Today Google have celebrated Thomas Chippendale’s 295th birthday with a Google Doodle and I thought I might share an interesting fact about him and his work.
As we all know Chippendale was a master craftsmen in furniture design and cabinet making. His skills and design were unrivaled in the 1800’s and his work is nationwide and international. Chippendale’s story of success as a master craftsman and prolific designer is very different to his business and financial success.
Chippendale managed to move from the north of England to London in search for his wealth and fame and set up a small workshop specialising in his craft. His growth was good and he managed a good team of craftsmen and managed many large projects. Thomas even moved with the times when the design style drastically changed and he innovated and implemented catalogues for his customers. All impressive stuff, but he was held back by cash flow difficulties and bad custom. Consistently blighted by late payers and non-payment for his projects he only barely managed to keep his workshop afloat. It was purely down to his workmanship and the call for his work by wealthy contemporaries that kept him in business. Constantly propelled by the new custom he managed to continue working. In fact it was at his time of death that the full gravity was felt by his family as he left behind a company in dept complete with workshop and staff, without the product to sell, himself.
Of course his family dis not lose out as his work became desirable even more with his death but a sad ending for a master of his craft that was truly amazing at design and fabrication. An example of an artist that only reached fame and recognition once he had died.
Images from Google.