Henry Copeland – English Furniture Designer

A Rococo and Baroque influenced piece of furniture.

In mid 18th Century England, one of the most popular furniture design styles was the Rococo Furniture style.  This late Baroque influenced design saw artists and furniture designers create works of art with less symmetry an dbalance, adding more ornate designs and fancier ornamentation to furniture and accessories. The Rococo period is heavy influenced by the 18th century designs and is associated with King Louis in France. Rococo comes from the French word rocaille, meaning stone and coquilles, which is shell, both of which are used heavily in ornamentation and design.

Early on, Copeland’s style of choice was not easily accepted and despite being derived from Baroque influences over the previous century, did not take off as well as it should.

One of this time period’s great designers was Henry Copeland who was a cabinetmaker and furniture designer who lived in London. Copeland’s greatest influence was the Rococo style, though he learned great cabinetry techniques through working with Thomas Chippendale. Indeed, Copeland was the inspiration behind many designs in Chippendale’s book. Indeed, Henry Copeland is suspected to have collaborated if not directly contributed, furniture designs to Chippendale’s most facmous book, The Gentleman and Cabinet makers Director.

Copeland, early on, was a leader in his position, being the first cabinetmaker to pubolish a book of designs for furniture, thus creating a catalog of sorts. The first book was called A New Drawing Book of Ornaments, which fits with the time period and design style of Copeland at the time – pure Rococo.

Copeland worked heavily with Mattias Locke, another modern furniture designer of the time and created multiple pieces with Copeland. Copeland however, was never truly recognized in his own right and instead fell behind the shadow of Thomas Chippendale an amazing and well-known furniture designer.

With Chippendale, Copeland and others introduced England to the new Rococo furniture style. Asymmetrical and limited in form, the Rococo period brought a large variety or ornamented furniture and design and Henry Copeland was at the forefront of this design despite his lack of fame.

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