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Firescreen
  • Firescreen
    Benson, William Arthur Smith, born 1854 - died 1924
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Firescreen

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1884 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Benson, William Arthur Smith, born 1854 - died 1924 (designer)
    W. A. S. Benson & Co. Ltd. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brass and copper

  • Credit Line:

    Formerly in the collection of Charles and Lavinia Handley-Read.

  • Museum number:

    M.37-1972

  • Gallery location:

    Boardroom, case CA2, shelf 3

This brass and copper firescreen is one of the earliest registered designs of William Arthur Smith Benson (1858-1924). He had a facility for inventing gadgets and this vaned copper screen is reminiscent of the copper shades he evolved for some of his lamps. The pattern appears in his catalogue of 1899/1900. It has the production number 679 and costs four guineas (£4.20p).

Benson was a great admirer of the designer and writer William Morris, who inspired him to set up a metalwork workshop in 1880. He later opened a well-equipped factory in Hammersmith, west London, and a shop in Bond Street. The firm survived until he retired in 1920.

Benson’s firm produced some simple furniture but his great output was well-designed utilitarian metalwork, usually in copper and brass (as here) but sometimes in electroplate. Benson had always been interested in engineering and, unlike so many of his contemporaries in the Arts and Crafts movement, had little compunction about the use of the machine.

Physical description

Copper and brass. Circular brass base; tubular shaft terminating in a ring above. To the shaft is attached a brass ring holder with a central boss bearing a vaned, copper screen.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1884 (made)

Artist/maker

Benson, William Arthur Smith, born 1854 - died 1924 (designer)
W. A. S. Benson & Co. Ltd. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Brass and copper

Marks and inscriptions

Stamped 181515 which shows that Benson patented the design in 1884

Dimensions

Height: 75 cm, Width: 51 cm, Depth: 20 cm

Object history note

This was one of Benson's earliest registered designs. He had a facility for inventing gadgets: his vaned copper screen is reminiscent of the copper shade he evolved for some of his lamps - an example of these, installed by Philip Webb at Standen, near East Grinstead, is now in the possession of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The pattern is shown in his catalogue of 1899/1900, given the production number 679 (pl.29) and costing four guineas.

Descriptive line

Copper and Brass, London 1884, designed and made by W.A.S. Benson

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jervis, Simon, Victorian and Edwardian decorative art: the Handley-Read collection, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 1972

Materials

Brass; Copper

Categories

Furniture; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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