Designer / Maker
The design attributed to A.W.N. Pugin (1812-52)
The manufacture attributed to George Myers (1803-75),
the metalwork probably by John Hardman (founded 1838)
Oak, with brass handles and ceramic castors
77.4 x 99 x 47.6 cm
English (probably London), circa 1840
[…]; Colonel Edge, Codsall, near Wolverhampton, Staffordshire; private collection, 1955; by descent
The design and construction of this small side table (probably a writing table) typifies the most influential of Pugin’s furniture. Its functional, cantilevered and chamfered structure, pegged cross-bracing, and lack of ornament, are all features that were much admired by designers later in the nineteenth-century, including those of the Arts & Crafts Movement. As J.D Sedding (1838-91) observed in 1888, ‘we should have had no Morris, no Street, no Burges, no Webb, no Rossetti, no Bodley, no Burne-Jones, no Crane, but for Pugin’ (see Art and Handicraft, London, 1893, p. 144).
Although the table lacks provenance, Dr Clive Wainwright (1942-99) thought the table ‘very likely to be by A.W.N. Pugin and to date from 1840-50’ (letter to recent owner, dated 20 December 1995).
The cantilevered front supports are a variant of the ‘K’ supports found, for example, on Pugin’s table for St Mary’s College, Oscott (see Paul Atterbury, ed., A.W.N. Pugin Master of the Gothic Revival, New Haven and London, 1996, fig. 8-9). Drawings in the Myers archive (private collection) show several designs for ‘K’ support tables.
Myers, ‘Pugin’s builder’, was, along with John Hardman (1811-67), Herbert Minton (1793-1858) and John Gregory Crace (1809-89), one of Pugin’s trusted collaborators. He manufactured much ecclesiastical and secular furniture at his Ordnance Wharf workshops, and was a contributor to the Mediaeval Court at the Great Exhibition, 1851 (see Patricia Spencer Silver, Pugin’s Builder: The Life and Work of George Myers, Hull, 1993, p. 184).