George Hepplewhite

Late 18th Century Display Cabinet by George Hepplewhite

The eminent designer George Hepplewhite, (Died  21 June 1786), an English cabinetmaker and furniture designer whose name is associated with a graceful style of Neoclassicism, a movement he helped to formulate in the decorative arts.   Hepplewhite was apprenticed to the English furniture maker Robert Gillow of Lancaster initially before relocating  to London, whereupon he opened a shop on Redcross Street.  His famed style is easily identifiable in that designs that were produced were slender, more curvilinear in shape and well balanced.

Hepplewhite’s style and reputation rest on his Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide published posthumously in 1788, which contained nearly 300 designs for furniture and other furnishings.  Simplicity, elegance, and utility characterize the designs in the Guide.  The recognisable characteristics that are of Hepplewhite design are chairs with straight tapered legs with shield, heart, and oval shaped backs, incorporating urns, festoons, cornhusk chains, and other typical Neoclassical motifs. Upholstered settees of serpentine form, window seats with scrolled arms, and bookcases with delicate, balanced proportions also characterize the graceful Hepplewhite style.

The image above depicts a Late 18th Century mahogany display cabinet by George Hepplewhite, the two doors with intricate glazing pattern with brass closing slip raised above eight turned tapering legs. Reeded columns and pediment with carved paterae, Three glass shelves, later re-lined silk interior.

I have also included for you some other examples of the Hepplewhite style for you to view, an early 19th Century set of eight Hepplewhite mahogany dining chairs.  The shield shaped backs carved with Prince of Wales feathers supported over upholstered seats raised over tapering leg terminating on spade foot.  These chairs relate to the designs by Hepplewhite, published in ‘The Cabinet Maker’s and Upholsterer’s Guide 1788’, plates 1 and 21.

8038 – Early 19th Century Set of Eight Hepplewhite Dining Chairs

An early 19th Century George III mahogany tub chair in the manner of George Hepplewhite, the moulded mahogany frame with acanthus leaf motif upholstered with brass studding raised over serpentine apron supported on tapering turned leg terminating on blunt arrow foot.

9706 – Early 19th Century George III Hepplewhite Tub Chair

An early 19th Century Regency pair of mahogany two tier bowfront bedside lockers in the manner of George Hepplewhite, the moulded top with line inlaid satinwood and ebony edge raised over inlaid apron with central dummy drawer flanked with two side dummy drawers all with circular brass ring pulls, the lower tier with central drawer with ebonised line inlay flanked with two side dummy drawers supported on straight tapering leg with decorative satinwood line inlay joined with X stretcher.

10453 – Early 19th Century Regency Pair of Lockers after Hepplewhite

A 19th Century shield back settee in the manner of George Hepplewhite, the finely carved back splat raised above caned seat with original re-upholstered loose seat flanked  with outscrolling arms with scroll terminals and moulded supports above plain apron supported on tapering straight leg terminating on spade foot with brass casters.

9545 – 19th Century Hepplewhite Style Shield Back Settee

Please feel free to browse through our website to see some of our fine pieces in both our Dublin and New York Galleries.  If you have any questions about these pieces, or if we can assist in any other way, we are always happy to hear from you.

by O'Sullivan Antiques