Designer / Maker
Designed by Arthur W. Simpson (1857-1922)
Manufactured by Simpsons of Kendal (fl. 1885-1952)
Oak, with inlaid decoration
63 x 50.8 x 37.6 cm
English (Kendal), circa 1905
‘9105’ in ink, under base
Arthur Simpson’s earliest training was as an apprentice woodcarver with Gillow in 1875 (see Eleanor Davidson, The Simpsons of Kendal: Craftsmen in Wood 1885-1952, 1978, pp. 5-7).
Simpson, who exhibited at the 1890 Arts & Crafts Loan Exhibition in Kendal, met C.F.A. Voysey during this decade. Voysey exerted an evident influence on Simpson’s ‘taste and ideas’, and the two men remained friends. Simpson also made some furniture to Voysey’s designs (Davidson, pp. 37-41).
Based on Davidson’s analysis of the numbering employed by the workshop, the present table should be dated to around 1905. A closely related table, with the inlaid decoration placed a little higher up the side, is illustrated in Hugh Wright, The Beautiful Furniture of Simpsons of Kendal, 2011 p. 171, where the design is optimistically attributed to Voysey. A second close variant is reproduced by Davidson, where despite bearing the number 9261, it is dated 1931. Davidson calls this the ‘Ghyll Head shelf table’.