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Dressing table - Basildon New Period Furniture
  • Basildon New Period Furniture
    P.B. Cow and Co. Ltd Hunting Aviation Ltd
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Basildon New Period Furniture

  • Object:

    Dressing table

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (Possibly made in London or Wales, made)

  • Date:

    1946-1950 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    P.B. Cow and Co. Ltd
    Hunting Aviation Ltd

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Ian Duncan Hardie in memory of Alexander Louden Hardie

  • Museum number:

    W.7:1 to 10-2014

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This dressing table and mirror were produced in the immediate post-war period as part of a matching suite of bedroom furniture. Similar to two aluminium chairs in the V&A collection W.3-2010, W.4-2010), designed by Ernest Race, it makes use of surplus materials used for the manufacture of military aircraft.

This object provides a companion and a contrast to the BA3 chairs; both are British designed and made, and while the Race design would go on to become a design classic, this table and its accompanying suite do not seem to have been a success. One of the main issues was cost: a 4ft wardrobe from the same set as this dressing table retailed in 1946 at £74 7s 10d, compared to £16 17s for a Utility equivalent.

The dressing table is a British example of furniture produced using industrial methods developed during wartime, and as such is comparable to the work in plywood of Charles and Ray Eames in the USA, although clearly it is of a more conservative taste.

Physical description

Dressing table with round mirror and six drawers

Place of Origin

Great Britain (Possibly made in London or Wales, made)

Date

1946-1950 (made)

Artist/maker

P.B. Cow and Co. Ltd
Hunting Aviation Ltd

Object history note

This dressing table and mirror were produced in the immediate post-war period as part of a matching suite of bedroom furniture. It was purchased by the donor's parents in, as he recalls, the 'early to mid-1950s', and was used by them until the death of his father in 1985.

This table is textured, though it was also available with plain aluminium sheeting or with a selection of brightly-coloured coatings.

Acquisition Registered File number 2014/254

Historical context note

The designer, PB Cow and Co Ltd, and manufacturer, Hunting Aviation Ltd, had both been involved in aircraft maintenance during the Second World War. Like many other firms, they sought opportunities to continue business after the cessation of hostilities, and to deal with the expected surplus of aluminium, which was in great abundance. The use of aluminium was not subject to restriction, and so many manufacturers became interested, as they had in the 1930s, in its possible application as a consumer material for a domestic market

Descriptive line

Dressing table with round mirror, 'Basildon New Period Furniture', P.B. Cow & Co Ltd. and Hunting Aviation Ltd., chipboard clad with aluminium, United Kingdom, ca.1946

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

Edwards, C. Aluminium Furniture, 1886-1986: The Changing Applications and Reception of a Modern Material, Journal of Design History, vol.14, no.3, 2001 (Oxford University Press)
pp.207-225

Materials

Aluminium; Chipboard; Mirror glass; Steel; Bakelite; Pine; Synthetic velvet

Techniques

Stamping; Bending; Riveting; Painting

Categories

Furniture; Interiors

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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