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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1929 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Joel, Betty, born 1896 - died 1985 (designer)
    Roberts, A. B. Llewellyn (designer)
    Betty Joel Ltd (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Queensland silky oak and upholstered seat

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Betty Joel was born Mary Stewart Lockhart in Hong Kong in 1896. In 1918 she married Lieutenant David Joel and the couple moved to England where they set up a furniture-making business. The venture began with Betty designing pieces for her own house. This led to commissions for friends and setting up a small factory at Hayling Island, with a rented showroom on Sloane Street, London. Initially much of the furniture was made in teak or oak. This was known as ‘Token’ furniture, and the factory at Hayling Island was given the same name. Such was the popularity of Joel’s designs that by 1929 the factory moved to bigger premises at Portsmouth, while she (with her husband) bought a large terraced house at 25 Knightsbridge to live and work in.

Many of England’s social and corporate elite commissioned Betty Joel to design interiors and furniture for their homes and offices. This armchair was once part of a suite of furniture designed for the office of a Harley Street eye surgeon, F. A. Williamson-Noble. The set also included a desk, a wasterpaper bin and a letter tray, all made in the same Queensland silky oak. Influenced by the rich materials and clean lines of French Art Deco furniture, as well as the functionalism and craftsmanship of the Arts and Crafts movement, Joel sought to create pieces that were beautiful, practical and finely crafted.

Physical description

Armchair - reupholstered in a stripey orange material, orignally upholstered with a patterned material.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1929 (made)


Joel, Betty, born 1896 - died 1985 (designer)
Roberts, A. B. Llewellyn (designer)
Betty Joel Ltd (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Queensland silky oak and upholstered seat


Height: 915 mm, Width: 545 mm, Depth: 450 mm

Object history note

Designed for the consulting rooms of the eye specialist F A Williamson-Noble.

Descriptive line

British 1929 des.B.Joel and A.B.Llewellyn Roberts

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

Who was Betty Joel?; British furniture design between the wars, Christopher Wilk, Apollo, July 1995, Vol. CXLII, no. 401, pp.7-11; p.8, fig. 3.
The Adventures of British Furniture, David Joel, Ernest Benn Ltd, 1953.

Labels and date

Designed by Betty Joel (born China 1896-1985) in association with A.B. Llewellyn Roberts, FRIBA
Made by Betty Joel Ltd, London
Queensland silky oak and upholstered seat

Designed for the consulting rooms of the eye specialist F.A. Williamson-Noble.

W.23-1984 [1989-2006]








Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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