11 JUNE 1920, Page 24

The Victoria and Albert Museum has published a document which

throws light on the mysterious and venerated Chippendale. This is the Accounts of Chippendale, Haig & Co. for the Furnishing of David Garrick's House in the Adelphi, given to the Museum by Mrs. H. Sibthorp Barlow. Garrick lived at No. 5 Adelphi Terrace, where naval architects now congregate, and the house with its decorations is still as Robert Adam designed it. The prosaic accounts rendered to Garrick, as Mr. Brackett says in an introduction, confirm Dr. Johnson's remark about his living " rather as a prince than as an actor." But they also show that in 1771-2 Chippendale was ".e. general house-furnisher and upholsterer, whose work showed no distinctive style nor character. but was dominated by the architect or client who employed him." The furniture that he was making at that time bore no resemb- lance to the designs in the famous " Director," in which credulous moderns have seen a style peculiar to Chippendale. The accounts strengthen the belief that " Chippendale " is a mere trade convention, incapable of being accurately defined. The furni- ture of the period should be judged on its intrinsic merits, which are often but not always considerable.