Hepplewhite George - (Furniture England Died-1786)

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Hepplewhite, George - (Furniture, England Died-1786) English cabinet-maker and designer. Biographical details are few. He was apprenticed to Gillow came later to London and set up in business at St Giles, Cripplegate. He did not achieve any fame in his lifetime as a cabinet-maker. He may never have had a workshop of his own. Not a single piece of furniture by him has ever been identified. Rather was his reputation procured posthumously by his wife Alice, who continued the business after his death and in 1788 published his Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers' Guide. The preface of the Guide claims only that it 'followed the latest or most prevailing fashion' and expressly states there had been no intention of originality. (A third edition, with some alterations, was published in 1794.) In this work the neo-classic style inspired by the brothers Adam is seen with its more conscious classic ornament eliminated or adapted to suit English cabinet-making. Such innovations as the oval, shield and heart-shaped chair back are wrongly credited to Hepplewhite, he did not invent them. Attributes of Hepplewhite style are simple, elegant and refined lines. Light but strong construction often with Satinwood or other exotic wood inlays. Other characteristics of the Hepplewhite style are bow-front and serpentine-fronted chests of drawers and oval, heart-shaped and shield back chairs with straight tapered legs.


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