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  • Design
    Godwin, Edward William, born 1833 - died 1886
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1872-1883 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Godwin, Edward William, born 1833 - died 1886 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and water-colour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr Edward Godwin, son of the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case A, shelf 124, box A

Object Type
This drawing is probably of a stand at a major international exhibition or of one of William Watt's shop displays of Japanese-inspired furniture. It is drawn in pen and ink with watercolour, which picks out typical Japanese colours of sage green and blue. It is similar in layout to the proposed interiors that were shown in the catalogue 'Art Furniture', designed by Edward W. Godwin and manufactured by William Watt of 21 Grafton Street, London. It contained hints and suggestions on domestic furniture and decorations and was published in 1876.

Design & Designing
By the 1870s Godwin had begun to produce designs for the furniture firm of William Watt, inspired by the Japanese use of lacquer. Godwin did not directly copy Japanese examples, but combined both Chinese and Japanese influences, which can be seen in the chairs in this drawing. He also aimed to combine the simplicity and elegance he admired in Japanese art with the needs of the Victorian home.

Godwin frequently used an inverted heart or 'cloud' design, especially for the backs and sides of hanging cabinets. He found this pattern in a print of a Japanese hotel by the artist Aimé Humbert. In this drawing you can see it in the hanging cabinet at the centre of the drawing. This shape was later used in furniture made by Liberty's and became a trademark for the furniture manufacturer, Heal & Son in the 1890s.

Physical description

A drawing of an interior with designs for furniture in the Japanese style. The furniture consists of a number of chairs, tables, a wall cabinet and a footstool. The room has a green carpet and blue panelling on the walls. At the centre of the drawing is a chair, upholstered in green. On the reverse is a design for a sea-horse.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1872-1883 (made)


Godwin, Edward William, born 1833 - died 1886 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and water-colour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Anglo Japanese Designs by E.W. Godwin'


Height: 20 cm, Width: 29.8 cm

Object history note

The design for a brass sea-horse is also shown on p.73 of the sketchbook E.252-1963. The design was made for A. S. Wortley.

Descriptive line

Anglo-Japanese furniture designs. Pencil, pen and ink and water-colour drawing by Edward William Godwin, 1872-1883. One of 33 sheets of designs for furniture, interiors and murals.

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

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1963 . London: HMSO, 1964.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
In his Anglo-Japanese designs E.W.Godwin did not seek to copy Japanese examples. Instead he aimed to combine the simplicity and elegance he admired in Japanese art with the needs of the Victorian home. The furniture depicted here also shows the influence of Chinese design. [27/03/2003]


Water-colour; Paper; Pen and ink



Subjects depicted

Cabinet; Footstool; Interior; Tables; Furniture


Interiors; Designs; Drawings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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