Bookcase

  • Designer / Maker

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

  • Provenance

    3rd Earl of Limerick (1840-96), Dromore Castle, Ireland;  thence  by  descent;  De  Courcy,

    Dromore Castle, 19-29 October 1949; [. . .]; private collection, Dublin

  • Collection

    French private collection

  • Literature

    Susan Weber Soros, The Secular Furniture of E.W. Godwin (New Haven and London, 1999), under no. 311.III.

  • Notes

    Godwin was working on the Dromore Castle commission between 1866 and 1869. Apart from the architectural aspect, he supplied designs for ‘furniture, interiors, metalwork and tiles’ (Susan Weber Soros, ‘The Furniture of E. W. Godwin’ in Soros (ed.), E. W. Godwin Aesthetic Movement Architect and Designer, exh. cat. (New Haven and London, 1999), pp. 232-34). Soros (ed.), loc. cit., sets out the evidence for attributing the manufacture of this bookcase to Reuben Burkitt, rather than William Watt of London, who also supplied furniture for this commission.

    Much of Godwin’s case furniture for Dromore Castle survives, including at least all of the original six bookcases to the present design; one is now in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Other furniture includes two wardrobes and a washstand (Soros, op. cit., nos 309-10), two dressing tables (including one in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris), a small portion of a buffet, a ‘Nursery Buffet’ and an ‘Escritoire’ (Soros, op. cit., nos 312-15).  Most recently, a corner wash-stand, lacking its original tile panels, was acquired for a private collection.

    The Dromore Castle furniture, as exemplified by the present bookcase, seems to represent a bold transition from the Gothic furniture for Northampton Town Hall (mid-1860s) towards the Anglo-Japanese designs published in the catalogue of William Watt’s Art Furniture (London, 1877).