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Sheraton - Materials And Inlays

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Sheraton's designs were intended to be worked chiefly in mahogany, but in nearly every case Sheraton did not depend upon the base material. Whereas Chippendale had used the carver's tool to enrich the mahogany he fashioned so skilfully, Sheraton delighted in the inlays of rare woods and costly veneers. He ornamented his work with fans, scrolls, and wreaths of flowers, and employed satinwood from Ceylon and the Coromandel Coast, East Indian satinwood having been used at a somewhat later date. The wonderful designs for card and occasional table tops and commodes were conceptions which only a clever draughtsman could portray, and he recommended such inlaid marqueterie or painted designs, making them an essential in the fulfilment of the style he was propounding. His graceful festoons and ornaments for panels suggested the necessary accompaniment in upholstery, for the festoons wrought in his inlays made it almost compulsory for the upholstery to be in keeping, and the textile manufacturers and those who supplied cabinet-makers with upholsterers' trimmings must have welcomed the ornate style which called for such rich bed hangings, cornice trimmings, and curtains. Sheraton's sofa beds with dome tops and French drapery suggested rich silk trimmings and upholstery ; and many materials hitherto unknown in the cabinet-maker's art were introduced in the drawings of state beds, which found a place in Sheraton's book. The decorative ornament of the metal work, beautifully chased handles, and the knobs Sheraton used, more particularly referred to in another chapter, no doubt gave great impetus to the cabinet brassfounders' trade. The interiors pictured in his book were suggestive of the best of everything, and quality in finish as well as in design was aimed at by the designer, who was no doubt proud to see his suggestions carried out and his drawings executed carefully, and by the use of the best materials and the richest inlays.

Such pieces have been made use of by modern cabinet-makers as models to copy, and thus Sheraton's styles have been perpetuated.

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