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Hat, coat and umbrella stand
  • Hat, coat and umbrella stand
    Dresser, Christopher, born 1834 - died 1904
  • Enlarge image

Hat, coat and umbrella stand

  • Place of origin:

    Shropshire (made)
    London (designed)

  • Date:

    1870 (designed and made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dresser, Christopher, born 1834 - died 1904 (designer)
    Coalbrookdale Company (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast iron

  • Museum number:

    M.3:1 to 3-2014

  • Gallery location:

    Ironwork, Room 114a []

The Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire, England, was founded in 1709 and was famed for its cast iron work. In the 1840’s, the company’s chairman, Francis Darby, began developing lines of decorative furniture, designed in the ornate styles of the Renaissance, Gothic Revival and Rococo periods. Given its strength and resistance to rust, cast iron was ideal for the outdoors and for certain types of hall furniture. It was more economical to manufacture than wrought iron and featured at London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. Queen Victoria herself became a client.

Place of Origin

Shropshire (made)
London (designed)

Date

1870 (designed and made)

Artist/maker

Dresser, Christopher, born 1834 - died 1904 (designer)
Coalbrookdale Company (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cast iron

Marks and inscriptions

Design Registry Marks
Design Registry Marks for May 11, 1870 (as Furniture) and August 5th, 1870 (as Metalwork)..

CHR DRESSER / 1870 / TOWER CRESSY / PROPERITUM / ET / CREO / COALBROOKDALE
Christopher Dresser, 1870, Tower Cressy, he designed and created it, Coalbrookdale made it.
Inscribed on a brass medallion, attached by a rivet to the back of the stand, immediately adjacent to the Design Registry mark for the 5th of August, 1870.

Dimensions

Height: 190 cm, Width: 54.5 cm, Depth: 22 cm

Object history note

Hat and Umbrella Stand
Cast Iron
England, 1870 (Design Registry Mark for August 5th, 1870).
Made by the Coalbrookdale Company, Shropshire.
Designed by Christopher Dresser
Inscribed: CHR DRESSER/1870/ TOWER/CRESSY/PROPOSITUM/ET/CREO/COALBROOKDALE/FECIT

This is a remarkably well documented object designed by and made for Christopher Dresser by the Coalbrookdale Company in 1870. The `kite’ registration marks, a form of copyright protection introduced in 1842, indicates that the design was registered at the Patent Office on May 11th, 1870 (as Furniture) and August 5th, 1870 (as Metalwork). The brass medallion fixed to the back is inscribed with Dresser’s signature, the date 1870 and the house for which it was made, Tower Cressy. The Latin, (loosely translated) reads: “I designed this and created it, Coalbrookdale made it.” Tower Cressy was the name of the house that Dresser lived in and worked from between 1868 and 1882. An impressive six storey house, it was built 1852-3 for Thomas Page, the engineer who designed Westminster Bridge. Dresser was admirer of Page, commenting on his bridges – “more artistic than those of any other engineer,” – in a paper he delivered to the Royal Society of Arts. This remarkable building, high up on Campden Hill in Kensington towered literally over its more picturesque and neo Gothic neighbours. It was severely damaged during the Blitz in World War II and demolished shortly afterwards. Dresser left Tower Cressy in September 1882 and moved to Wellesley Lodge in Sutton, Surrey. Ill health and financial trouble brought on by the collapse of his Art Furnishers’ Alliance forced the move.

What is particularly interesting for the V&A about this hat, coat and umbrella stand is that Dresser evidently designed it for his own use while resident in Tower Cressy and yet it is quite unlike other hat and umbrella stands he designed for Coalbrookdale only five years later. These later ones (we have an example in the British Galleries, M.22-1971) have overtly identifiable characteristics of the burgeoning aesthetic movement. Their design rejects any historic references and is strongly geometric in both form and applied incised decoration. The design of this 1870 hat, coat and umbrella stand on the other hand, incorporates recognizably historic elements, such as the `barley sugar’ central pillar, rosettes, naturalistically treated acanthus leaves, a stylised Gothic pinnacle and conventional scrollwork at the base. Comparison of these two stands shows just how far and how quickly Dresser developed a new contemporary aesthetic, in line with the prevailing fashion for English Aestheticism of the 1870s.

Descriptive line

Hat, coat and umbrella stand, England, made by the Coalbrookdale Company, Shropshire, designed and made for Christopher Dresser, 1870

Labels and date

HAT AND UMBRELLA STAND
Cast Iron
England, 1870
Design Registry Marks: 11 May 1870 (furniture); 5 August 1870 (metalwork)
Made by the Coalbrookdale Company, Shropshire
Designed by Christopher Dresser

This is a remarkably well documented object designed by Christopher Dresser and made by the Coalbrookdale Company in 1870. The ‘kite’ registration marks, a form of copyright introduced in 1842, indicate the design was registered at the Patent Office twice in 1870. The brass medallion fixed to the back is inscribed with Dresser’s signature, the date 1870 and the house for which it was made, Tower Cressy. The Latin, reads: “I designed this and created it, Coalbrookdale made it.”

Dresser lived in and worked at Tower Cressy, an impressive six storey house on Campden Hill in Kensington, from 1868. He left in 1882 after the collapse of his Art Furnishers’ Alliance left him in financial trouble. The house was damaged in World War II and demolished soon after.

Dresser evidently designed the stand for his own use while resident at Tower Cressy. It is quite unlike other hat stands he designed for Coalbrookdale only five years later. The later ones are strongly geometric in both form and decoration in keeping with the burgeoning aesthetic movement. The design of this 1870 stand, however, incorporates recognizably historic elements, such as the `barley sugar’ central pillar, rosettes, naturalistic acanthus leaves, a stylised Gothic pinnacle and scrollwork. Comparison of these stands shows just how far and how quickly Dresser developed a new contemporary style, in line with the prevailing fashion for English Aestheticism.

Museum no. M.3:1-3-2014

[]

Materials

Cast iron

Techniques

Casting

Subjects depicted

Pinnacle; Scrollwork; Rosettes; Acanthus leaves

Categories

Furniture; Metalwork; Scotland

Production Type

small batch

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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