George Hepplewhite - A Biography
George Hepplewhite (died June 21 1786) was a cabinet and chair maker. Very little is known about Hepplewhite himself. He served his apprenticeship with Gillows in Lancaster and then moved to London where he opened a shop in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate. Almost a contemporary of Chippendale's, George Hepplewhite died only seven years later.

There are no known pieces of furniture made by Hepplewhite or his firm in existence; however Hepplewhite gave his name to a distinctive style of light, elegant furniture that was fashionable between about 1775 and 1800. Reproductions of his designs continued through the following centuries. George’s designs were mainly in mahogany or satinwood, delicately inlaid or painted with decorations of feathers, shells, or ears of wheat. He favoured heart and shield-backs for chairs, and used ‘Marlboro’ (square-tapered) legs on tables and sideboards.

After he died in 1786 the business was carried on by his widow, Alice. In 1788 she posthumously published a book with about 300 of his designs, "The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers' Guide". Two further editions were published in 1789 and 1790. The book influenced cabinet makers and furniture companies for several generations. The work of these generations influenced in turn copies of the original designs and variants of them through the 19th and 20th centuries.

The name Hepplewhite represents a style rather than one man's own handiwork - a style lighter, and with more delicate grace than Chippendale.