The Master Carvers’ Association Celebrates the Tercentenary of Chippendale’s Birth

The Master Carvers Association, founded in 1897, is pleased to celebrate the tercentenary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth. Browse the site to learn more about our history and skills. Each current member has their own page with information and links to their own web sites.

Restoration of one of the Dundas sofas by Carvers & Gilders

Figure 1. Restored Sofa

One of a suite of four sofas and eight chairs designed by Robert Adam and made by Thomas Chippendale in 1764/5 for Sir Lawrence Dundas. This sofa, numbered three, was restored by Carvers & Gilders for Houston Museum of Fine Arts in 2015/6. The aim of the work was to return the piece to its’ original intention which was finely carved, thinly gessoed and oil gilded. Jonathan Knight oversaw the joinery work and A. T. Cronin carried out the re-upholstery.

Figure 2. Stripping away later over-gilding.

The sofa structure is beech faced with lime and the serpentine front rail is pine and lime. Remains of the earliest oil gildings were kept and consolidated. All later water gildings were removed along with bad carving repairs. Not all later structural changes were reversed, only those which prevented the original upholstery lines being reinstated. The original curved seat bearers had been cut out for sprung seating. These were replaced. Additional tacking rail caps were removed and the carved husks were once again used as the braid which covers upholstery edges and tacks.

Figure 3. New Carving
Figure 4. New Carving
Figure 5. Recreating bolster ends
Figure 6. New gesso work