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Leather panel

  • Place of origin:

    Essex House (Mile End) (made)

  • Date:

    1893-1894 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ashbee, Charles Robert, born 1863 - died 1942 (designer)
    Hardiman, Bill (maker)
    Guild of Handicraft Ltd. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather, embossed and gilded

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Wates Ltd

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This leather panel is part of a set originally designed and made as wall coverings for the staircase hall in the Magpie and Stump. When put together the panels show a design of magpies with foliage, echoing the name of the house. The architect and designer, C.R. Ashbee designed and built this house on Chelsea Embankment in 1893-4 for himself, his mother and his sisters. The leather was modelled by Bill Hardiman, a member of the Guild of Handicraft, founded in Mile End, London by Ashbee in 1888. Members of the Guild lived and worked together on metalwork, jewellery, furniture and books. Hardiman, who joined the Guild in 1890 and left in 1906, became the chief modeller for metalwork but also worked on leather panels for upholstery and for wall coverings.

Physical description

The panel is decorated with a design of three flower heads on coiling stems. Although it is not possible to be certain, the panel may have been intended to be placed vertically with one flower head in each upper corner and one below in the centre of the panel. With the panel placed this way a main stem rising from the bottom left hand corner curves around the top and down the right hand side, with another stem branching off which curves round the bottom of the panel, ending in a leafy spray on the left hand corner. From this main stem branches a smaller stem which divides into four more which coil around in the centre of the panel, two of these stems bearing flower heads.

Place of Origin

Essex House (Mile End) (made)


1893-1894 (made)


Ashbee, Charles Robert, born 1863 - died 1942 (designer)
Hardiman, Bill (maker)
Guild of Handicraft Ltd. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Leather, embossed and gilded


Height: 455 mm, Width: 380 mm

Object history note

This is part of a set of leather panels, made by Bill Hardiman of the Guild of Handicraft for the staircase hall of the Magpie and Stump. C.R. Ashbee, who founded the Guild, designed and built this house on Chelsea Embankment for himself, his mother and sisters, in 1893-4. The panels were stitched together to cover the back wall of the hall, against which the first flight of the staircase was placed, and the complete design shows magpies with foliage and flower heads.

In 1966 the Museum was given the opportunity to remove the leather panels from the house before it was demolished.

Descriptive line

Leather panel, from the Magpie and Stump, designed by Charles Robert Ashbee, made by Bill Hardiman, Essex House (Mile End), 1893-1894.


Interiors; Leather


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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