Pair of chairs
Designed by Edward Welby Pugin (1834-75)
Oak, with ebony inlay
82.6 x 55.9 x 45.3 cm
English, circa 1870
An undated design for this model, inscribed ‘front elevation of chair quarter real size Designed by E. Welby Pugin’, is preserved in the Public Record Office, Kew (BT/43/58, no. 245877).
This chair belongs to a group of furniture designed by E.W. Pugin for the Granville Hotel, Ramsgate, the failure of which in 1873 led to him filing for bankruptcy.
By 1876, some of Pugin’s designs were available through the ambitious church furnishers Cox & Sons (see James Bettley, ‘An earnest desire to promote a right taste in ecclesiastical design; Cox & Sons and the rise and fall of the church furnishing companies’, The Decorative Arts Society Journal, 26, 2002, p. 14). By 1880, E.W. Pugin’s furniture was also being manufactured by the London cabinet maker C & R Light. Variants of the present design are recorded; they invariably have four rather than five holes on each side, and small brass feet at the front. These may have been manufactured by either Cox & Sons or C & R Light.
Several chairs, identical to the present example, survive. in private collections. Another was formerly in the collection of the painter P.H. Calderon (see Truth Beauty and Design: Victorian, Edwardian and Later Decorative Art, 1986, p. 32). Three close variants (with brass feet) are illustrated in Jeremy Cooper, Victorian and Edwardian Furniture and Interiors, 1987, fig. 117.