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of the living rooms of the average English home; and he was perfectly right in coming to that conclusion. He, therefore, set himself to create an Anglo-Chinese style on his own account, and one, withal, which might be rendered in his beloved mahogany; one which would not only have sufficient stability of construction to inspire confidence in the minds of those for whose use it was intended, but which would, at the same time, appeal to their taste for novelty.
The principal feature of this phase of "Chippendale" is, of course, the ever-present lattice work, to which it owes whatever measure of Chinese character it may possess, and in the invention of which this designer displayed not a little ingenuity.
If we consider the "Chippendale-Chinese" chairs first, in order to avoid all possibility of misunderstanding or confusion, it must at once be made clear that their general form differs very greatly from that of those which we have already studied; whereas we shall see that there is little or no radical variation in the constructional outline of the cabinet work. The small " Horse" screen on Plate IV.; the first of the two chairs on Plate V.; the two lower cabinets and the chair on Plate VI.; the upper arm-chair and "small" chair on Plate IX.; the two chairs and table on Plate X.; and two chairs on Plate XL, are admirable examples of this style; and with their forms and detail "in our eye," there can be no possible difficulty in deciding what is "Chippendale-Chinese" and what is not.
It should be noticed particularly that, in the chairs, the rectangular form of back is most frequently employed, the top and sides being perfectly straight for nearly the whole of the length, but sometimes rounded very slightly where they join at the corners. The top rail of the back was occasionally shaped, by way of variation (see Plates VI. and XL), but not to any very great extent; while, here and there, in order to put a finishing touch, so to speak, to the lattice work, scraps of coquillage were introduced, though generally kept well within bounds, as the illustrations will indicate.
In dealing with cabinet work Chippendale found that it was not so easy to impart to his productions the desired Chinese character as when dealing with chairs. The respective conditions controlling the construction of both were by no means the same. In chairs he had what was to all intents and purposes a mere framework of wood, the open spaces of which could be filled with any decorative detail that his fancy might dictate. This framing formed a perfect setting for the lattice work of which he made such good use. But with cabinets, chests, and other articles of that description the case was very different. In these, plain filled-in expanses had to be treated instead of open spaces, and for such the ordinary lattice, by reason of its very nature, was of but little use. Notwithstanding the fact that the lattice itself could not be requisitioned, it was obviously essential to secure a similar effect by some means or another if the Chinese character were to be retained. Chippendale surmounted the difficulty with great ingenuity. He sketched-out his lattice-like patterns for the enrichment of cabinet work, but made them much more delicate and intricate than those intended for the backs and arms of chairs; he then had them cut, by means of the fret-saw, in thin mahogany. This, of course, was far too fragile to stand without a supporting background of some kind; it was therefore "planted-on" or "applied" to the solid foundations afforded by the wood with which the spaces to be decorated were already filled-in, and was firmly fixed in position there by means of "pins" (tiny nails or "brads") and glue.
Although he had succeeded so far in securing a certain degree of the requisite flavour in his Chinese confections, Chippendale was not content until he had made it stronger. He turned his attention therefore to the pagoda—a form I
need hardly say, essentially Chinese—and he was not to be baffled. Here was the very thing for his pediment; nothing could be better. They had to be touched up, of course, with a little coquillage; the inevitable C's were fitted in somehow here and there; top-heavy naturalesque bunches of flowers came in handy as finials; and the whole, with other nondescript detail, resulted in those strange medleys which we see in the pediments of the wall bookcases on Plates IV. and V., the two lower cabinets on Plate VI., and the hanging bookshelves on Plates X. and XI. To sum up briefly the total outcome of this experiment, the chairs proved to be a greater success than the cabinet work. They were quaint and not altogether unattractive in appearance; roomy, and, by the aid of a generous supply of loose cushions, might be made fairly comfortable. The cabinets, on the contrary, I am disposed to regard rather in the light of freaks; though we may perhaps say of them, as was said of the curate's egg, immortalised by our friend "Mr. Punch," that they are "good in parts."
But the applied fret was in every way too useful a means of enrichment to be confined to the Chinese productions exclusively; and, having once discovered and perfected it, Chippendale employed it freely in many designs other than those based upon the household gods of the "Celestials." It was, in the first place, most effective; and, what was equally important, the use of the fret-saw cost but little. The process of production was still further cheapened by clamping a number of the thin sheets or strips of wood together and piercing them all to the desired pattern at one and the same time. Indeed, they can not only be cut more expeditiously in this way, but even better than singly, for the saw obtains a surer " grip," and cuts altogether more satisfactorily.
There are few situations in which the applied fret cannot be used, so we find it introduced by Chippendale to square chair and table legs and similar supports, as shown in the