(1751 - 1806) was an English cabinetmaker and one of the leading exponents of Neoclassicism. Sheraton gave his name to a style of furniture characterised by a feminine refinement of late Georgian styles and became the most powerful source of inspiration behind the furniture of the late 18th century. His four-part Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterers’ Drawing Book greatly influenced English and American design.
Sheraton was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker, but he became better known as an inventor, artist, mystic, and religious controversialist. Initially he wrote on theological subjects, describing himself as a “mechanic, one who never had the advantage of collegiate or academical education.” He settled in London c. 1790, and his trade card gave his address as Wardour Street, Soho.
Supporting himself mainly as an author, Sheraton wrote Drawing Book (1791), the first part of which is devoted to somewhat naive, verbose dissertations on perspective, architecture, and geometry and the second part, on which his reputation is certainly based, is filled with plates that are admirable in draftsmanship, form, and proportion.
In 1803 Sheraton, who had been ordained a Baptist minister in 1800, published his Cabinet Dictionary (with plates), containing An Explanation of All Terms Used in the Cabinet, Chair and Upholstery Branches with Dictionary for Varnishing, Polishing and Gilding.
Some of the designs in this work, venturing well into the Regency style, are markedly unconventional. That he was a fashionable cabinetmaker is remarkable, for he was poor, his home of necessity half shop. It cannot be presumed that he was the maker of those examples even closely resembling his plates.
Although Sheraton undoubtedly borrowed from other cabinetmakers, most of the plates in his early publications are supposedly his own designs. The term Sheraton has been recklessly bestowed upon vast quantities of late 18th-century painted and inlaid satinwood furniture, but, properly understood and used in a generic sense, Sheraton is an appropriate label recognizing a mastermind behind the period. The opinion that his lack of success was caused by his assertive character is hypothetical.
Angelica Kauffman, RA (1741 - 1807)
was a Swiss-born Austrian Neoclassical painter who had a successful career in London and Rome. Though born as "Kauffmann", Kauffman is the preferred spelling of her name in English; it is the form she herself used most in signing her correspondence, documents and paintings.
While Kauffman produced many types of art, she identified herself primarily as a history painter, an unusual designation for a woman artist in the 18th century. History painting, was considered the most elite and lucrative category in academic painting during this time period. Under the direction of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Royal Academy made a strong effort to promote history painting to a native audience who were more interested in commissioning and buying portraits and landscapes.
Despite the popularity that Kauffman enjoyed in British society and her success as an artist, she was disappointed by the relative apathy that the British had towards history painting. Ultimately she left Britain for the continent, where history painting was better established, held in higher esteem and patronized.
The works of Angelica Kauffman have retained their reputation. By 1911, rooms decorated with her work were still to be seen in various quarters. At Hampton Court was a portrait of the duchess of Brunswick; in the National Portrait Gallery, a self-portrait. There were other pictures by her at Paris, at Dresden, in the Hermitage at St Petersburg, in the Alte Pinakothek at Munich, in Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn (Estonia).