Good design is the factor in all our stock, a linking thread which allows one piece to stand up against another whether we're looking at a desk or a display cabinet even the object within!
Britain led the world in the field of design for fifty years from 1862 until 1912. The Scottish influence starts much earlier than is generally known with the pupils of Alexander "Greek" Thompson coming south via Manchester to introduce fresh style to London through a network of talented kinsmen: Dresser, Moyr-Smith, Talbert, Cottier, Walton and Mackintosh who introduced a mixture of vigour and austerity to change the proportions of the Applied Arts forever.
From this movement sprung Modernism after a brief flirtation with Arts & Crafts and Art Deco along the way.
The Age of the Designer was born, never to end for once good design has been tasted, it is hard to find satisfaction elsewhere! All designers have sophisticated, spacial minds and we can only get close to their thoughts by looking at the beauty they created. Pondering on that a little begs the questions, 'why...' 'what...' 'what if...?' But the answer is 'he got it right because, quite simply, it looks great!'
Designers in our stock start with Cottingham and Pugin and include Talbert, Godwin and Dresser [especially in the field of Art Pottery].
From the second half of the 19th century, British cabinet making hit an all time 'high' in terms of both quality and scale; output, thanks to the selective use of machinery, also increased greatly.
The wealth of Empire was centred on London and the great cities of manufacture and trade creating very successful furniture and accessories businesses:
From the 1860's these fine makers developed a recognisable house style using 'in house' designers or hiring outside designers, especially for their stands at international exhibitions.
One firm that broke the mould from the above basically traditional firms, was Morris & Co valuing the dignity of the worker, the designer and the architect with inputs into each line of merchandise. Philip Webb, Burne-Jones, W.A.S.Benson, Harry Powell, George Jack and Morris himself are but a few of these talented men who furnished complete houses with 'artistic' and highly decorative contents.
Later, during the Arts & Crafts era, other retailers tried to copy this formula; firms like Liberty, J.S.Henry, Shoolbred, Wylie & Lockhead also the Guild of Handicraft, Ernest Gimson and the Art Workers Guild. Morris & Co survived them all bar Liberty.
Some architects who designed for too wide a range of makers to be included above are Norman Shaw, Voysey, Lutyens, Walton and Mackintosh.
In the 1930's Betty Joel and Gordon Russell made and designed furniture whilst Chermayeff designed for Gillow and Brangwyn for Pollard. Post-war Lucienne and Robin Day and Robert Heritage but the initiative had moved to Scandanavia, France, Italy, the USA and later to Japan including Aalto, Bertoia, Colombo, C & R Eames, Morgue, Panton, Saarinen and Wegner etc.