13 Elements of the Hepplewhite Style

When it comes to recognizing Hepplewhite, it is easier than with many the previous periods.  George Hepplewhite created a new look for this time.  While he ranks with the likes of Thomas Chippendale for quality of enduring design, Hepplewhite created a comfortable style that was new and appealing. 

To identify the Hepplewhite style, there are a few elements one can distinguish.

  1. Hepplewhite is known for straight legs that taper or straight legs with spade feet.  Occasionally the legs can be turned and reeded but the straight square tapered legs are most typical.
  2. Chest of drawers and cabinets have slender, slightly curved French bracket feet.
  3. Chairs have either a shield back, an oval back, or a hoop back.
  4. The seats of the chairs are shaped somewhat like a shield although not as prominent as the chair backs.
  5. The chairs are braced with straight rectangular stretchers.
  6. Veneer is often used for the fronts of cabinets, sideboards and other large pieces.
  7. Painted or inlaid ornament.
  8. Small tables are often oval or other shapes.
  9. Outward swelling on the fronts of cabinets, chairs, and other pieces.
  10. Veneered panels, usually rectangle in shape.
  11. Smaller moldings than shown in other styles that preceded Hepplewhite.
  12. Mahogany wood is the primary wood used, although Satinwood was used for veneering.
  13. The ornament is classic in design, much like the ornament used by the Brothers Adam.

To read about the History of the Hepplewhite Style