Murphy A8

Radio and Stand
1932 (made)
Murphy A8 thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Radio
  • Stand
Materials and Techniques
Plywood cabinet, walnut veneer, metal
Brief Description
Radio and stand, model A8; walnut-veneered plywood; Murphy, Welwyn Garden City, 1932; designed by R.D. Russell
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.

Gallery Label
Twentieth Century Gallery RADIOGRAM, MURPHY MODEL 8 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)
Object history
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
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.

Bibliographic Reference
Hogben, Carol, The Wireless Show!: 130 classic radio receivers, 1920s to 1950s, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1977
Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.626&A-1975

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record createdAugust 10, 2006
Record URL