Designer / Maker
Designed by Mervyn Macartney (1853-1932)
Manufactured by W. Hall, for Kenton & Co. (1890-92)
96.5 x 74.3 x 35.5. cm
English (London), 1891
‘KENTON & CO LD’, ‘M.E.M.’ and ‘W. HALL’ (all stamped on inside back edge and revealed when lid is open)
Barnard’s Inn, London, December 1891, no.27
‘Furniture by “Kenton & Co” ‘,The Builder, 19 December 1891, p.458
Frances Collard, ‘Kenton & Co’, The Decorative Arts Society Journal, 20, 1996, pp.29-33.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Kenton & Co. was created by Reginald Blomfield (1856-1942), Mervyn Macartney, William R. Lethaby (1857-1931) and Ernest Gimson (1864-1919), all of whom had exhibited at the 1891 Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society exhibition.
From the little surviving evidence, it appears that Kenton & Co. held only two exhibitions of its work before being wound up in 1892. The company was formed ‘ with the object of supplying furniture of good design and the best workmanship; all the work is designed by members of the company and made under their personal guidance by their own workmen;and each piece is made entirely by one man and stamped with the initials of the designer and workman.'(The Builder, loc. cit.) noted: ‘Mr Macartney’s “Lady’s writing table” (27), notable alike for elegance of line and solid workmanship’.
The desk was also praised as ’exquisite in every respect’ by Furniture and Decoration, 1 January 1892, p.9 (see Collard,op. cit., p.32). Photographs in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum show the desk as part of the Kenton & Co. exhibit, and on its own (Collard,op. cit., figs 3 and 4).
A version of this desk, with silver mounts, is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.