Cabinet

Ref: 1633
  • Designer / Maker

    Designed by W.A.S. Benson (1854-1924)

    Manufactured by Morris & Co. (1875-1940)

  • Detail

    Mahogany, satinwood and ebony, with gilt-lacquered mounts, and verde antico marble slabs

    108 x 140.3 x 61 cm

    English (London), circa 1908 (but probably earlier)

  • Marked

    ‘MORRIS &. Co / 449 OXFORD ST / 1697’ (stamped on right hand drawer)

  • Provenance

    […]; London art market; H. Blairman & Sons, 1996; private collection

  • Exhibited

    ‘Franco-British Exhibition’, London, 1908

    ‘Truth, Beauty and Design: Victorian, Edwardian and Later Decorative Art’, Fischer Fine Art, 1986, no. 76

  • Literature

    ‘Morris & Company’, Franco-British Exhibition Illustrated Review, London, 1908, pp. 203-08.  Illustrated on their stand (p. 203) and individually (p. 206, see below)

    Morris and Company, Specimens of Furniture Upholstery & Interior Decoration, London, n.d., circa 1910, p. 23 (same image as cited above)

    Truth, Beauty and Design: Victorian, Edwardian and Later Decorative Art, London, 1986, no. 76

  • Collection

    Private collection

  • Notes

    That the present cabinet is the one exhibited in 1908 is confirmed by the markings on the edges of the marble slabs.  The original retail price for this model, noted in the Morris & Co. trade catalogue (loc. cit.), was £60.

    A similar neo-Georgian Arts and Crafts movement cabinet, with glazed doors at either end, was sold at Sotheby’s Belgravia (see Pauline Agius, British Furniture 1880-1915, Woodbridge, 1978, pl. 112).  A longer variant, with double glazed doors at either end was formerly with Paul Reeves (see Ian Hamerton, ed., W. A. S. Benson: Arts and Crafts Luminary and Pioneer of Modern Design, 2005, pls 141-142A).

    The leaf-design hinges on the bow-front doors were patented in 1899 (see Hamerton, op. cit., pl. 140).  It is likely that the present cabinet (and other furniture on the Morris & Co stand) pre-dates the Franco-British Exhibition.

    A cabinet, apparently the same size and closely related to the present example, was exhibited by J.S. Henry at the Paris Exposition Universelle, 1900; see The Furniture Record [month illegible] 1900, p. 21 (photocopy supplied by Max Donnelly, 2014).  The ‘Paris’ cabinet has glazed doors at either end, with gilt metal surrounds.