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Murphy A8

  • Object:

    Radio and stand

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1932 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Russell, R.D., born 1903 - died 1981 (designer)
    Murphy Radio Ltd. (maker)
    Gordon Russell Ltd. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plywood cabinet, walnut veneer, metal

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

8 valve radio and stand, plywood cabinet, walnut veneer. The radio cabinet is a simple horizontal rectangular box-shape made of veneered wood. On the left of the front of the cabinetis large, circular, geometric cutaway over the loudspeaker: from the top vertical radius and moving down to the left through 270° are two cut-away bands separated by a thin central band of veneer. From the starting point of this cutaway, passing down to the centre point of the circle and then out again at right angles to the right-hand side of the front, is a thin band of veneer which changes direction downwards by 90° a few centimetres from the edge of the cabinet. Within the remaining 90° section of the circle, a continuation of the thin, circular band of veneer is suggested by a thin matching quarter-circular cut-away band. Beneath the entire cut-away section is a diagonally-patterned textile. To the right of the loudspeaker, just right of the top-centre, is a black circular plastic knob, attached to the back of which is a larger aluminium disc. To the right of this, and in line, near to the right-hand edge of the cabinet, is another control knob, with a third knob immediately below it. All control knobs are identical in pattern. On the top, in the nearside right-hand corner, is a small, rectangular plastic insert containing a glass window, over a drum tuning scale. The scale has black lettering on a white ground. The cabinet has an undercut at its base all the way around. The back of the set is made from black metal.

The stand has four legs (shortened at some point in the object's history), and an open-fronted box built into its top half.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1932 (made)


Russell, R.D., born 1903 - died 1981 (designer)
Murphy Radio Ltd. (maker)
Gordon Russell Ltd. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Plywood cabinet, walnut veneer, metal

Object history note

Purchased by the Circulation Department in 1975 from Knut Günther of Frankfurt [74/3118]. On entry to the Museum it was noted 'veneer stained and scratched in places. The legs of stand shortened at some time'.

Historical context note

This model was the first radio made in Britain to have a 'landscape' profile. Brand new, in 1932, it would have cost £31 10s with a stand, or £24 without.

Descriptive line

Radio and stand, model A8; walnut-veneered plywood; Murphy, Welwyn Garden City, 1932; designed by R.D. Russell

Labels and date

Twentieth Century Gallery

Designed By Richard 'Dick' Russell (British, 1903-1981)
Made by Murphy Radio Ltd and Gordon Russell Ltd
8 valve radio, plywood cabinet, walnut veneer
British, 1932

Radio manufacturers boosted sales by commissioning leading designers to style cabinets of their latest sets. Murphy's designs from furniture-maker Russell were first thought to be too severe but they proved popular. The art historian Nikolaus Pevsner described them as 'Britain's most significant contribution to international radio design…'

Circ.626&a-1975 [1992-2006]


Plywood; Walnut; Metal




Household objects; Audio equipment; Furniture; Entertainment & Leisure; Product design


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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