Cabinet

  • Designer / Maker

    Manufactured by Cottier & Co. (1869-1912)

  • Detail

    Ebonised, with penwork decoration

    English, circa 1875

  • Literature

    Max Donnelly, ‘Cottier and Company, Art Furniture Makers’, The Magazine Antiques, June 2001, pp. 916-925, fig. III (for identical cabinet)

  • Collection

    National Museum of Scotland

  • Literature

    Petra Ten-Doesschate Chu, Max Donnelly, et al., Daniel Cottier Designer Decorator Dealer, London, 2021, fig. 53

  • Notes

    The attribution of the present cabinet, and the identical version in a private collection, rests on the figural decoration on the doors. The figures of Fama, Fortuna, Amors and Mors, correspond with stained glass windows supplied by Cottier in 1873 for Cairndhu House, Helensburgh. The firm of Cottier and Company was founded in London in 1869 by Daniel Cottier with a view to offering clients ‘art furniture’ as well as stained glass and textiles at a time when there was an increasing public demand for ‘aesthetic’ pieces. The firm quickly expanded, establishing branches in New York City and Sydney, Australia in 1873.

    Daniel Cottier began his career as a stained-glass artist in his native Glasgow, and in 1874 set up as an independent designer in Edinburgh. By that time he had already been commissioned by John Forbes White (1831-1904), a client in Aberdeen, for whom he stencilled an ebonised dressing table. As an independent designer, Cottier was involved in decorating furniture as part of a unified scheme for a number of Presbyterian churches in Glasgow. With the establishment of the firm in London, Cottier took on a number of designers and artists, among them Bruce Talbert, who was briefly associated with the firm.

    The furniture produced at the New York branch attracted considerable attention, aided by publicity given by the New York critic, Clarence Cook. Much of the furniture illustrated by Cook is quite plain, and such furniture proved to be so popular that by the mid 1880s Cottier was operating a thriving business in New York, employing 110 people. The strong form of Cottier’s furniture, which is very often ebonised, provides an ideal balance to the gilded and painted decoration favoured by the firm.