Slatback – Equally spaced horizontal flat slats, either straight or curved.
Lattice – Openwork or decorative carving of crossed strips of wood, often oriental in appearance.
Pierced – Carved or pierced central splat.

Chair Leg

Cabriole – Curved leg in the shape of an animal’s leg. The cabriole leg increased the stability of seating pieces and reduced the need for underbracing.
Decorated Cabriole – Cabriole leg with decorative carving, usually on the knee.
Round – Round, usually shaped or turned leg.
Straight – Straight leg, vertical to chair seat.

Chair Seat Material

Upholstered – Cushioned and covered with fabric.

Chair Seat Shape

Horseshoe – Horseshoe shaped seat with a rounded front.
Square – Square shaped seat.
Trapezoid – Straight outward flaring seat.

Drawer Pull

Bat Wing Plate with Bail – Bat shaped solid or pierced cast brass back plate with a bail handle. The size of the backplate varies from 2.75 to 4.5 inches wide by 2 to 3.25 inches high.
Brass Knob – Mushroom-shaped brass knob.
Loop Handle – Bail handle without a back plate, 3.5 to 4.5 inches wide.


Brocade – Rich, heavily woven fabric with a raised design, often with gold or silver thread.
Hair Cloth – Stiff, open weave fabric made from animal hair, often camel or horse hair.
Leather – Material made from the tanning of animal hides.
Needlepoint – A type of counted thread embroidery in which yarn is stitched through an open canvas weave.
Silk – Fine, lustrous fabric woven from the fiber made by silkworms.
Tapestry – Heavy weight fabric with decorative designs.
Velvet – Woven pile fabric that is soft and sturdy, often made of silk with blends of cotton, nylon, and rayon.


Oil Varnish – Clear finish that emphasized the grain of the wood.
Wax – Paste finish over a sealer, stain, or bare wood.


Ball and Claw – Carved claw grasping a ball.
Bracket – Angular curved foot, usually used with case pieces.
Continuation of leg – Leg does not terminate into a foot.
Paw or Claw – Carved animal paw or claw.

Hardware Material

Brass – Yellowish metal made from copper and zinc.
Wood – Various types of wood, carved or turned.


Dovetail – An interlocking wood joint in which a series of wedge-shaped projections fits into a series of alternating grooves.


Cyma or S-Curve – S-shaped curve, partly concave and partly convex.
Straight – Straight lines.


Acanthus leaf – Conventionalized leaf.
Lattice – Interlaced, openwork resembling crossed strips.
Oriental Patterns – Oriental figures, usually painted or lacquered.
Ribbon – Ribbon-like strips.
Scroll – Form that resembles a roll of parchment paper.
Shell – Fan-shaped shell.
Urn – Vase-shaped figure.


Carving – Cutting or chipping the surface of wood to create a shape or design.
Finial – Decorative turning affixed to the tops of case furniture, and chair and bed posts.
Fretwork – Decorative carving or openwork with interlacing lines.
Oriental Lacquerwork – A lacquer surface on which designs are drawn in gold or color; also referred to as Japanning or chinoiserie.


Heavy – Sturdy, thick dimensions.(Chippendale style shown)


Limited Use – Limited use of stretchers.(Queen Anne style shown)


Cherry – Red-brown American hardwood.
Mahogany – Red-brown South American and African hardwood.
Mahogany Veneer – Red-brown South American and African hardwood, used in thinly sliced sheets.