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The The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide

The The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide

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by George Hepplewhite

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George Hepplewhite (d. 1786) was the most famous of Chippendale's successors among England's master cabinetmaker-designers. So synonymous with excellence in design and craftsmanship was his name that it has been given to one of the most influential styles of English furniture.
In 1788 Hepplewhite's widow, Alice, issued a catalog of his designs, a magnificent


George Hepplewhite (d. 1786) was the most famous of Chippendale's successors among England's master cabinetmaker-designers. So synonymous with excellence in design and craftsmanship was his name that it has been given to one of the most influential styles of English furniture.
In 1788 Hepplewhite's widow, Alice, issued a catalog of his designs, a magnificent folio of engraved plates representing the prevailing furniture styles, particularly the characteristic "taper-leg Hepplewhite" and the various chair and chair-back styles most often associated with the Hepplewhite school. The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, second only to Chippendale's Director in importance and thoroughness, was enormously influential, spreading quickly throughout the Continent and the colonies and guiding the style and construction of furniture everywhere. A second edition was issued the following year, and an extensively revised third edition in 1794. Today this classic collection is a very rare and highly valued work.
This present volume is an unaltered and unabridged republication of the enlarged third edition of The Guide. The articles of furniture depicted are extremely varied: chairs, stools, sofas, sideboards, beds, pedestals, cellarets, desks, bookcases, tables, chests of drawers, dressing glasses, wardrobes, brackets, fire-screens, and many other items. The plates contain elegant drawings which reveal the practical and unpretentious craftsmanship that sets the Hepplewhite style apart, along with many special enlargements of accessories such as chair backs, table-tops, bed-pillars, cornices, trims for busts and moldings, and other details.

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By George Hepplewhite

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1969 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-14267-8




The general dimention and proportion of chairs are as follow:

Width in front 20 inches, depth of the feat 17 inches, height of the feat frame 17 inches, total height about 3 feet 1 inch.

Other dimentions are frequently adapted according to the size of the room, or pleasure of the purchaser.

Chairs in general are made of mahogany, with the bars and frame funk in a hollow, or rising in a round projection, with a band or lift on the inner and outer edges. Many of these designs are enriched with ornaments proper to be carved in mahogany as the designs A B, plates 1, 2, &c.

Mahogany chairs should have the feats of horse hair, plain, striped, checquered, &c. at pleasure, or cane bottoms with cushions, the cafes of which should be covered with the fame as the curtains.

For chairs, a new and very elegant fashion has arisen within these few years, of finishing them with painted or japanned work, which gives a rich and splendid appearance to the minutes parts of the ornaments, which are generally thrown in by the painter. Several of these designs are particularly adapted to this style, which allows a frame-work lets massy than is requisite for mahogany; and by assorting the prevailing colour to the furniture and light of the room, affords opportunity, by the variety of grounds which may be introduced, to make the whole accord in harmony, with a pleasing and striking effect to the eye. Japanned chairs should have cane bottoms, with linen or cotton cafes over cushions to accord with the general hue of the chair.

Plate 9. Two designs for chairs with cane bottoms; these may be of mahogany or japanned, and should have cushions of linen, leather, &c.


ARE called cabriole chairs. The designs EF plate 10 are of the newest fashion; the arms to F, though much higher than usual, have been executed with good effect for his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. The designs, plate 11, are also quite new.

Plate 12, 13, exhibit twelve designs for chair backs, proper to be executed in mahogany or japan; some of them applicable to the more elegant kind of chairs with backs and feats of red or blue morocco leather, in these backs which are sometimes made a little circular, are frequently inserted medallions, printed or painted on silk of the natural colours; when the backs and feats are of leather they should be tied down with tassels of silk or thread as shewn in several of the preceding designs.


PLATE 14 shews three designs for hall chairs, which are made all of wood, either carved or painted. The designs with safe backs are new, and have been much approved.

Plate 15 shews a design for a Saddle Cheek, or easy chair; the construction and use of which is very apparent: they may be covered with leather, horse-hair; or have a linen cafe to fit over the canvass fluffing as is most usual and convenient.

On the fame plate is shewn the mechanism of a Gouty Stool; the construction of which, by being so easily raised or lowered at either end, is particularly useful to the afflicted.


PLATES 16, 17, shew four designs for stools; the frame-work for which may be of mahogany, or japanned, as most agreeable; or to match the suit of chairs, and of consequence should have the fame fort of covering. The design O, plate 17, is proper for a dressing or music stool.


TWO designs are shewn on plate 18, proper for mahogany or japan, covered with linen or cotton to match the chairs. Plate 19, two more designs; the upper one is applicable to japan-work, with striped furniture; the under one of mahogany, carved, with furniture of an elegant pattern sestooned in front, will produce a very pleasing effect. Plate 20. These two designs are peculiarly adapted for an elegant drawing-room of japanned furniture; the covering should be of taberray or morine, of a pea-green, or other light colour.

The size of window stools must be regulated by the size of the place where they are to stand; their heights should not exceed the feats of the chairs.


PLATES 21, 22, 23, 24, present four designs for sofas; the woodwork of which should be either mahogany or japanned, in accordance to the chairs; the covering also must be of the fame.

The dimentions of sofas vary according to the size of the room and, pleasure of the purchaser. The following is the proportion in general use: length between 6 and 7 feet, depth about 30 inches, height of the feat frame 14 inches; total height in the back 3 feet 1 inch.

Plate 25 shews a design for a sofa of the newest fashion; the frame should be japanned, with green on a white ground, and the edges gilt; the covering of red Morocco leather.

Plate 26 is a design for a bar-back sofa: this kind of sofa is of modern invention; and the lightness of its appearance has procured it a favourable reception in the first circles of fashion. The pattern of the back must match the chairs; these also will regulate the fort of frame-work and covering.


THIS piece of furniture is of French origin, and is in pretty general request for large and spacious suits of apartments. An elegant drawing-room with modern furniture, is scarce complete without a confidante: the extent of which may be about 9 feet, subject to the fame regulations as sofas. This piece of furniture is sometimes so constructed that the ends take away and leave a regular sofa: the ends may be used as Barjier chairs,


This piece of furniture also is derived from the French. Two Barjier chairs, of proper construction, with a stool in the middle, form the duchesse, which is allotted to large and spacious anti-rooms: the covering may be various, as also the frame-work, and made from 6 to 8 feet Ions.

The fluffing may be of the round manner as shewn in the drawing or low-stuffed, with a loose squab or bordered cushion fitted to each part; with a duplicate linen cover to cover the whole, or each part separately. Confidantes, Sofas, and Chairs may be fluffed in the fame manner.


THE great utility of this piece of furniture has procured it a very general reception; and the conveniencies it affords render a dining-room incomplete without a sideboard. Of those with drawers, we have given two designs; the first, on plate 29, shews the internal construction and conveniencies of the drawers; the right hand drawer has partitions for nine bottles, as shewn in the plan; the partition is one inch and a half from the bottom; behind this is a place for cloths or napkins the whole depth of the drawer.

The drawer on the left hand has two divisions, the hinder one lined with green cloth to hold plate, &c. under a cover; the front one is lined with lead for the convenience of holding water to wash glasses, &c.---there must be a valve-cock or plug at the bottom, to let off the dirty water; and also in the other drawer, to change the water necessary to keep the wine, &c. cool; or they may be made to take out. The long drawer in the middle is adapted for table linen, &c.

Plate 30 shews a different design on the fame construction.

They are often made to fit into a recess; but the general custom is to make them from 5 and a half to 7 feet long, 3 feet high, from 28 to 32 inches wide.

Plates 31, 32, 33, 34, are designs for sideboards without drawers; the ornaments to the fronts of which may be carved, painted, or inlaid with various coloured woods.


ARE much used in spacious dining-rooms, where the last-described kind of sideboards are chosen; at each end of which they are placed. One pedestal serves as a plate-warmer, being provided with racks and a stand for a heater; and is lined with strong tin; the other pedestal is used as a pot cupboard.

The safes may be used to hold water for the use of the butler, or iced water for drinking, which is inclosed in an inner partition, the ice surrounding it; or may be used as knife-cafes (see plate 39), in which cafe they are made of wood, carved, painted, or inlaid; if used for water may be made of wood or of copper japanned. The height of the pedestal is the fame as the sideboard, and 16 or 18 inches square; the height of the safe about 2 feet 3 inches.


CALLED also gardes de vin, are generally made of mahogany, and hooped with brass hoops lacquered; the inner part is divided with partitions, and lined with lead for bottles; may be made of any shape, These are of general use where sideboards are without drawers; the proportion may be known by applying the scale.


THE universal utility of this piece of furniture renders a particular description not necessary. Those on plate 38 may be made of mahogany inlaid, or of satin, or other wood at pleasure.

Four designs for Vafe knife-cafes are given on plate 39: they are usually made of satin or other light-coloured wood, and may be placed at each end on the sideboards, or on a pedestal; the knives, &c. fall into the body of the safe, the top of which is kept up by a small spring which is fixed to the item which supports the top; may be made of copper, painted and japanned.


THIS article of furniture affords a great variety of patterns. The three designs here given will shew their general appearance.

Desks and book-cafes are usually made of good mahogany; the drawers and internal conveniencies admit of much variation. The designs shew three different ways of making them: the patterns of the book-cafe doors may also be very much varied. On plate 40 are shewn four designs for doors, which will apply to any of the following designs. On the top, when ornamented, is placed between a scroll of foliage, a safe, bust, or other ornament, which may be of mahogany, or gilt, or of light-coloured wood.

The dimentions of this article, will in general, be regulated by the height of the room, the place where it must stand, or the particular use to which it is destined. The following are the general proportions; length 3 feet 6 inches, depth 22 inches, height of desk 3 feet 2 inches, including 10 inches for the inside of the desk; total height about fix feet j depth of Book-cafe about 12 inches.


HAVE the fame general use as the former article; they differ in not being sloped in front. The accommodations therefore for writing are produced by the face of the upper drawer falling down by means of a spring and quadrant, which produces the fame usefulness as the flap to a desk. To one design are drawers—the other has doors, within which are sliding shelves for clothes, &c. like a wardrobe.


PLATES 45, 46, 47, 48, shew four different designs for Library-cafes, which are usually made of the finest mahogany; the doors of fine waved or curled wood. May be inlaid on the pannels, &c. with various coloured woods. The ornamental sash bars are intended to be of metal, which painted of a light colour, or gilt, will produce a light pleasing effect.

To each of these designs, the drawer in the middle is intended for a secretary drawer, with wardrobe shelves under.

Various proper designs at large, for Cornices, Plinth, and Bafe Mouldings, for this and the two former articles, are given at the end of this book.

The dimentions of this article will depend entirely upon the place where it must stand.


THREE designs are given on Plates 49, 50, for Library Tables, which are generally made of mahogany, covered on the top with leather or green cloth. Plate 49 shews a front with cupboards for books, papers, &c.; the other fide has drawers which run half-way back; the dimentions in use are from 3 to 4 feet long, by 3 feet deep.


PLATE 51 shews two different kinds of Reading Desks; the mechanism and use of which are clearly shewn in the drawings. The desk may be raised by means of the staff which slides in the stem, and is fixed by the screw at the top.


Chefts of Drawers. Two designs are here shewn for this article, which admits of little variation or ornament; general dimentions 3 feet 6 inches long, by 20 inches deep.

Double Chefts of Drawers. Two designs for these are here shewn; to the latter one is given fluted pilafters at the angles; these may have the fame depth as the former ones, and height 5 feet 6 inches.


SIX designs for this article are here shewn, with their plans and proper enrichments, which may be inlaid of various coloured woods, or painted and varnished. The black line on the plan marks the Hide, which draws out to set the tea-pot on; their height may be about 26 inches.


FOR these articles fix designs are here shewn, with their plans. The ornaments may be inlaid with various coloured woods, or painted" and varnished.


FOR Tea Trays a very great variety of patterns may be invented; almost any kind of ornament may be introduced. Several very good and proper designs may be chosen from the various kind of inlaid table tops which are given in this book. Four designs for this article are here shewn with the inner borders. Tea Trays may be inlaid of various coloured woods, or painted and varnished. This is an article where much taste and fancy may be shewn.


TABLES are of various kinds, adapted to the several uses for which they are intended: in general, Tables are made of the best mahogany. Their size very various; but their height should not exceed 28 inches.

Card Tables may be either square, circular or oval: the inner part is lined with green cloth; the fronts maybe enriched with inlaid or painted ornaments; the tops also admit of great elegance in the fame styles. Plate 61 shews four designs proper for inlaid or painted tops for Card Tables.

Pembroke Tables are the moil useful of this species of furniture: they may be of various shapes. The long square and oval are the moil fashionable. These articles admit of confiderable elegance in the workmanship and ornaments. The designs on Plate 63 are proper for tops, inlaid, or painted and varnished.

Pier Tables are become an article of much fashion: and not being applied to such general use as other Tables, admit, with great propriety, of much elegance and ornament. Four designs for Pier Tables are shewn, with their proper ornaments; and also four designs for tops, which shew as many various plans.

The height of Pier Tables varies from the general rule, as they are now universally made to fit the pier, and rife level with or above the dado of the room, nearly touching the ornaments of the glass: if the latter, the top fits close to the wall.

Tambour Writing Table is a very convenient piece of furniture, answering all the uses of a desk, with a much lighter appearance. Plate 67 shews a design with two drawers, and the reids thrown back. Plate 68 is another design, with four long drawers, with a slide to write on; the flap in which lifts up, and may be adjusted to any height by means of the foot or flop behind.

Plate 69 shews a design for one with a book-Cafe on it; the doors to which are intended to be made of, and ornamented with, metal frames; these painted of a light, or various colours, produce a lively and pleasing effect, The reeds are here drawn forward to shew the appearance when shut.


Dressing Glasses. Four designs are hare shewn of different plans; the ornaments to which may be inlaid with various coloured woods, or painted and varnished.

Ladies' Dressing Tables. Four designs, of various constructions and conveniencies, are here shewn; the partitions or apartments in which are adapted for combs, powders, essences, pin-cushions, and other necessary equipage. The glasses rife on hinges in the front, and are supported by a foot, affixed in the back; may be made of mahogany or other inferior wood.

Dressing Drawers.Plate 74 shews a design for this article 5 the top drawer in which contains the necessary dressing equipage; the others are applicable to common uses.

Plate 75 is a design for one with a slide. Plate 76 shews two more designs, of different forms, in the fronts.

Plate 77 is a design for one with: a ferpentine front; the drawers to which are elegantly ornamented with inlaid or painted work, which is applied with great beauty and elegance to this piece of furniture, Some made of satin wood, with the ornaments of suitable colours, have produced a most pleasing and agreeable effect.


Excerpted from THE CABINET-MAKER & UPHOLSTERER'S GUIDE by George Hepplewhite. Copyright © 1969 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is rediculous! It is virtually unreadable. Whoever put it together kept hitting the "f" instead of the "s" and words such as "design" is typed as "defign" and usual is instead "ufual ". His Royal Highness has become "His Royal Highnefs". I am thoroughly disappointed and cannot even bring myself to finish the book. I will give it one star even though it doesn't deserve that. If I can figure out how I will ask for my money back.