A Legacy of Excellence: The Paxton House Pembroke Table Crafted by Thomas Chippendale

  • April 05, 2016 15:48

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This incredible Pembroke table is one of the handful of pieces created by the legendary Thomas Chippendale that is still in private hands.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans
Perfect and luxurious to the last detail, this table features exotic "crocodile" grain mahogany, a rare variety that would have only been used for the most prestigious commissions.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

The mere mention of “Chippendale” invokes thoughts of sophistication and the absolute finest furniture ever made...and rightly so. Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) was legendary for his furniture designs that blended English, Chinese and Gothic motifs to create the distinctly elegant style that bears his name. In fact, the English cabinetmaker is the first to have an entire style named after him and not a monarch.


Born into a family of carpenters, little is known about his early career. What is certain is that Chippendale was primarily a designer. His influential treatise of design, The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, published in 1754, was written at the most opportune time, when the demand for luxury goods was at an all-time high. With its 160 engravings of exotic, exquisitely carved and perfectly proportioned designs, the Director propelled Chippendale’s reputation as the most celebrated cabinetmaker of the 18th century.


With an estimated 40-50 artisans working for him in his workshop on St. Martins Lane in London, Chippendale seldom created pieces himself. However, on the extremely rare occasion, and only for the most important clients, Chippendale would undertake a commission. One of the handful of examples of furniture created by the master’s hand that is still in private hands and not in a museum, this majestic Pembroke Table was made for Paxton House in the Scottish Borders.


At once beautifully crafted and flawlessly proportioned, it is believed that the table was made for the estate’s drawing room, where it would have been at the center of attention. The striking “crocodile” grained mahogany is balanced perfectly by the delicate sweep of the cabriole legs. It is known that on pieces he crafted, Chippendale would agonize over every single detail. While this became burdensome from a business perspective, this methodology resulted in the very finest furniture ever made.

Chippendale was a perfectionist, and even the graceful cabriole legs display the master's eye for balance and beauty.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans


The owner of Paxton House, Ninian Home, commissioned Chippendale to furnish the entire estate. Today, it is still regarded as one of Chippendale’s most significant commissions. That collection of furniture remains on view at Paxton House, making this table indescribably rare.


Click through to learn more about the Chippendale Paxton House Pembroke Table.


About M.S. Rau Antiques:
M.S. Rau Antiques has spent over 100 years earning the trust of discerning collectors world-wide. Located in the heart of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, our peerless showroom houses one of the world’s most extensive and stunning collections of important fine art by artists such as Monet and van Gogh, rare 18th-and 19th-century antiques and breathtaking jewelry, including rare colored diamonds.

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Beauty, Rarity, History: The M.S. Rau Blog

A New Orleans institution for over 100 years, M.S. Rau is among the premier fine art and antiques galleries in the world. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, our gallery overflows with incredible antiques by names including Tiffany & Co., Paul Revere and Fabergé. Our unparalleled selection of important, original paintings and sculpture spans the 16th through the 21st century, including legendary artists such as Brueghel, Monet and Rockwell, while our diverse selection of exquisite jewels, including rare colored diamonds, Kashmir sapphires and Burma rubies is without equal.

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