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Armchair - Victorian Railings Chair

Victorian Railings Chair

  • Object:

    Armchair

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1986 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dixon, Tom, born 1959 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wrought and cast iron architectural features, welded together and painted.

  • Museum number:

    W.16-2011

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Before coining the term ‘Creative Salvage’ with Mark Brazier-Jones and Nick Jones, Tom Dixon had been involved in the music business. The genesis of this chair was the DIY attitude they had embraced through outfitting empty warehouses, which were used as nightclubs, with salvaged items.

Tom Dixon first learnt to weld in Paul Richman’s garage in Brixton and ‘fell in love with the molten metal and the speed at which [he] could stick things together’. This chair has a regal yet irreverent bearing, and is made from pieces of nineteenth-century iron railings, legs from a stove and a manhole cover for a seat. The use of salvaged industrially-produced elements in an attempt to realise a classic design, at a time when Britain’s industrial output had been sharply curtailed, can be seen as a political statement.

Physical description

Armchair made from wrought and cast iron architectural salvage welded together. The back rises high and appears to consist of wrought iron 19th century railings, as do the legs. The tops of the front legs are covered by shorter legs from a stove or workbench. There is a stretcher across the front legs made from a pipe. The seat is formed from an iron or steel manhole cover. The legs are painted white, and there are also traces of paint on the seat.

The material used to weld the elements together appears to be a soft lead/tin solder.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1986 (made)

Artist/maker

Dixon, Tom, born 1959 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Wrought and cast iron architectural features, welded together and painted.

Marks and inscriptions

'THE BURCO'
On the tops of both of the 'stove' legs.

Dimensions

Height: 112 cm, Width: 76 cm, Width: 36 cm

Object history note

Purchased. Acquisition registered file number 2011/422

Historical context note

The chair is a result of Mark Brazier-Jones, Nick Jones and Tom Dixon’s mid-1980s exhibition on Kensington High Street titled Creative Salvage. The show was inspired by their participation in the creative DIY attitude of the underground music industry which they had previously been involved in, where they would outfit empty industrial spaces with salvaged décor

In the catalogue for the V&A exhibition British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, Dixon, in reference to Creative Salvage, states that ‘it seemed like a fantastic way to make money: very chaotic and definitely influenced by the do-it-yourself attitude of the music business… [it] had a distinctive aesthetic. It was very rusty. It was quite pointed, jagged and dangerous. It was highly impractical and bits would often fall off. It was irreverent, but had lots of character’.

Descriptive line

Victorian Railings Chair, Designed by Tom Dixon, 1986

Materials

Iron; Cast iron

Techniques

Welding; Painting

Categories

Furniture; Interiors; Metalwork

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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