Stool

Ref: 1398
  • Designer / Maker

    A.W.N. Pugin (1812-52)

  • Detail

    Stained pine

    48 x 38.7 x 26.6 cm

    English, circa 1840-41

  • Provenance

    Convent of our Lady of Mercy, Handsworth

  • Collection

    Private collection

  • Notes

    John Hardman (1812-67) who paid for the building and furnishing of the content in Hunter’s Road, Handsworth, was one of Pugin’s most trusted collaborators. As ‘Mediaeval Metalworkers’ and stained glass manufacturers in Birmingham, Hardman’s executed many of Pugin’s designs. The convent, where Hardman’s daughter Mary was a nun, survives and is a testament to the relationship between Pugin and Hardman, who gate £5535 towards the building costs. Another of Pugin’s patrons, the Earl of Shrewsbury, contributed £2000.

    It seems likely that this stool was at the convent by 1841 when, according to a letter written by Catherine Elizabeth McAuley, ‘The Convent is beautiful and fully furnished . . . We have rush chairs and oak tables . . .’ (quoted in Michael Trappes-Lomax, Pugin: a mediaeval Victorian, London, 1932, p.342). The form of the stool should be compared to one published by Pugin in Gothic Forms… (1835), pl. 21.

    The design of this stool seems accurately to reflect Pugin’s contemporary proclamation: ‘The two great rules for design are these: 1st, that there should be no features about a building [and this applies equally to furniture] which are not necessary for convenience, construction, or ‘propriety’; 2nd, that all ornaments should consist of enrichment of the essential construction . . .’ (True Principals of Pointed or Christian Architecture, London, 1841, p. 1 ).