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Chair - Antelope


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1951 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Race, Ernest, born 1913 - died 1964 (designer)
    H.M. Government (commissioned by)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs May Savage

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Antelope chair was designed for the 1951 Festival of Britain terraces. Race had previously worked with engineer J. W. Noel Jordan on furniture for the Utility Scheme during the Second World War. With wood rationed, they created designs with materials that were not restricted, namely aluminium and thin steel rods which were used in armaments manufacture, with upholstery often made of parachute silk. One of his styles, the BA3 dining chair, was a great success receiving large government orders and was manufactured well into the 1960s. As recognition for his work on the Utility Furniture scheme during the Second World War, Race was chosen to design the furniture for this prestigious event.

His designs incorporated the materials used in the BA3 chair such as die cast aluminium and steel rods. The Antelope bench (also in the V&A’s collections, W.35-2010) and chair incorporated atomic era imagery, as can be seen in the balled feet, evocative of atoms, with a curving top rail reminiscent of the cartoonish style of the graphic illustrators of the 1940s and 1950s. These features reflected the Festival of Britain's intent to liven up grey, post-war Britain. The use of steel rods was not disguised in any way, and reflected the interest in the machine age aesthetic that had developed from pre-war Modernism. The design's visual and technological sophistication contended with that of furniture then emanating from the USA and Scandinavia, leading to the Antelope chair winning a silver medal at the Saloni di Milano International Furniture Fair, 1955.

Physical description

Chair of steel rods, with ball feet, and painted wooden seat.

Place of Origin

Britain (manufactured)


1951 (manufactured)


Race, Ernest, born 1913 - died 1964 (designer)
H.M. Government (commissioned by)


Depth: 55 cm, Width: 54 cm, Height: 80 cm, Depth: 39 cm, Height: 48 cm

Object history note

This chair was designed for the 1951 Festival of Britain terraces on the South Bank. It was bought by the donor from the South Bank Festival of Britain offices.

Descriptive line

Chair, Antelope by Ernest Race for Festival of Britain, 1951


Steel; Wood; Paint; Aluminium


Die cast; Painting



Production Type

Mass produced


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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