Thomas Chippendale was born in Otley, Yorkshire, in 1718, the son of a carpenter. The exact date of his birth is a mystery, but we do know that he was baptised on June 5. Very little of his early life is known, but we do know that he married Catherine Redshaw in 1748 in London, and five years later moved his furniture showrooms and workshop to St. Martin's Lane, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.
In 1754 Chippendale published his collection, "Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director", a compilation of fashionable English furniture design. This work is Chippendale's enduring legacy, and shows his gift in adapting existing design styles to the fashion of the mid 18th century. So pervasive was the influence of the book that the name of Chippendale is often indiscriminately applied to mid-18th century furniture as a whole.
Chippendale's designs covered a wide range of styles, from Rococo to Gothic and chinoiserie. From the 1760's Chippendale was influenced heavily by the Neoclassical work of architect Robert Adam, with whom he worked on several large projects, most notably at Harewood House and Nostell Priory.
Thomas Chippendale died in 1779 and his business was carried on by his son, also named Thomas.