Designer / Maker
Designed by Philip Webb
Manufactured by Morris & Co.
Oak, with ceramic castors
74 x 185 x 89 cm
English (London), 1870s
[…]; with the late Julian Mynott; H. Blairman & Sons, 2010; private collection until 2020
This model is sometimes described as the ‘Kelmscott’ table, on account of an oak table of this pattern, varying slightly in the shape and angle of the legs and the profile of the top, at Kelmscott Manor, William Morris’s ‘heaven on earth’.
Peter Cormack believes the earliest of these tables, probably the one now at the Manor, was made from Webb’s design for the furnishing of Kelmscott House, Hammersmith, and probably dates from the later 1870s (although the elaborate turning of the legs can be found in pieces from the 1860s too). The table, which appears in many of the Emery Walker photographs of Kelmscott House, may have been as much intended as a ‘work table’ as for dining; see Fiona MacCarthy, William Morris, A Life for Our Times, London, 1994, pl. 105. There is a watercolour by Mary A. Sloane May Morris in Tapestry Room at Kelmscott Manor, 1912 (William Morris Gallery), showing her seated at a the table, editing the Collected Works by William Morris.
A second table, currently in the Tapestry Room did not originate at Kelmscott Manor (see right). The top has the same profile as the present example.
It is possible, Cormack suggests, that the design was never adopted as a Morris & Co. ‘stock’ item, which might explain why the model does not appear in any of their known trade catalogues.