The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director. Being a Large Collection of the Most Elegant and Useful Designs of House Furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste

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CHIPPENDALE, Thomas (1718 - 1779). The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director. Being a Large Collection of the Most Elegant and Useful Designs of House Furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste. London: J. Haberkorn, for the Author... 1755.


Folio (17 6/8 x 11 inches). Title-page printed in red and black, preface and list of subscribers. Engraved dedication leaf to Hugh, Earl of Northumberland, and 161 fine numbered (2 plates numbered XXV) engraved plates of library and household furniture by Mathias Darly and T. and J. S. Müller after Chippendale (bound without the half-title, some very minor offsetting and spotting). Fine 19th-century full brown morocco, gilt, the spine in seven compartments, with six raised bands, gilt-lettered in two, the crest of the Earls of Harewood in the last, the others decorated with fine gilt tools, all edges gilt, by Riviere.

Provenance: with the supra libros of the Earls of Harewood at the foot of the spine; with the engraved armorial bookplate of Edward Lascelles, 1st Earl of Harewood (1740 - 1820), presumably supplied from earlier binding; with Sotheby's, November 1, 1995, lot 63.

"The oft-quoted myth that the young Chippendale was employed and encouraged by local grandees such as the Lascelles and Winn families for whom he later provided extensive furnishings cannot be substantiated" (Lomax).

Second edition, and possible association copy, first published in 1854. During 1753 Chippendale "prepared the drawings for his ambitious publication The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director to be dedicated to the earl of Northumberland. Matthias Darly, who engraved most of the plates and who may also have been Chippendale's drawing-master, shared the house for several months in 1753. The two also collaborated on a characteristic rococo invitation ticket for a fellow furniture maker, Caesar Crouch, who later helped organize an appeal for Chippendale's workmen who lost their toolboxes in the fire of 1755.

"The year 1754 was momentous for Chippendale: he moved to spacious premises in the fashionable paved thoroughfare of St Martin's Lane (later numbered 60, 61, and 62, opposite the present-day Albery Theatre) which the firm occupied as tenants of Lord Salisbury until 1813; he formed a partnership with James Rannie, a Scottish merchant who provided the capital; and he brought out the first edition of his highly influential furniture pattern book The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, copies of which, as the dual appeal of the title intended, were acquired by the nobility, gentry, and many fellow tradesmen...

"Prior to the publication of The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director in 1754 no cabinet-maker, regarded by society as mere tradesmen, had shown the audacity to issue a collection of designs comparable in scale to the lavish volumes produced by professional architects. The large folio contained 161 plates illustrating ‘Elegant and Useful Designs of Household Furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste’. It was prefaced by an explanation of the ‘five orders’, the rules of perspective, and extensive notes. The ‘modern taste’ is today termed rococo, a spirited curvilinear style incorporating naturalistic ornament. It is not known where Chippendale received his artistic education and how he learned the principles of rococo composition; maybe he was taught by Matthias Darly who was an engraver and a professional drawing-master. Chippendale's eloquent drawings for The Director eventually came into the possession of Lord Foley and most were purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1920" (James Lomax for DNB). 

From the distinguished library of the Lascelles family, the Earls of Harewood, with their supra libros at the foot of the spine, and the earlier bookplate of Edward, first Earl of Harewood, on the front paste-down. Edward Lascelles, was a customs officer in Barbados, but on the death of the childless Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood, he inherited the Lascelles family fortune made in the West Indies through customs positions and slave trade. Lascelles sat as Whig Member of Parliament for Northallerton from 1761 to 1774 and from 1790 to 1796, and was raised to the peerage as Baron Harewood, of Harewood in the County of York in 1796. In 1812 he was further honoured when he was made Viscount Lascelles and Earl of Harewood, in the County of York.

According to the Harewood House website: "When Edwin Lascelles started building Harewood House in 1759 he wanted nothing but the best for his new home. He employed the finest craftsmen of the time: York-born architect John Carr, fashionable interior designer Robert Adam, England’s greatest furniture maker Thomas Chippendale and visionary landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown". OS 736 (1969: L'Art Ancien); ESTC T014876; Cf. Rothschild 614 (first edition); not in Berlin Katalog or Cicognara.