'Shakespeare' sideboard

Ref: 2023
  • Designer / Maker

    Designed by E.W. Godwin (1833-86)

    Manufactured by William Watt (1857-1885/87)

  • Detail

    Oak

    70 x 156 x 56 cm

    English (London), circa 1881

  • Provenance

    […]; private collection (2010-2017)

  • Literature

    Building News, 11 November 1881

    Susan Weber (intro.), E.W. Godwin FURNITURE (2018), no. 16

  • Notes

    Watt registered design for this sideboard with the patent office on 14 November 1881 (Susan Weber Soros, The Secular Furniture of E.W. Godwin 1999, p. 130), and the present example is the first to be identified. The armchair from the set, based on the form of the caqueteuse (at the left end of the dining table in the Building News engraving) is more frequently found, and was much reproduced during the final decades of the nineteenth century (Soros, 1999, no.176).

    ‘The Shakespeare Dining-Room Set’ can be seen as Godwin’s most avowedly antiquarian composition. However, while the form of the sideboard clearly derives from the form of seventeenth-century furniture, the way the doors’ unadorned panels are detailed and shaped is in line with Godwin’s uncluttered aesthetic. For examples of the type of furniture that Godwin was referencing in his ‘Shakespeare’ sideboard, and which was much admired by nineteenth-century antiquarians, see Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, 1954, II, pp. 194-97.