Bureau

English
about 1900
Ernest William Gimson (English, 1846–1919), Workshop of Sidney and Ernest Barnsley (Chipping Campden, England, active 1893–present)


Dimensions

128.5 x 88.5 x 52.5 cm (50 9/16 x 34 13/16 x 20 11/16 in.)

Accession Number

1993.563

Medium or Technique

Walnut, rosewood; oak, pine, brass

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Furniture

Upright rectangular form, paneled fall front with elaborated teardrop lock mechanism revealing fourteen drawers interspersed with three cupboard doors framed in rosewood, set off with string molding of contrasting woods over an open compartment. Inside hinged fall front, are nine carved drawers arranged around a locking cupboard door with raised central panel. Each lock with tent-shaped, rosewood lockplate and carved rosewood handles. Top, sides and back are constructed of paneled walnut. The whole rests on stepped trestle ends and an arched apron front.


Gimson and the Barnsley brothers trained as architects and formed a significant group of furniture designers and makers who upheld the Arts and Craft Movement’s ideals of truth to materials, honesty of construction, and fitness of purpose. In 1893 they founded a rural community of craftsmen to preserve and enhance traditional methods and lifestyle. The names of Gimson and Barnsley are synonymous with the Cotswold Style, with its extensive use of native woods, forms based on seventeenth-century prototypes, and visibility of construction.

Provenance

Made for the White House, Clarendon Park, Leicester for Arthur Gimson, half-brother of the designer. 1925, purchased by private collection; January 28, 1986, sold from this private collection at Christie's, London, lot 172 [see note 1]. By 1993, with Peter Finer, Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, England; 1993, sold by Peter Finer and bought by the MFA through the bequest of Minna Heidelberger in memory of Herbert Heidelberger. (Accession date: June 23, 1993)

NOTES:
[1] According to Christie's, London, catalogue, January 28, 1986, lot 172, the piece was purchased in 1925 along with The White House and other furniture.

Credit Line

Bequest of Minna Heidelberger in memory of Herbert Heidelberger